You may not have noticed it, but in the past six months, we’ve been experiencing a true massacre. Not one written in blood, but one written in microchips and touchscreen displays. The scene of the crime? The United States. The perpetrator? Google’s Android. The victims? Everybody else.
Market research firm Nielsen has released its figures for the past six months (for the US matket!), and iPhone 4 or no, Android is by far the number one choice for consumers buying smartphones. In the past six months, 40.8% of smartphone buyers opted for an Android device, compared to 26.9% who preferred an iOS smartphone, or 19.2% who opted for a BlackBerry device.
Looking at the trends, Android is growing very fast, while both iOS and BlackBerry seem to be levelling out somewhat; iOS/iPhone after a period of growth, BlackBerry after a period of (sharp) decline. Of course, it is important to note that we’re looking at smartphones only; the Touch, iPad, and Galaxy Tab are not included, for instance.
However, if we were to look at installed base (in the US!), the iPhone still leads (28.6%) over Android (25.8%) – which is to be expected since it’s been on the market longer than Android. BlackBerry is in decline here, but still pulls out an impressive 26.1%.
Some say the arrival of a potential Verizon iPhone might change things around, but I highly doubt it will have as big an impact as many seem to think. There’s a whole new generation of Android-based smartphones on the waiting list, sporting things like dual-core processors and what not. The development pace of Android, and the accompanying devices, is far quicker than that of iOS and the iPhone. On top of that, All those people who bought a smartphone the past six months are people who will not buy an iPhone any time soon, Verizon or no; contracts, contracts, contracts.
Still, let’s not underestimate the importance of profit per device (the iPhone is clearly king here), or that of the iPod Touch and the iPad. iOS is a pretty healthy platform, and it will take more than Android devices outselling the iPhone for it to truly be in trouble.
So, taking the first graph of acquisions, and the inertia of Android share in the second graph, and factoring in under two months of missing dataâ€¦ Android has passed iPhone in market share in the US over Christmas / New Year?
If iPhone comes to Verizon, I would seriously consider jumping ship from Android, depending on what features they put into Honeycomb (Android 3.0).
The reasons for this are as follows:
– I’m tired of the crapware that carriers are shoving into OTA stock ROMs, and the OEMs who are putting custom ‘trinkets’ on top that I don’t want. And to get a custom ROM with just vanilla Android and WITHOUT all the crap, you have to wait for your device to get rooted, and then wade through a bunch of half-finished custom ROMs, where random features (such as wifi and GPS) don’t work. I know a lot of people get off on this kind of thing and that’s fine, but it’s just not how I’d like to spend my free time. (Of course, the quality of custom ROMs probably depends on which phone you have, which is a problem in itself.
– Whereas Apple releases new OS updates for all their phones at the same time, you have to wait for weeks (or even months) on most Android phones, or else do the root/custom ROM thing, and have to put up with the same shite I mentioned above. Of course, you could always get a ‘Google’ phone to solve all these problems, and end up (in the US) on a carrier where you’d have to walk outside and stand in the middle of the street just to get a signal.
– With the iPhone, you have access to many, many more accessories. I can’t even find a f**king armband for my Android phone.
– iPhone is still the ‘de facto’ standard for phones, so if there’s a cool new app/service coming out, it’s probably going to be on iPhone first.
– I think it would be easier/better to keep up with iPhone-related news/blogs, because they’re only concerned with one or two phones, whereas Android blogs are always talking about the 300 different phones that’ll be out in the next month, or updates/news about current phones that you don’t own and have no interest in.
– I can’t play ‘arcade mode’ on the Android version of Fruit Ninja
Of course, I’m not an Android hater and realize that it’s infinitely more customizable, but rarely (if ever) do I use any of that stuff, such as the battery-draining widgets that most folks seem to be enthralled with. I’ve played with my dad’s iPad and for the most part, I like the way it works out of the box, so there isn’t much I’d want/need to change.
As for the ideological ‘Steve controls everything’, that’s what jailbreaking is for
The only thing that’s holding me back at the moment is AT&T…. I just can’t deal with them. Though their service seems ok in my area, their customer support is absolutely atrocious.
Edited 2011-01-04 00:02 UTC