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Android is terminating the competition's sales with its superior products and broader selection.  (Source: PocketNow)

Android (green) is now ahead of Apple and RIM in terms of new phone purchases in the U.S., according to Nielsen.  (Source: Nielsen)

Android's total ownership is also soaring.  (Source: Nielsen)
Android passes the iPhone and Research in Motion in new purchase market share, says Nielsen

If you listen to its naysayers Android is doomed -- its hardware is too heterogeneous, its interface is cluttered, Google is making a mistake giving it away for free, and it's hard to develop for.  Well, those arguments should sound familar -- after all, they were among those leveled against the PC over the years.

And much as the PC (with Microsoft's Windows OS) left IBMs and Apples coughing in the dust in the 1980s, today in the 2010s Google's Android OS is similarly leaving behind Research in Motion and Apple. 

According to the Nielsen Company, Google's U.S. market share has continued to soar, with Android hitting 32 percent of new purchases in August, as Apple's iPhone iOS has dipped to 25 percent and RIM has risen ever-so-slightly to 26 percent.  Just a month prior (in July), the firm showed the various competitors virtually neck-and-neck when it came to new purchases, with Google holding 28 percent, Apple holding 26 percent, and RIM holding 25 percent.

According to Nielsen in terms of complete market share (not just new buyers), Apple has been holding steady, dipping from 26 percent in January 2010 to 25 percent in August.  RIM's Blackberry OS, meanwhile dipped from 36 percent to 31 percent.  But Google soared upwards, more than doubling from 8 percent in January to 19 percent in August.

RIM and Apple seem relatively powerless to stop Google.  RIM has managed to only come up with one significant new smart phone model (the Blackberry Torch), while Apple's only hope seems to lie with its yearly refreshes and waiting for AT&T exclusivity to finally end.  At the end of the day both competitors seem extremely unlikely to be able to muster the kind of challenge needed to reverse Google's course.

When it comes down to it, Microsoft's plodding path to victory on the desktop and Google's steady path to victory on the smart phone are highly analogous.  Both firms ditched the popular closed proprietary hardware environments that dominated the market at their time of entry and both companies put aside a focus on fine-tuning every minutia to try to make a "magical" OS.  In both cases, the OS makers instead focused on putting their product in the hands of lots of hardware partners and offering consumers a broader selection of choices.  And consumers, as it turns out, seem to like choice.

So while the Android naysayers are unlikely to go away for some time, they'll likely be getting frustrated and tired before long, as Android continues to punish the competition.

Of course Apple's fans can take comfort -- much like its battle with Microsoft in the PC market, Apple doesn't need to outsell Google in the smart phone market to be hugely profitable.  Apple's ability to charge premium prices for less than premium hardware means that although the company only has a 2.8 percent current global market share, it makes 39 percent of the profits.  For that reason it seems unlikely that we'll see Apple whither under the beating it's receiving from Google, but it seems equally unlikely that Apple and RIM will be able to prevent Google from establishing itself as the king of the market.




"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference



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