Is Android really demolishing iPhones sales as Seth Weintaub reports for Fortune?
Well, according to a report from NDP, Android sales have now just recently past those of the iPhone for the first quarter of this year. As a result, Android's 28% not only surpasses that of the iPhone's 21%, but it also knocks the iPhone down from second place to third place in the smart phone category!
So, is this the end of the line for the iPhone? From now on can we expect to see the iPhone whither away only to become no longer relative anymore, while, on the other hand, Android based devices rises to completely take over the smart phone market?
Don't count on it!
First of all, Android's temporary ousting of the iPhone isn't necessarily because people prefer it over that of the iPhone as recent survey's have shown. For example, one recent survey actually showed that the majority of the largest mobile provider, Verizon, actually preferred to buy the iPhone over all others. The only reason that they did not end up actually buying the iPhone was simply because they couldn't, since Verizon simply can't sell it!
The survey conducted by ChangeWave Research brought out one very interesting and significant fact: namely, that a whopping 54 percent of Verizon's customers have clearly shown that they would prefer to buy an iPhone if only it were available on their provider of choice! So, does anybody then really think that Android, which is available on Verizon and just about every other carrier including AT&T, would really be selling just as well once the iPhone finally becomes available on Verizon?
I, for one, don't bloody well think so!
The main reason why a lot of people are buying Android models is simply because they are the closest thing to the iPhone, and phones that they can buy without actually switching over to AT&T from their preferred carrier. Of course, millions of people have already done just that, but millions of others simply refuse to switch to AT&T from their present carrier.
Android hasn't brought any real innovation to smart phones as far as I can see, and despite what people claim to the contrary, all Android has done was just to simply offer phones with bumped up specs, such as bigger screens, higher resolution cameras, or maybe a slightly faster processor. Android, on the other hand, certainly wasn't the first to offer a touch screen, let alone a multi-touch version, or the first to offer a true web browsing experience, or what have you. No, it was the iPhone that did all that, Android basically tries to convince people its better because maybe, on a short term basis, the hardware it runs on might have an OLED screen, or higher resolution camera, etc. Everything else about Android is a simple and clear violation, as far as I can see, of the iPhone intellectual property. It was the iPhone that revolutionize smart phones by bringing multi-touch out of the shadows and into the open and out of the dark and into the lives of millions of users who otherwise would still be stuck with the antiquated devices of the past, and that means devices like Windows Mobile, RIM or Palm Treo.
Another major reason why I believe that Android's sales have temporally surpassed those of the iPhone's is simply because carriers have also resorted to basically giving them away! Yes, Android devices are basically a dime a dozen these days and carriers have resorted to tricks such as offering two phones for the price of one, etc. They are in other words, nothing more, and nothing less then cheap iPhone knock offs. There are literally dozens of Android phones out there, but there is still only one iPhone and that masks one important fact - no single or particular Android model, be it the HTC Hero, EVO 4, or the Nexus-One, etc., can boast of matching the iPhone in sales. It's only collectively that they surpass it, so the impressive and recent Android numbers are not as necessarily impressive as it first might seem.
Still, another major reason for Android's recent sales numbers is because carriers have also spent huge sums of money on advertising, trying to convince their customers that their phones have everything and even more than that of the iPhone, but the question is for how much longer?
That's right, if Apple wins its legal case against HTC, and hence Android, then all of those millions of Android phones out there may suddenly find themselves limited or even totally banned! I've read reports that patent lawyers have given Apple a far greater than 50% chance of winning, so I'm not too sure I would want to take my chances personally in buying an iPhone wannabe. Who's going to want a phone if a lot of its functionality is suddenly taken away from it? Not me and I presume not too many others either. Of course, I bet you a million, billion licorice sticks that if Apple wins this one, many are going to bitch that Apple is once again limiting innovation in the market place! Mark my words, they will be up in arms over any Apple legal victory in protecting its intellectual property, or to be precise its some 200 plus iPhone patents.
Probably, however, the biggest reason why Android has temporarily gained on the iPhone is simply the facts that Apple only sells the one phone (in two versions, the 3G and the 3GS), and only updates it once per year, and because of this most people are holding back purchasing an iPhone, on the knowledge that the next one (in part thanks to Gizmodo) will be available as early as next month. Trust me, once the pent up demand for the iPhone 4G is finally released and it becomes available in June, or shortly there after, I strongly suspect that the next quarter of smart phone sales are probably going to look different, a lot different, than what we saw in the first quarter.
So, in conclusion, will the next iPhone, the 4G or what ever it is called, finally beat back Android into sales submission?
Well, at the end of the day only God knows for sure, but maybe it will, and then again maybe it won't, but I personally and strongly believe that it will. Android's recent rise may be seen as being impressive and all, but, in the end, it could be very short lived indeed. The introduction of the next iPhone and any possible legal success on Apple's part, could, and I believe it will, be the tipping point and one in the favor of the iPhone. In fact, if Apple's wins, as suspected, in its patent war, then Android may become more than just a crippled device, it might actually end up becoming as good as dead!
And that's my 2 cents 4 this Tuesday, May 11, 2010Android vs iPhone sales chart via: NDP via ZDNet