The tides are turning in the apps and platforms space. The introduction of new technologies, and advances in old technologies, are changing some established norms in the space, as better and sleeker disrupts older and clunkier. However, these new innovations and their subsequent disruptions will have varying impacts on different segments of the industry. Through the research BI Intelligence has conducted on these emerging or changing spaces, the Apps and Platforms team has developed outlook and analysis that diverges from the mainstream.

These are the top four research findings of the Apps and Platforms team that run contrary to mainstream industry beliefs.

1. The OS duopoly will falter.

The industry thesis: Apple and Google’s command of the mobile space will endure.

Our contrarian idea: The iOS/Android duopoly will falter as a competitor captures new segments of the mobile market. 

The stronghold that Apple and Google have on the mobile operating system (OS) space seems unshakeable; iOS and Android account for the vast majority of all smartphones worldwide, and together accounted for 99.6% of all smartphones shipped in Q4 2016 (see chart, below). While they’ve strengthened their stances with robust products and services, like app stores and extensions, into hardware products other than smartphones, BI Intelligence views the duopoly as highly susceptible to disruption.

Apple and Google face numerous and varied challenges as the smartphone market continues to grow in up-and-coming markets, and the manner of mobile interaction continues to become more ubiquitous in developed markets. Here are some of the key factors that make the duopoly ripe for disruption: 

  • Apple's reach into emerging markets will be limited. Apple will be hard-pressed to see meaningful growth in emerging markets, as their iPhones are priced as aspirational products that are cost-prohibitive for the vast majority of new smartphone buyers.
  • Google's open platform could present problems expanding into user interfaces. Google’s forked Android platform continues to see hiccups in terms of security and compatibility with new products and services, which limits the reach of its newest mobile products. Some examples are Google Assistant and Android Wear, which are not compatible across sizeable chunks of the Android ecosystem.
  • The world's largest smartphone maker by shipments could challenge Google in software. Samsung, the No. 1 maker of Android devices by shipments, is developing its own [...]