Namely, Goldberg's sources in China say Google's Android operating system has already pulled away from the pack there and assert that it'll be the big winner in the Middle Kingdom and, most likely, in Asia as a whole. "Our latest visit to China made it clear that Android has become the faraway leader in mobile operating systems [OS]," wrote Goldberg.
An Explosion of Opportunity
That's particularly interesting because Asia is likely to be the largest market in the world for advanced smartphones for the foreseeable future. That Google is pulling away in this critical geography not only lends credence to the search giant's decision to get into the operating system business but also hints at a real explosion of Android-related revenue opportunities in the not-so-distant future.
Apple is now pulling in at least $2 billion per year from App Store sales. The potential upside for Google could be far higher due to the sheer vastness of the addressable market. Incidentally, Goldberg reported that phones running Android likely outsold the iPhone in Asia in December. His prediction is that Android devices will outsell both the iPhone and the iPad during 2011 and pull further ahead in 2012.
In other words, Google has a real shot at controlling vast chunks of the technology landscape and, by extension, inserting its advertising network into those devices, either via hooks in the Android operating system or via sales of applications for Android devices of various flavors.
Goldberg isn't writing off Apple's iPhone or Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry. Both will have sizable niches in Asia. But it's shocking that, by his count, the mobile application competition is already decided: Google will continue to gain steam as more handset companies produce designs that can easily incorporate Android -- not to mention all the other types of Android devices on the horizon.