Nielsen announced this week that 25% of the phones in the US market are now Smartphones and that Android sales have surpassed sales of the iPhone. With twenty devices in the US market running Android OS, it was just a matter of time until they caught up with the sales of one single device.
This is very much in line with what we are seeing over here at DudaMobile in regards to the increase in the number of visitors to our mobile sites originating from Android devices. With the increase in sales, it was very much expected that many of these new Android users will be accessing the web from their mobile devices (see previous blog 38% of US cell phone owners use their device to access the web).
An interesting aspect of the survey shows that iPhone owners tend to be much more loyal to the iPhone device. When asked what will be their next desired device, 89% of iPhone owners said that it will be an iPhone compared to only 71% of Android owners who said they would stick with Android. This is one area where we see it’s going to be very difficult for Android to compete with iPhone.
The fact the iPhone is an OS that is built for one specific device gives Apple an advantage in terms of creating a cohesive product where user experience is controlled by it engineers from A to Z. Google on the other hand only controls the OS and gives the device manufacturers and carriers the flexibility of porting the OS and configuring it to fit their needs. So although working with multiple manufacturers and carriers give Android a significant distribution advantage the trade-off is the amount of control over the end product that they have. Apple and Google have different strategies and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
One other significant player that is mentioned in the report is Blackberry. According to the report Blackberry’s position as a leader in the Smartphone market has significantly declined in the past year. In addition, only 42% of Blackberry users claimed they would stick with a Blackberry as their next device. With good timing RIM introduced the new Blackberry Torch this week and support for the Webkit browser (similar browser used by iPhone and Android) which was much awaited, as many regarded existing Internet browsing experience on Blackberries to be unsatisfactory.
Who’s going to win, well there may be more than one winner. If rumors have it right and iPhone will become available on other carriers besides AT&T then that would be a major win for Apple and many consumers who don’t want to transfer to the AT&T network. On the other hand Android’s growing ecosystem of carriers and device manufacturers might be a hard match for any single device, no matter how good it is. Blackberry has a strong foot hold in the enterprise and both Google and Apple would need to strategically target IT departments in order to succeed on that front. One thing for sure, it’s going to be very interesting to monitor the Smartphone space, as the amount of innovation and changes are happing at a staggering pace.