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Apple rose quickly between October and December, while Android fell in the U.S., RIM virtually out of the game

According to market research firm Nielsen Mobile, Apple, Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc. (GOOG) have pulled into a neck-and-neck tie in the U.S. smartphone race, as Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) steadily loses market share.

I. An Apple Win

Globally, Apple's single smartphone -- the iPhone -- has been grossly outsold by Android of late, or at least was earlier in the year.  In October 2011, Nielsen says 61.6 percent of smartphones sold ran Android, versus 25.1 percent that were iPhones.

In December 2011, Apple took 44.5 percent of the market, while Android took 46.9 percent of the market.  Given its recent losses interspersed with Pyrrhic victories in court [1][2][3][4] [5][6][7][8] [9][10][11][12] [13][14] against Android and Android's market share domination in both U.S. and global sales, some had begun to cast doubts on Apple's long term prospects as a top player in the smartphone market.

Market share

But if Apple is going anywhere in the long term, it clearly has a good bit more life in its lungs.

II. Why the Shift?

While the most obvious cause for Apple's search is the release of the iPhone 4S, which broke with Apple's traditional annual cycle, taking a year and a half to launch, a host of other factors likely also came into play.

The iPhone 4S does not exactly amaze in the hardware department.  But it does fill a small phone (3.5-inch) space that Android has largely failed to market to, with Android focusing its high-end hardware on larger >4-inch smartphones.  Some consumers want a smaller phone.

Secondly, while the base operating systems of Android and iOS looks very similar as of Android 2.3 Gingerbread, the Apple operating system enjoys slightly more polished core apps (including the fancy Siri).  That's not to say that Gingerbread's apps are bad, merely that Apple's apps are that much better.  Of course Apple lacks some of the customization of Gingerbread, but ultimately this does not make a huge difference to the casual electronics buyer.

IPhone 4S

This situation could soon change with the release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which takes Google's operating system in a somewhat "Windows Phoneish" direction.  It also has put a great deal of effort into polishing core applications like the browser, messaging hub, and email.  The results from ICS, upon initial examination, are equal or perhaps even better to their iOS equivalents.  However, the only ICS device on the market as of December was the Galaxy Nexus by Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) which was only on one network -- Verizon Wireless -- a joint venture between Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD).

It should be interesting how the monthly sales situation when ICS updates go from the realm of Android modders to the masses, and new ICS-optimized handsets go on sale.  Clearly this coming event will put pressure on Apple to overhaul iOS or risk losing its brief market resurgence.

Both platforms have an overabundance of apps, with hundreds of thousands available.

Outside of the phone's actual physical merits, another factor is that Apple continues to maintain a strong brand image.  While enthusiasm about Android, attack ads mocking extreme Apple fanboyism, and backlash against its lawsuit "crusade" have soured some on the Apple brand, among your average consumer it remains one of the strongest brands on the market.  To these consumers buying an Apple device is equivalent to buying "cool points" that some people would (literally) give an organ for.  

Android has become a household name and has a strengthening brand image, but it hasn't yet developed the sort of fanatical loyalty that Apple enjoys among many consumers -- significantly, many of whom are not technophiles.

III. Numbers Paint Bleak Picture for RIM

Android overall has a 46.3 percent market share and iOS has 30 percent, according to Nielsen.  RIM trails in distant third with 14.9 percent.  Amazingly, Windows Phone only has 1.3 percent of the market, compared to 4.6 percent for the ancient Windows Mobile. 

Among buyers in the last three months, Windows Phone crept slightly upwards to 1.4 percent, while Windows Mobile dropped to 2.4 percent.  RIM, meanwhile was in free fall, hitting 6 percent.  IOS grew faster than Android over the last few months, rising to 37 percent, while Android rose somewhat to 51.7 percent.

Overall it's important to take these numbers with a grain of salt, as Apple had one extremely good month that drew it into a tie, but Android holds the lead both for the last three months and for the estimated total market share for all active U.S. smartphones.  On the other hand, there is a clear trend in the last three months that's boosted Apple and sunk Android.

market share

RIM in October held approximately 7.7 percent of U.S. sales, but had faded by December 2011 to 4.5 percent.  RIM is doing decently in emerging markets like Indonesia, partially because its handsets are generally low cost, owing to their weaker hardware.  However, this also means RIM's profit margins are quickly eroding, and with only $1.5B USD in cash, an acquisition by a competitor appears increasingly likely.

In Q4 2011 46 percent of Americans with cell phones had a smartphone, and for those who purchased phones during that quarter, the total rose to 60 percent.

Nielsen uses a very strong multi-component analysis that looks at over 65,000 cell phone bills monthly (volunteer based); surveys of 300,000 users yearly; and iOS and Android apps that offer metrics from volunteers.  Together these methods allow Nielsen Mobile to reduce its margin of error when assessing trends like different kinds of usage and market share by company/platform.

Sources: Nielsen [press release], [methodology]



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Pointing out the bias
By testerguy on 1/19/2012 3:21:31 AM , Rating: -1
quote:
The iPhone 4S does not exactly amaze in the hardware department


It is the fastest phone you can buy (CPU/GPU combination). It also has the longest battery life in numerous cases, one of the highest DPI screens you can get, one of the best cameras you can get, and is all packaged in an impressively small space. I don't know what you need to be 'amazed' but being the fastest phone means something to 'technophiles'.

quote:
To these consumers buying an Apple device is equivalent to buying "cool points" that some people would (literally) give an organ for.


This is a ridiculous statement. The strength of the Apple brand is based on them having built up a fantastic reputation for building high quality, industry leading, reliable products. It's not about being 'cool' and quite frankly the organ example is ridiculous. While clearly it's intended in a humorous way, the overall line you always try to portray is that people who buy Apple are irrational, doing it to be 'cool' or being willing to given an organ for. The reality is that Apple isn't a 'cool' brand because it's the mainstream one, and a lot of people who buy Android do so specifically to go against the common phone.

quote:
Android has become a household name and has a strengthening brand image, but it hasn't yet developed the sort of fanatical loyalty that Apple enjoys among many consumers -- significantly, many of whom are not technophiles.


iOS users are, on average, older, better educated, and better paid than Android users. You say many iOS users aren't technophiles, many of Android users aren't either, so it's an irrelevant statement. Android clearly does have its fanatics, exactly like Apple does - that's nothing to do with why these figures are favourable for Apple. As discussed above, Apple released the fastest phone on the market, with best battery life, very good camera, screen DPI, etc etc, and also made older devices available for prices which were previously only offering an Android alternative. These older iPhones are still very popular by virtue of the app store and the fact they still get support for their operating system, which is one big failings of Android. Similarly, Android is developing a reputation for behaving erratically, with slowdowns, crashes, poor battery life and general poor performance happening as a result of the massive fragmentation. Of course, there are also security issues on Android given how open the app store is. I would suggest that the bigger reason Android isn't highly regarded as a brand is all of the above, not due to some 'fanatical loyalty' held by a tiny minority of users of a rival operating system.

quote:
IOS grew faster than Android over the last few months

quote:
but Android holds the lead ... for the last three months


I think the second quote is misleading, as it suggests that over the last three months, Android sold more, when in fact the first quote states that iOS did.

Did you mean that Android HELD the OVERALL lead for the last three months?

quote:
or risk losing its brief market resurgence.


Who says it's a 'brief' resurgence?




RE: Pointing out the bias
By Helbore on 1/19/2012 5:13:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
iOS users are, on average, older, better educated, and better paid than Android users.


I keep hearing people quote this on the internet. Where the hell does it come from?


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/19/2012 8:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
He says it every post he makes....


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 9:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like he just pulled it out of his ass. A lot have asked him for his source yet he conveniently ignores those people.

Typical fanboy behavior.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 9:30:47 AM , Rating: 2
Seems like he just pulled it out of his ass. A lot have asked him for his source yet he conveniently ignores those people.

Typical fanboy behavior.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Tony Swash on 1/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/19/2012 9:54:02 AM , Rating: 2
Having said that, the differences in the demographics of the major groups are generally not that significant and your mobile application development research should probably give more weight to other factors such as platform popularity, technical capabilities, app distribution options and revenue-generation prospects.

I guess you don't read the links you spout....


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Tony Swash on 1/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/19/2012 10:35:04 AM , Rating: 2
Typical response from you when the link YOU put, contradicts what you try to claim. Funny how that happens.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Tony Swash on 1/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/19/2012 12:50:05 PM , Rating: 2
Making assumptions about my educational status, classy. Keep sucking that Apple tit Tony, it must be really good, but one day, it will dry up.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Reclaimer77 on 1/19/12, Rating: 0
RE: Pointing out the bias
By TakinYourPoints on 1/22/2012 6:43:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
People like Tony and Takin literally believe they are smarter better people for having purchased an Apple product.


Nope, it is purely based on the stupid and inflammatory crap you and Cheese post. What device you own has nothing to do with it. Most of the tech stuff I have isn't made by Apple and there are plenty of smart people I know who don't own any Apple products.

You guys don't fall in that category though, sorry.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/22/2012 9:04:27 AM , Rating: 1
Thank God I don't know you, I can't stand you even on here. Regarding the "smart comment", you have no clue about me or Reclaimer outside of this "blog". Stupid and inflammatory. That's amusing considering all the stupid and inflammatory shit AppleTards spew, even when it flies in the face of reality and facts.

Oh, and the narcissism and ego that certain Apple users have...LOL....amazing.

Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, sadly but amusingly, you, Tony and TesterGuy, think yours are important when in reality, they aren't. And the -1's, show this.

Such a sad life you, Tony and TesterGuy must live.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By TakinYourPoints on 1/22/2012 7:35:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm a huge Windows and Windows Phone 7 fan. Just because I think Android is inferior and I list out reasons why, I'm automatically an Apple fanboy in your eyes.

Sorry dude, I know you want to paint everyone who doesn't jibe with your POV as an Appletard but things aren't that black and white.

The devices you and Reclaimer choose to use has so little with anything, it's simple denial of reality and your angry posts that make me act not nice to you here. You're literally the only people here I have issues with outside of Swash (he's simply brainwashed and annoying). There are plenty of other people here who I'm fine with.

The problem is with you, sorry dude.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/23/2012 8:52:04 AM , Rating: 1
No, it's you and you may not have problems with other people but plenty have problems with you, you just choose to ignore it. That's the reality. And I don't paint everyone who doesn't "jibe" with my POV as an Appletard, just the ones who can't face reality and facts, such as you, Tony, Tester, MacDev.

I personally don't give a shit if you are nice or not. You have no bearing on my life at ALL. You are just another tool who posts his opinions as if they are fact or wanted.

Those -1's must be nice eh?


RE: Pointing out the bias
By TakinYourPoints on 1/24/2012 1:25:48 AM , Rating: 2
LOL if you think that a -1 in a circlejerk of Android apologists means anything to me.

You seem to put a lot of value into those little numbers. Sad.

Funny thing while we're talking about numbers, the fact that someone like Reclaimer who's POV is so in line with the general bias here still manages such a low average post score speaks volumes as to how abrasive he is. You'd figure he'd have a +3 score instead of roughly 1.5.

You I don't have such a big problem with, you're not mean. You seem more like his lackey or apologist or something, jumping in to help. It's weird.

quote:
And I don't paint everyone who doesn't "jibe" with my POV as an Appletard, just the ones who can't face reality and facts


You may not, but Reclaimer is ridiculously fast to call someone an "idiot" with no provocation aside from the fact that he doesn't like their post. He's really abrasive and only sees things in black and white terms. His post the other day as to why anyone would ever bother walking when they could just drive a car got such a big WTF from me.

As for reality, I post hard numbers and facts to back up my arguments. I don't formulate opinions out of thin air. Hardware performance (most linked from the awesome Anandtech, which is the only reason I know this place exists), developer support, pros and cons of platforms, just pure hard facts. When I say that Android has inferior hardware, poor security, horribly inconsistent OS updates that screw over the consumer, and weak app selection, I'm not making it up, there are lots of hard metrics to back it up. If it gets a downvote it's generally because it hurts fanboys feelings, and there is rarely ever any rational argument going the other way outside of the availability of larger screens and keyboards.

I really don't care, I expect the same negative reaction if I go to a board primarily made up of console gamers and make a post about why FPS control better with a mouse and keyboard than with a gamepad. The negative reaction doesn't make the people who disagree correct, it makes them ignorant.

Facts aren't the main factor into getting upvotes here, the main thing that matters is if your rhetoric fits in with the circlejerk. It's the nature of specialized internet boards, sadly. I avoid Mac boards like the plague, and the only reason I'm here is because I go to Anandtech (the best!) all the time.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By TakinYourPoints on 1/22/2012 7:10:44 AM , Rating: 2
I mean, it is really hard to take you seriously when you make posts like this: http://www.dailytech.com/Apples+iMac+Accounts+for+...

Only someone completely ignorant would call a UNIX operating system a walled garden, unbelievable.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By ven1ger on 1/19/2012 6:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
Actually you are reading the numbers incorrectly.

Based upon Bianor blog, as the comparisons are even it is a fairer comparison with regards to affluent IOS users. But that only gives a slight edge in the number of IOS users making >$200,000, basically a 1.06% difference with the edge to IOS users.

The fact that you seem to using the Hunch Blog for your unsubstantiated basis is a falsehood. As the blog shows that the percentage numbers they are showing are only those that have responded and as clearly shows that 32% of respondents are IOS and only 21% of respondents were Android users. Now if you were to factor in the number of respondents based upon the actual number of sales that IOS is only 37% and Android is 51% and work out the numbers accordingly, you'll find that the 1.06% having and annual household income of $200K or more to be more honest, so guess where that leaves your other numbers?

Based upon that, I believe that <36% IOS users are likely to be 25 or older and <28% ISO users are likely to have a degree.

The Hunch Blog is skewed to IOS users because more IOS users responded, and that does not represent a true sampling based upon actual sales. Trying to use something like this for your assertions is asserting a falsehood. So in regards, you're a liar.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 10:25:56 PM , Rating: 2
Hey man, don't you dare inject fact and destroy Tony's argument! He'll just post more blog links as his "credible sources".


RE: Pointing out the bias
By testerguy on 1/20/2012 7:49:56 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks everyone for posting links to the survey, first time I've seen a request for a link - thought it was common knowledge.

'Based upon Bianor blog, as the comparisons are even it is a fairer comparison with regards to affluent IOS users. But that only gives a slight edge in the number of IOS users making >$200,000, basically a 1.06% difference with the edge to IOS users.'

This is an example of reading the numbers incorrectly. The separate study carried out by Bianor is further evidence that iOS users are better paid.

To quote their own article:

'Example demonstrating how to read the chart: 12.18% of our Android users are in the $100-200K group, while this number for our iOS users is 13.24%. Hence the difference of 8.70% depicted on the chart above.'

In other words, if you use iOS, you're 8.7% more likely to be within the $100-200k group.

'The fact that you seem to using the Hunch Blog for your unsubstantiated basis is a falsehood. As the blog shows that the percentage numbers they are showing are only those that have responded and as clearly shows that 32% of respondents are IOS and only 21% of respondents were Android users. Now if you were to factor in the number of respondents based upon the actual number of sales that IOS is only 37% and Android is 51% and work out the numbers accordingly, you'll find that the 1.06% having and annual household income of $200K or more to be more honest, so guess where that leaves your other numbers?'

This, statistically, is a complete nonsense.

It does not matter at all whether there are 100,000 iOS replies and 10,000 Android replies, or 100,000 Android replies and 10,000 iOS replies. Given a sample size which is big enough for one data point, on it's own (and this survey sample size was over 15,000 people) - achieving equal replies would make no difference to the stats whatsoever. Furthermore, as the article states, if you read it 'Hunch crossed those responses with answers from dozens of other “THAY” questions, totaling over 80 million responses between March 2009 and July 2011 and found:'

Note that during this time iOS was significantly in the lead usage wise so the numbers tally up just fine (not that they needed to, as I just explained) - and your argument completely falls down.

To make guesses of random numbers which argue the case because of the fact that there were more iOS users at the time is simply ludicrous.

You're essentially making an assumption that if we asked 2,000 MORE Android users, their demographics would be completely different to the 6,000 or so already interviewed, and would completely change the stats. Like I said, this, mathematically, statistically, and logically, is a total fail. The most probable and rational likelihood is that they follow the same pattern as the original 6,000. The very premise, by the way, which is why representative surveys are used at all.

If you're going to try to debunk a legitimate survey, please have a logical reason next time. (you 'liar')


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/20/2012 2:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the part where Hunch mentioned that they only asked for which OS a respondent used between March and July 2011.

Also: it's a blog.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/20/2012 2:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a "legitimate survey", sorry. It's a BLOG site.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 10:22:57 PM , Rating: 2
You missed the part that more Android users consider themselves equally strong in mathematics and verbal usage compared to iOS users claiming to have a stronger verbal competence. I don't how you judge someone to be smart, but I know I don't judge people based on whether they finished college or not.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 10:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
don't know how*


RE: Pointing out the bias
By testerguy on 1/20/2012 8:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
How people 'consider' themselves is a measure of a whole range of things, including arrogance, it does not necessarily correlate with capability.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/19/2012 11:24:53 AM , Rating: 2
Tony Swash: Missing the point since 2009


RE: Pointing out the bias
By testerguy on 1/20/2012 7:53:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Having said that, the differences in the demographics of the major groups are generally not that significant and your mobile application development research should probably give more weight to other factors such as platform popularity, technical capabilities, app distribution options and revenue-generation prospects.


This is an example of an opinion, from whichever author you read. I, for example, hold a different opinion. I would say that:

'67% more likely to have an annual household income of $200k or more'

Is significant.

The opinions are irrelevant, the facts (the survey itself) are not. And my original point stands regardless, since I never used the word 'significant' (precisely for the reason that this is subjective).


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Helbore on 1/19/2012 5:14:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
iOS users are, on average, older, better educated, and better paid than Android users.


I keep hearing people quote this on the internet. Where the hell does it come from?


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Helbore on 1/19/2012 5:14:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
iOS users are, on average, older, better educated, and better paid than Android users.


I keep hearing people quote this on the internet. Where the hell does it come from?


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/19/2012 8:36:46 AM , Rating: 3
It comes from Mactards who think they know who uses what....


RE: Pointing out the bias
By testerguy on 1/20/2012 7:57:34 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It comes from Mactards who think they know who uses what....


Yeah those damn 'Mactards' who possess the magical gift of being able to read:

http://macdailynews.com/2011/08/16/iphone-users-sm...

37% more likely to have a graduate degree
67% more likely to have an annual household income of $200k or more
50% more likely to have visited more than five countries


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/20/2012 8:31:46 AM , Rating: 1
Boy, a MAC site. Go figure. And I can read thank you very much. Just Apple BIAS sites, they just don't really interest me much.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/20/2012 9:09:27 AM , Rating: 1
Also, this Hunch...

quote:
Hunch, using their “Teach Hunch About You” (THAY) questions explored the differences between iPhone and Android phone users.


and

quote:
Hunch crossed those responses with answers from dozens of other “THAY” questions, totaling over 80 million responses between March 2009 and July 2011 and found:


Real scientific....

Also, and this says IT ALL....but thanks for playing

quote:
The likelihood of possessing a graduate degree notwithstanding, we know for sure that iPhone users are smarter because they choose Macs over Windows PCs.


You Apple tards are funny and pathetically sad.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By DeluxeTea on 1/20/2012 2:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
It's like they need to put people not using Apple products down to validate their choice.


RE: Pointing out the bias
By Cheesew1z69 on 1/20/2012 2:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yep


“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads














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