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Is 2010 going to be the year of Android?

With the Android Market reaching just more than 16,000 applications and Google launching the Nexus One, expect a full-blown handset battle in 2010 with Apple and Google on the frontlines duking it out.

Apple?s iPhone first shook up the mobile industry in 2007 and is the first truly ?smart? phone. But Google is slowly starting to become a contender: there are 12 Android phones across 32 carriers in 26 countries.

With Google getting into the mix, is it possible that 2010 is going to be the year of Android? Let us see what some industry experts think:

Brennan Hayden, vice president of WDA, East Lansing, MI
Yes, I think 2010 will be the year of Android.

Judging by the wide-eyed excitement of the people I have seen actually using the Droid, Verizon?s first Android phone, I predict that many iPhones will become drawer-ware in 2010 on the strength of this one model alone.

The risk? ?Droid does," Verizon?s very effective and catchy slogan, cannot morph into ?but Verizon doesn?t? or ?Google doesn?t.?

The march to openness must be real and it must continue. My first prediction on Android was to look at Linux as an analogy and I stand by that.

Like Linux, there may be many years declared ?the year of Android,? as Android pushes the operating system market ? in a constructive way ? year after year, and the other suppliers then respond and prevent Android from running the table like its fans would prefer.

Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA
I wouldn?t say ?the year of Android? but I believe that Android?s share of the U.S. high-end phone market will increase dramatically in 2010.

That?s because there will be multiple devices from multiple vendors on multiple operator networks, and likely across multiple price ranges.

Also, the application market will grow and mature, with more high-quality applications.

Len Shneyder, director of partner relations and industry communications for Pivotal Veracity, Phoenix
I?m not sure that 2010 is going to be the year of Android, but it certainly is shaping up to be a very good one.

In addition to the hype about the much anticipated Droid there?s even more excitement building because of the first-ever Google produced handset: The Nexus One.

The Nexus One is rumored to be sold ?unlocked? to the general public, allowing users to use it on any network they desire.

Although the phone will be sold in conjunction with a provider - speculated to be T-Mobile - the phone itself will be open to any provider. Google launched the phone internally to users within the company as a kind of homegrown lab experiment and a sly way to leak the device and its potential to the media. 

Google?s way of leaking information stands in stark contrast to the secrecy at Apple, so who knows what the next evolution of the iPhone will look like.

Ever since the leap from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS, the industry has been chomping at the bit to see what?s up Apple?s sleeve.

So although the future for Android looks incredibly bright, let?s not forget there?s about 10 million iPhones and growing on the market and over 100,000 applications in the App Store to compete with.

Jason Spero, vice president and managing director of North America at AdMob, San Mateo, CA
2010 will certainly be an exciting year in mobile.

Based on increased Android usage on our network, [Google CEO] Eric Schmidt?s positive comments about the operating system, and the strong marketing muscle behind Android devices this holiday season, we think that Android is poised for strong growth in 2010.

But that growth won?t be restricted to Android. Smartphones as a category are poised to continue to drive increasing usage and we?re excited to support mobile Web and application growth wherever it is in the future.

Mickey Alam Khan, editor in chief of Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, New York
In 2010, more humans will take to Android.

What will determine Android?s success is what made iPhone applications extremely popular: reach.

The more smartphone devices there are with the Android operating system, the better the environment for growing Android application usage. And the more the Android applications for everyday use, the quicker the adoption.

As of December, there were already more than 16,000 Android applications launched ? one-sixth of Apple?s iPhone applications.

It is just a matter of time before Android scales up to the iPhone.

That?s when innovation will take off: when there are two equally strong competitors in the marketplace, both knowing that it?s not necessary that either one of them may make the finishing line in mobile.

There?s always a dark horse in this race and today it is the Android. Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion have every reason to be concerned, but not the consumer.