Making the case for a third — or even fourth — major mobile OS

John Paczkowski over at All Things D takes a hard look at some new data from Yankee Group and explains how platform loyalty will benefit iOS over Android among U.S. consumers over the next several years. A Yankee Group survey of 16,000 consumers over the past year found that, among other things, 91 percent of iPhone users plan to buy another iPhone, while only 76 percent of Android owners plan to purchase another Android gadget. And while 18 percent of Android users said they plan to switch to an iPhone, only 6 percent of iPhone users plan to move to Android.

Those figures are telling, to be sure, and “it’s not hard to see iPhone ownership surpassing Android ownership in the next few years — by 2015,” as Paczkowski writes. But I think many of those looking to dump their Android handsets were inclined to buy an iPhone simply because there haven’t been many good alternatives in the last year. BlackBerry’s new OS only recently came to market in the U.S., and far too many users are still unaware that Windows Phone even exists. I’m not at all surprised that a far bigger percentage of Android owners want to switch than iPhone owners. But I think that provides a great opportunity for another mobile OS — or maybe even two of them — to capture users abandoning Android.