For those who haven’t already realized it yet, Android will be the next Windows 3.1. Aka, the dominant operating system on a platform (mobile). People are claiming that the OS X iPhone will be the next major OS for mobile because the iPhone/iPod touch have such great user experiences now. The only problem is that Steve will have the same problem now that he had back in 1991, Mac OS 7 was build for a closed system where Apple controlled both the hardware and software. This created a great user experience, but your audience was reduced because of the system was cost prohibitive for many customers, and because they were forced to live in the Apple ecosystem. Sounds pretty familiar to today eh? (iPod/iTunes/MobileMe/etc). It’s a great strategy if you can control the market. In the iPod case, it’ll be very difficult to dethrown the MP3 player.
But in the mobile space, Google’s Android will take the crown of leading mobile OS. The Android OS is build for many phones regardless of harware configuration. There’s an all touchscreen mode, a 12 key mode, and everything in between. This allow for volume the same recipe for success that Microsoft employed back in Windows 3.1.
So how come Microsoft isn’t going to win this war? Because they’re not as innovative at the moment. Windows Mobile costs phone manufacturers licensing costs to use. That may have worked in the old days, but the FREE! economy dictates otherwise. The Android OS will be on more devices than the OS X iPhone. An once phone manufacturers (HTC comes to mind) find out how to get integration nearly as good as the iPhone/OS X iPhone, then Apple will lose for sure.
The only chance for the OS X iPhone to become the long time leader will be to open up the OS to other manufacturers, but I doubt they’d do that anytime soon (if you follow thier OS X policy).