Android users switching to iPhone 5?

Needham analyst Charlie Wolf thinks most Verizon Android users have been holding out for the iPhone 5, and once it's released, a mass exodus from the Android platform will ensue.

Verizon’s Android users are waiting for the iPhone 5. And when it arrives this fall, they’ll make the switch en masse.

Wolf suspects some Verizon subscribers chose not to pick up the Verizon iPhone after it debuted last February, some 8 months later than the iPhone 4 on AT&T.

“It’s reasonable to assume that a material percentage of Verizon subscribers who plan to switch were content to wait until the iPhone 5 arrived later this year,” says Wolf. “One reason Apple delayed the launch of iPhone 5 until September is that it reportedly plans to coordinate the launch of the GSM and CDMA versions of the phone. To do so in June would likely have upset Verizon subscribers who purchased iPhone 4 in the preceding months. It’s our expectation, then, that the anticipated surge in iPhone sales on the Verizon network is likely to occur this fall after Apple launches iPhone 5.”

TiPb has heard that the Verizon deal was a factor in Apple not launching iPhone 5 in June. However, it's just as likely that Verizon users are on contracts with a wide range of end dates, and would be penalized for switching outside their renewal window. If they want a full subsidy, especially for a device that's been on the market since June 2010, they'd wait for it. That means, rather than a sudden rush last February or this fall, we could see a slow, steady transition over time as contracts come up for renewal, and those Verizon users who want an iPhone make the switch.

Of course, not everyone is going to want an iPhone either. By fall there will no doubt be new Verizon Android devices out as well, including those with LTE data speeds -- something iPhone isn't suspected to match until 2012. That could make the decision more difficult and more complicated.

What do you think? Will Verizon Android users be switching en masse come iPhone 5 this fall?