Some co-workers and I gathered in a conference room at AARP Headquarters to watch Steve Jobs unveil the new version of Apple’s iPad 2. While the conversation naturally circled around all the new features, and how some of us were going to buy on the first day, our chatter came to the topic of competition pushing back. As if on cue, Nielsen announced the next day that the market share of Google’s popular Android operating system for smart phones had edged past Apple and RIM Blackberry. This shift was long anticipated by analysts, and we have been readying the Android version of our flagship iPhone App. It will be released for free into the Google Android Market later this month.
Google is helping its partners win mobile market share with Android because they shrewdly developed the operating system years ago to give away to any carrier who would take it. Apple will defend its leading position by delighting its customers with simplicity, beautiful product design and a vast array of apps. For consumers, this battle between two titans (and a raft of wannabes) will, at a dizzying pace, bring falling prices, and ever more capable phones and tablets. Some smart phones already come free with service contracts, and color touch tablets will fall below the $200 mark.
With the two largest U.S. players covered, we’re also hard at work on a mobile version of the AARP.org web site, which will allow us to display on any phone that has a mobile web browser. The new site will also let us feed content into apps for other smart phones, and even internet-enabled home appliances such as connected TVs.
While Steve declared 2011 the year of the iPad 2, and Google might say this is the year their droid army fights back, we say it’s the year you’ll start to find AARP on any internet device.