Google has plans to enter its own phone in the smartphone arena, but this year was the big coming out party for its wireless operating system Android. Running on more than a dozen phones already selling or planned for introduction at the top four U.S. telcos, Android has enjoyed a tremendous debut.
The numbers. Gartner analyst Kevin Dulaney made a bold prediction in October that Android would rank second only to Nokia's (NOK - Get Report) Symbian as the top smartphone operating system. HTC's four Android phones helped make it the fastest growing smartphone player in the third quarter. The big gains by Android have already helped bury Microsoft's (MSFT) Windows Mobile system as phone makers looked for more stable, flexible software for their new crops of smartphones.
The stock. Google shares are up 88% this year as Internet advertising has shown signs of recovery. And though 97% of Google's revenue comes from search ads, the prospect of extending its search service to mobile devices certainly helps bolster the bullish story for Google.