For the last two quarters Android has outsold iPhones in the US. It has real momentum behind it. All carriers in the US offer multiple Android smartphones and the rate at which new ones are being introduced can be only described as a frenzy.
I think Android can conquer the Indian smartphone market. There are many, many things going in its favor. Android is supported by Google but is open source and free. India is a price sensitive market. Apple’s options are fairly limited with the price of an iPhone being what it is. You’ll find corporate bigwigs and finance types carrying an iPhone but really, with a $500+ price tag without a contract, it is just too expensive. So unless Apple introduces an “emerging market” iPhone model it has no hope.
And I don’t think that will happen. They’ll be too concerned about reverse flow of cheap, unlocked iPhones back into developed markets. In any case, Apple is used to being the BMW/Mercedes of consumer tech. They can’t play the emerging markets game. Also, they have no or little support infrastructure in India.
The only potential problem I can foresee is if the hardware spec for running Android becomes too expensive. As an OS matures it gathers features and bloats. But Google seems to have thought of that. Froyo, which is the latest version, is supposed to be highly performance-tuned and could even run on the first generation G1 hardware (I am considering it for my G1). Spice announced their Android phone range today. The entry level Mi 300 is priced at Rs. 10,000. That is a very nice starting point. Expect prices to go down from there.
So if you have a mobile apps strategy in India, better start thinking Android. And Nokia should see the writing on the wall and go Android.