Regarding Android vs. iPhone market share

According to NPD, more smartphones were sold in the US that run Android than smartphones than run iPhone OS in Q1 2010. BlackBerry remains in the number one spot. According to NPD. Apple isn't a fan of the metrics being used:

“This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide,” Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison, told The Loop. “IDC figures show that iPhone has 16.1 percent of the smartphone market and growing, far outselling Android on a worldwide basis. We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”

Since Android can be found in a variety of form factors on all four US carriers, and since Verizon offers it as part of their BOGO (buy one, get one free) promotions, just like the BlackBerry, even if the NPD numbers hold up they're not surprising.

That the iPhone's market share is so high in the US, given they're on one carrier with one form factor, is actually more surprising -- only that it happens so often now we've stopped being surprised, especially after Apple's last financial results statement.

And yes, we're tired of beating that old horse as much as you're tired of watching it get beaten, but Apple cares only about market share as much as it amplifies profit share. Google isn't making direct money off of Android (though they do off monetizing services like search, which they also monetize on the iPhone) and on the low-margin, BOGO devices that give BlackBerry its lead, they're not making Apple-sized margins either (they likely do better on Bold-class devices).

Needless to say, Apple's not letting AT&T do BOGO for iPhone. For Apple, the iPhone is a premium product and they'd much rather maintain their huge lead in profit share than line discount bins for the sake of market share.

[Android Central, the Loop]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Regarding Android vs. iPhone market share

61 Comments

“This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide,”
<--- I am sorry TIPB but there are NOT 85 Million iPhone and iPod Touch users. That is units sold. More than 45% of of the people with an iPhone 3GS owned an iPhone 2G or 3G. Also a lot of people with iPod Touch 64GB or 32GB moved up from lower specs. That is units sold not users currently using the device with a data plan or regular use.

Listen, who cares how many people bought an android over an iPhone. I bet more people bought Hyundais last year than Mercedes. That doesn't make me want a Hyundai.

And yes, we’re tired of beating that old horse as much as you’re tired of watching it get beaten, but Apple cares only about market share as much as it amplifies profit share. Google isn’t making direct money off of Android (though they do off monetizing services like search, which they also monetize on the iPhone) <- Actually at Google's last earning call, they said both Android and the Nexus has brought in significant 'Profits'. And because of this they are now making the Android platform a 'serious business model' rather than a hobby. I understand the need to defend Apple's marketshare, but fabricating anything at all to get your point across is useless. Instead of belittling Google and Android which are both a clear success, why not talk about how Apple just had a RECORD quarter in iPhone sales. Talk about the facts man the facts.

So, basically, this was Apple changing the subject.
Report : Android has outsold Apple THIS QUARTER.
Apple : So what!? Apple has sold x amount of all of their products (despite the fact that this is related to MOBILE DEVICES ONLY) over the past several years!
Very mature, Apple.

After months of posts on this site signing the praises of iPhone market share surpassing everything in sight, all of a sudden we get a dismissive attitude toward the subject when the situation is reversed.
We've seen "Peak iPhone".
It will re-peak when the iPhone HD comes out, but it will be a short lived peak unless the next iPhone comes with free MobileMe and makes you Eggs and Bacon for breakfast.
Long term iPhone dominance is over.
Android will prevail simply because of the available Handset Choices (call it fragmentation if it makes you feel better), and the amount of technical mind share being brought to the OS development table.

I don't mean to sound overly critical, but there is very little sense in bloggers getting defensive about these numbers or comparisons. "Even if they did sell more units, iPhone is better and has better profit margins." It's this kind of super-biased writing that makes Phil Nickinson intolerable at times (e.g. iPhone 4 liveblog). I don't mean to misrepresent Rene, for sure, it's just aggravating when there's too much of a defensive slant.

Why do you use BOGO across the pond? Here in Blighty we use BOGOF as it's considered far more hilarious to tell someone to Bog Off than to Bog O!! ;-)
Also, at the fear of getting fanboyed, my new HTC Desire is getting far more use than my 32GB 3Gs as it's far more adaptable.
Come on Apple, sort out your platform, Android is far more fun as it hasn't got a big brother telling it what to do and how it should behave!
Methinks old Jobsy needs to take a step back from the role of megalomaniac and take a chill pill and let the punters customize their phones as they see fit!

@Icebike:
Only if you haven't been paying attention :) I wrote almost the same post about Nokia's share compared to Apple's last year. Every time market share comes up, I say the same thing about profit share being more important to Apple.
Hence the dead horse reference...
Though clearly not obvious enough.

I agree with Icebike. The iPhone reign seems to be coming to an end. It isn't even the iPhone that is the problem. It is Apple doing everything they can to relive what happened to them in the Mac vs PC battle. I just wish Jobs would allow us to do what we want, when we want. Stop getting bad publicity constantly and let your platform be great.

This time last year there was nothing but gushy praise and boners on every inch of internet for apple and iphone. The fact that this isn't the case this year speaks volumes. What happened?

Oh, they care. Discount it all you want but they care about marketshare and profits. If they led in marketshare they'd have more profits, right? Of course they care.
The biggest thing to keep in mind is mindshare. Apple owns the mind of the consumers, thinking it is made with magical dust (namely the apps not the phone).

It doesn't really matter to me if Apple sold eleventy billion iPhones. I only care about 2 of them; the 3G I used to have and the 3GS I currently have. Not sure if I will get the next gen though. EVO 4G just looks too tempting...
And as far as profit share goes, it doesn't matter to me because I'm not an Apple shareholder, and I don't have Apple colored pom poms in my hands either...

@Rene:
But profit share has never been the focus of iPhone dominance posts on TiPb. While profit share might have been referenced in passing, all the charts and graphs that have been trotted out were about market share, growth rates, etc.
Granted these posts were from the day when there was nothing to compete with the iPhone but stodgy old Blackberry devices and a couple of Symbian wanna-bes.
But the take-away in this story is not any fleeting set of numbers. Its not this week's market share, or the handset vs that handset, or who is making more money.
Its about a sea change in the smartphone smartpad OS world. I read this post as very dismissive and defensive. So did others.
Why is that? When you go back and re-read it, does it seem that way to you?

According to NPD, more smartphones were sold in the US that run Android than smartphones than run iPhone OS in Q1 2010. Well there's like what 11-12 android phones and 1 iPhone so ya I'm sure they sol more. Lol. That's like my buddy who's a big nokia fan boy. Who says "nokia has sold more phones than apple has. Well no sh1t Sherlock.

@Icebike: far as I can remember, BlackBerry in the US and Nokia internationally have routinely held pure total device sold market share leads. iPhone has dominated in web usage, app usage, and profit share.
A couple weeks ago iPhone overtook Moto in something or another, not sure we even reported on it. This one went up because of Apple commented.

@Drunk:
The answer to your what happened question may be a simple as the product development cycle.
Apple is at this point in time behind the curve. That may change in a few months, but they got very busy with the iPad and let the iPhone languish.
That the new iPhone departs from the old design, while still maintaining some roots shows that Apple realizes this. Some of new features hinted for the next OS show they are moving to address this issue.
But at this point in time, there are easily 6 phones on the market that are cooler and more powerful than the iPhone.
Will we be saying that 3 months from now?
Hard to say. The point is, the market is in flux right now, and you can't take one set of numbers as if it was carved in stone. Development cycles take a long time, and products play leap frog daily.
Or it could be that Apple, and Steve Jobs are starting wearing thin on people.http://www.informationweek.com/news/hardware/handheld/showArticle.jhtml?...

@icebike
Products do play leapfrog daily. Apple either doesn't realize this, or enjoy shooting themselves in the foot. By only releasing one phone, on one carrier, and just a few updates. per year, Android has been able to catch up to them.
I do see the the parallels to exactly what happened to Mac vs. Windows.

@icebike I can live with a slightly behind the curve phone as it "works" (first mobile I've had and never needed to read any instructions).
The app's I love aren't available on Android yet and having played with a friends HTC Desire discovered there's no easy way to find them either. Apple's got 3 months at least if not more there maybe?
For me the lack of flash is turning into the showstopper as I can't view videos on some of the sites I look at regularly
what to do....

It's over for Apple. Time to say goodbye.
Slowly slowly coming to an end. Iphone 4g will be a short peak in the market share and then it's over.
The only thing which could then help Apple is
Flash
legalize jailbreak
cross compilers allowed
because Apple will never reduce pricings for the iphones.

New York Times 01/11
Google & Android kicks Apple & iphone os in the butt. Big loss in marketshare for apple. Steve jobs crying...and then fired!
BOOM!

I love how the picture above is of the Droid and not the Droid incredible... the incredible is such a better device then the Motorola droid. And they should put the BB in the ring as a royal rumble... lol

i can see what rene is saying. but too me it doesnt matter what android does, i actually think android should be doing better. Android not only has about 20+ different phones running their software but are also on every carrier in the usa and only have a 7% lead over the iphone. the iphone brings that cool factor that i think android will never bring to the table. Android is like sympian on steriods, it will be on a lot of phones but wont be considered the best. android will always outsell the iphone at least once a year but will never gain the hype and popularity of the iphone no matter what they do.
PS. im not a fanboy. im using a terrible windows phone. bc my motorola backflip broke. :p

LMAO ... This is sad TIPB !!!
Come on .. You guys are so scared, you have to make an explanation for why ANdroid sales beat Iphone sales last quarter..

  • Of course Iphone has more market share
  • Of course next quarter's sales will put Iphone back on top for the quarter.
  • Of course EVERYBODY KNOWS that AT&T is the only carrier that sells Iphone... NEWSFLASH ... LMAO ..Iphone would have more sales if Verizon had it .. DUH!!!
  • Of course it's only one form factor..

But IT's Apple that wants it that way... They have to lie in it..
The News is in that This is the first time Android has sold more than the Iphone in any quarter and that's big news... it's not for Apple to worry about much. .but It does show how Android is picking up steam..

I'm big enough to say that Google did a good job here, it quickly updated AndroidOS, its OEM partner quickly revved hardware, and it got on as many carriers as possible. Next stop for them is RIM. We'll see what happens.
I think Apple will continue to have the lion's share of profits and will continue to increase unit sales. In this market, it simply wasn't possible for them to sell the most phones as it is not their business strategy.
Now, does this mean that you guys are going to shut-up about Apple and anti-trust? :)

@Jerry
Oh, don't mind Rene. You know whenever Apple messes up, he takes it upon himself make up some excuse to try to cover up the shortcoming. And in the process, attract the idiotic sheep to agree with him.
Seriously.. he and Phil should just STFU and make out already.

Since when does Apple respond to news like that? The mere fact that they did in fact respond says alot. Feeling the pressure on your toes Apple? Or was it a dent? ;)

So Verizon run a "buy one, get one free" promotion on Android phones, and Android sales "apparently" surpass iPhone sales for 1 quarter. Well there's absolutely no surprise here, if Android sales didn't surpass those of the iPhone, even after a "buy one, get one free" promotion, then they never will. Also, the fact that the survey is based on such a limited number (150,000 out of 300 million+. How big is the US smartphone market?) makes me very sceptical about the accuracy of these numbers.

Pressure from Google & Android
Pressure from Adobe & Flash
Pressure from Developers
This is the End, oh, Steve my friend. It has come to hand, that this is your End... oh, Steve my friend, i will you lend you a hand, to prevent the End...you just have to bend.
:)

Good read:
http://www.visionmobile.com/blog/2010/04/is-android-evil/
"You thought Android was open? The Android governance model consists of an elaborate set of control points that allows Google to bundle its own services and control the exact software and hardware make-up on every handset. All this while touting the openness rhetoric that is founded on the Apache permissive license used in the Android SDK."...

I have to admit that I had a little time with a Droid Incredible last week, and it was an impressive device. It does have the HTC SenseUI (or whatever it's called), and it did make for a more enjoyable experience, IMHO. The thing that really made me want one (and this may have been a 3rd party addon or something) was when a text message popped up, you could reply right in that window (and if needed, you could actually dictate your response) all without voiding warranties (JB), doing something Apple calls illegal (JB), or any other hoops. It was there. Nothing illegal about it that I could tell. Typing was a little bit of a chore, but I could probably get used to it just like I've gotten accustomed to the iPhone keyboard. But I imagine it's the little things like this that are winning over a lot of the tech crowd. Not tied to one heavily monitored app store. Can basically do anything software wise that you want without incurring the wrath of Steve. It's very appealing, again, IMHO.

@Dantv
Steve innovated back in 2007. Now it's just catching up. Seriously, if you think Jobs did anything innovative since the original Iphone came out, you, sir, are a dumba$$.

Why all this love of Android? You folks think the grass is greener on the "other side" ??
I'm reading and researching the Verizon Droid Incredible and must say that you can go jump to that phone and experience all of the issues they are having for yourself:

  1. Random rebooting has been reported.
  2. Major reception issues have been reported.

Meanwhile, I reboot my jailbroken iPhone 3G only 1 or 2 times per month, if that. It always works great. However, I admit it is on the "slow" side now that the processors are faster...

How can iphone be over......??? See how u guys so excited to comment about it, it still going a long way lead in the future

Why do you girls get so defensive and emotional about your phones? I mean seriously unless any of you people or majority shareholders in any of these companies what are you panicking for. In 5 years Android and iPhone could be in the same positions as Palm and Nokia. It's REALLY not that serious.

Wow Rene, really? Im mean Really?!? You have officially earned the title of politician. You just blogged dismissing the very thing that you've blogged touting countless times before just because your favorite isn't on top anymore. I've been struggling with reading TIPB for a while now and this really just does it. Fair the well Shrek. I'll talk to you others on the other SPE sites.

@whsingleton I can recall a time when the iPhone came out it had reception issues as well and Apple had to release an update to fix the issue. And the random reboots is an easy fix which involves dialing *228. I have not have either issues since doing that fix.
One thing I dislike about the iPhone is how it gets it's reception. People assume because they have the iPhone and can't get reception it is AT&T's fault. I don't use my iPhone at the moment because of how I rotate my devices (I carry one device for each carrier but one always has to be a BlackBerry due to emails) I carry the bold 9700 on AT&T and where my friends iPhone gets poor reception my bold does not and I always end up having to defend AT&T's network.

@JFH How anyone with an ounce of sense can take NPD's survey method and results as gospel is beyond me. A survey that takes 150,000 out of a population of 300 million+ and uses it as a definite indicator is hilarious, a survey that completely leaves out the enterprise sector and says that its survey is an accurate measure of smartphone market share cannot be taken seriously. NPD probably did this to gain some attention and in so doing, put their credibility on the line. I personally do not take them seriously as a result.

I am sure that the fact that some people want a CHOICE or variety has absolutely nothing to do with the numbers. Its ALL BOGO and multiple carriers.........
hmmmm

@ Dragonfly
"The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted March 19-21, with 1,030 adult Americans, including 531 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, and 448 Democrats and independents who Democratic, questioned by telephone. The poll's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points" (http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/26/cnn-poll-obama-tied-in-h...).
For those complaining about only 150,000 surveyed, keep in mind that statistically that is a perfectly valid sample size. Even with a margin of +/- 3%, it is undeniable that Android is certainly picking up steam.

Thank you Random guy, any one with enough sense will tell you that when conducting a survey you do not go out and survey every one in the population.

I like the fact that the picture that accompanies the headline depicts two smartphones with mma gloves; and they are positioned inside an octagon. 5 years ago, it would've been boxing gloves and a square ring. Great job at keeping up with the times TiPb!

The worst part about Rene's essay here is that he's talking about PROFIT .. what does profit have to do with this.. the news has to do with Market Share..
ANdroid is OPEN SOURCE .. Google does not profit off Android .. IT does help them with the footprint on phones though ... which would explain why Google is only concerned about MARKET SHARE of Android.. the Manufacturers should be the ones worrying about Profit..
Rene is REACHING HARD on this one..

Dragonfly says;
"So Verizon run a “buy one, get one free” promotion on Android phones, and Android sales “apparently” surpass iPhone sales for 1 quarter. Well there’s absolutely no surprise here, if Android sales didn’t surpass those of the iPhone, even after a “buy one, get one free” promotion, then they never will. Also, the fact that the survey is based on such a limited number (150,000 out of 300 million+. How big is the US smartphone market?) makes me very sceptical about the accuracy of these numbers."
THIS TELLS IT ALL.
Android-Verizon team is so desperate they can give away their devices FREE just to SKEW the numbers in "market share". In the end who will suffer in profit margins?
And how can you sustain your R&D over the long term if you don't have money to support it?
DUH :).

Jerry Says:
"The worst part about Rene’s essay here is that he’s talking about PROFIT .. what does profit have to do with this.. the news has to do with Market Share..
ANdroid is OPEN SOURCE .. Google does not profit off Android .. IT does help them with the footprint on phones though … which would explain why Google is only concerned about MARKET SHARE of Android.. the Manufacturers should be the ones worrying about Profit..
Rene is REACHING HARD on this one.."
This is really very simple. The only way to beat iPhone in market share is to give away the Android phones for free. And who would not take them if they're free?
:)

Android is a less organized platform, yes . . . and there is a lack of consistency across products. But unlike the iPhone, freedom of expression reigns supreme on Android. Apps are not subject to Steve Jobs' whimsical approval process . . . and not subject to Apple's gouging 30% of sales. Also Flash is working on Android . . . not 100%, but they're working to get it going 100%. Android is the platform if you want to see ALL of the web . . . with iPhone or iPad, you're stuck in the kitty pool on the Internet. Have fun with that. I am a former Macintosh evangelist . . . one of the true believers . . . and somehow the change in Steve Jobs and his manifesto against Adobe have shocked me. Unless there is some sort of dramatic shift in Steve's thinking, I will not buy another Apple product as long as I live.

I've been around long enough with apple to see this before. This is not the year that will be remembered where apple came out with a better version of their smartphone, it will be remembered as they year apple lost it's dominance over the smartphone market they same why it lost dominance over the desktop PC market - and for the exact same reasons. Nobody likes to buy a product run by the moral and monopolistic autocrat that is Mr. Jobs. The good thing is that they will just come up with another invention and become dominate in that area, for a while...

Interesting...
I see the lines drawn...
I see the Partisan Politics if each camp...
I see people who know their facts...
I see people who bring little more then idle banter...
But I see one thing above All Else... Passion!
Why so much passion? -- It's actually pretty obvious:
Whether you are already a fan of an operating system or a piece of hardware it does not matter. You are Bias. The fact is that we can be fans of both or either and being a fan is useless. Being a practical analyzer is all that really matters.
Let's check the facts:
1.) Apple's iPhone (along with IOS) is wildly popular AND delivers a diverse and useful user experience.
2.) Windows Mobile, Palm OS and RIM (Blackberry) are clearly on the decline by any measure. Does this mean the end of Blackberry's... not likely, but it may turn it into an "also ran". While leaving Windows mobile (despite WM7) and palm as essentially irrelevant to the current trends.
3.) Android has almost instantly become relevant, useful and pervasive.
4.) It certainly appears that the future (at least the near term) is going to be a showdown between Apple iPhone and it's OS against Google and It's OS (Android) along with a a variety of manufactures.
Now....
Who is better equipped for this battle?
The Facts:
1.) Apple currently operates on one carrier (AT&T) with one device (in a few variations). Android operates on all major carriers and offers a continuously increasing array of hardware.
2.) Samsung Manufactures most of the Important parts of the iPhone (except the screen which is made by LG). Samsung has just this year become a leader (Along with HTC and to a lessor extent Motorola) in Android device options... not the least of which is the Galaxy S series which is available as the T-Mobile Vibrant, AT&T Captivate, Verizon Fascinate and most notably the Sprint Epic with slide out Keyboard and 4G speed in a rapidly growing number of markets.
3.) HTC and Motorola have no significant need to worry about what Apple thinks or does and although Samsung would appear to be competing with "itself"... are they? Galaxy S says... Not so much. Samsung provides hardware for EVERYONE and it's damn good hardware. The demand does seem to be shifting. Selling parts to Apple may not be the better option going forward. A battle has already erupted here... check some recent headlines.
4.) Ubiquity - Since all four Major Carriers already have android driven devices and the biggest manufacturers are racing to make them for those carriers it's hard to imagine anything but rapid market share capture for Android based devices.
So Let's step back and took a look at the big picture...
Android isn't just the latest player in the market It's Unique. All the other major OS's (except Windows Mobile) are linked to a certain hardware manufacturer. Windows Mobile is not... but I have to say. I really thought that may have caught on many, many years ago... It seemed like a winner... compatibility with the majority of PC's on the planet... makes sense. Didn't really catch on... did it? It seems Android may fill that gap... the gap Windows Mobile should have (scratch that... "could have") owned.
So... with all the carriers literally racing to get a variety of Android phones into their lineup (AT&T lagging behind but getting there now... any guess as to why?). And the major manufacturers making new device announcements all the time... well... to say Android isn't on a rocket ship to huge market share is to ignore the obvious.
The real question? What comes after Android... because this thing will take the top market share spot within a fairly short "window" I think it's easy to see this Forrest among the trees.
After iPhone and after Android.. I vote for Cranial Implants running on OS made by?
It's just a snap shot folks.. the future is always more exciting then the past.

Android is growing much faster than iPhone, albeit from a much smaller base ... but then, iPhone had a head start. Android will probably soon be adopted by every major manufacturer except iPhone, Blackberry and Palm, with minor players being squeezed out. Sure Apple will keep the rich and the fashionistas, but anyone on a budget (most of us) will eventually be on Android - which is still a baby, and will soon be technically better than iPhone too.

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The reality is that apple products have some serious cometition with Android phone and they are getting better everyday. AT&T uses the iPhone as a crutch to con people into settleing for a lesser network and an equal product. I came across this article they other day and it really sums it up http://hubpages.com/hub/Android-Vs-The-iPhone

Shouldn't the mobile operators be worried that they are just becoming a data pipe? How are they planning to make money?