How is Android the biggest consumer platform to hit mankind? iOS single handedly remade mobile and pushed the concept of the app store to all sorts of electronic devices. Windows had an insane impact on the computer industry. Android is certainly a big deal, but I think you're over selling it.
Android is technically more open, but does that matter to consumers? I wonder what percent of consumers actually install things from alternate app stores? If Apple was willing to let nearly any app in their app store, how many people would really be looking for an alternative?
Open platforms could easily be something like the issue of owner serviceable cars: while tinkers complain, to 95% of people it doesn't matter.
>> In 4-5 years, a phone/tablet OS that doesn't ship tightly integrated [...]
> You're making a prediction here which is not based on any historical evidence.
I agree. There's no question that's the current path, but in the next few years I could see tablets getting fast enough that compatibility layers (like WINE, HTML5, Adobe Air, etc) may make it possible to make the OS a replaceable commodity. Or we could stay in vendor silos. Hard to say.
If I was going to make that argument (I said it was "arguably" not absolutely) I'd point out that Google is activating 1.3 million devices / day with no sign of slowing. And those are just Google devices. That's 450m devices per year, nearly all of them "consumer" devices. In just 15 years that would account for the entire world population (and that's including children). Windows was certainly influential but a large portion of that was not as a "consumer" OS - the vast bulk of its influence and impact came from businesses. There might have been one Windows computer in a house but there will be 4+ Android phones, plus potentially tablets, TVs and other devices that run Android. So if you're talking size and numbers (ie. "biggest") I think Android has a pretty good claim on it. But I'm not disputing you can argue the other way. Just the fact that it's arguable at all though is pretty astounding.