Once again the internet is flooded with catchy headlines that Android outsold iPhone for the first half of 2010. And why not, that's a great headline. But it's also -- to quote the Simpsons -- unpossible.
Which Android device out sold iPhone? No, not the one with the GBs. Android is an OS, not a device. iPhone is a device, not an OS. Android is also not sold, it's given away by Google for free. Android devices are what's sold.
Maybe a more accurate, if admittedly awkward, headline would have been "All Android devices combined on all carriers in the US sold more than the iPhone on AT&T during the period where Apple constrained supply right before iPhone 4 launch".
That's not to say there aren't Android devices that sell phenomenally well. Just one look at Android Central, especially any of the articles on Verizon's Droid brand, will show tons of hot-selling devices. It's just a completely different business model. No, not a truly open one, but one that values diversity. (I think there's a good chance my fridge is even running Android now!)
In Canada, and many other countries, iPhone is available on pretty much every carrier and unlocked directly from Apple. There's no Verizon Droid brand here. The original Droid is called the Motorola Milestone and any bets how well it sells on Telus compared to the iPhone?
Point being, the US market is in no way, shape, or form able to express any meaningful "Android outsells iPhone" numbers or vice versa.
If iPhone shows up on Verizon next year, or better yet on Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile US, then at least the carrier field will make for more useful comparison.
And maybe that's why Apple wants the iPhone on Verizon, because they're tired of seeing their numbers influenced by the not-iPhone compromises.