You wouldn’t believe it, but something actually, truly interesting came out of the Apple vs. Samsung lawsuit yesterday. Apple had conducted a survey to find out why, exactly, consumers opted to go with Android instead of the iPhone. The results are fascinating – not only do they seem to invalidate Apple’s claims, they provide an unusual insight into consumer behaviour. The gist? People choose Android not because it’s an iPhone copy – they choose it because of Android’s unique characteristics.
The survey was conducted by Apple in the US and published internally in January 2011, and Samsung presented it as evidence yesterday. The survey asked of consumers who chose Android over an iPhone why they did so, and the reasons that came out of this are interesting indeed. As you’ll see, the respondents were allowed to pick multiple reasons for going with Android.
- Wanted to stay with current wireless service provider: 48%
- Trusted the Google brand: 36%
- Preferred larger screen: 30%
- Preferred the Android market for apps (Gmail, Google Docs, Google-Voice): 27%
- Wanted better integration with Google services: 26%
- Wanted the latest and greatest smartphone: 26%
- Wanted turn by turn GPS navigation: 25%
- Wanted the latest technology: 25%
It doesn’t surprise me at all that 48% of respondents listed staying with their current carrier as one of the reasons they chose Android. The US is a large country, and from the way I understand it, it’s often not possible to switch carriers, or one specific carrier has the best reception in a certain area.
The other reasons listed indicate that people chose Android because of its unique strengths over the iPhone: larger screens, the Google brand, the Android Market, and Google integration. These are all things where the iPhone – in the case of the Market and the brand, obviously so – the iPhone clearly lacks. This seems to indicate that contrary to what you sometimes read in forums (I know, right?) people are far more attuned to the differences between Android and the iPhone than people seem to think.
What fascinates me most, however, is the stuff about wanting the latest technology and smartphone. I’ve long professed the belief that Apple would never be able to keep up with the fast pace of development in the Android world, and that this will eventually harm their business just like it did in the PC space. People do want the latest technology, and they know perfectly fine where to get it: not in Cupertino.
All of the reasons listed are core strengths of Android. There’s no “It looks like an iPhone” or “I thought I bought an iPhone but it turns out it’s something else” in there. Apple’s own survey, showing that people choose Android because of Android’s own unique (in comparison with the iPhone) strengths, and not because of “stolen” technology.
While it is true that some carriers offer better service in certain areas. At the time of that survey, there was an exclusivity deal between Apple and ATT that prevented others from carrying the IPhone. It has not been until this last year that you could buy the IPhone on other carriers. The IPhone also was only GSM and the other large carriers (Sprint and Verizon) were CDMA.