back to article Android tops iPhone in US (no thanks to the Nexus One)

Google continues to eat crow over the Nexus One. On Monday, Sprint - America's third largest wireless carrier - told Gizmodo it had changed its mind about joining Mountain View's online handset store and offering service in tandem with the Googlephone. As recently as March, the carrier said that it would partner with Google on …


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  1. Dazed and Confused

    Make you mind up

    The other day the reports were saying that Nokia were by far and away the biggest shifter of smart phones and now this crowd are coming up with figures for Android, iPhone and Blackberry without showing Nokia there at all.

    Are we back to defining a "smart phone" as any electronic device not associated with an Finish company?

    1. PaulR79

      Article mentions US

      I may be wrong but it looks like these details are for the US only where Nokia, somewhat confusingly, has always been a small player.

    2. Ivan Slavkov

      Different metrics

      1. US vs EU vs World.

      2. Phones sold vs phone OS-es detected on mobile-specific ads vs phones in use

      That gives a sufficient "mix-n-match" matrix to prove any particular statement. You can claim that Iphone is being sidelined and prove it, you can claim that Nokia is being sidelined and prove it, you can claim that BwahaBwaha OS running on GigglyMungy handsets is the definitive winner.

      How to lie with statistics part 2.

  2. Nick Kew

    How do you define a smartphone?

    El Reg posts two classes of report on smartphone usage:

    (1) with Nokia in clear top spot

    (2) with Nokia absolutely nowhere

    Could that be because noone agrees on what the smartphone market actually is, and some reports just exclude Nokia (clearly nonsense) while others lump in every Nokia handset as a smartphone (ditto)?

    These articles would be more meaningful if we knew what you were really talking about!

    1. DrunkenMessiah


      This article is about US sales, the other you are referring to was about world sales. Believe it or not, there is a difference.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    I like how the article makes no attempt to makes a connection with the title until the final paragraph. Cheers.

  4. Bruce Hoult

    sold .. or given away?

    So it seems the number of phones was higher, but what was the revenue from those phones, and what version of Android were they running?

    A little bird tell me that were pretty much given away and were running pre-2.0 version of Android and aren't upgradable.

    1. Adam Williamson 1


      The revenue from the handset sale is almost irrelevant in the smartphone market, it's all about the revenue from the plan. It doesn't really matter much that some of these phones may have been sold at low 'prices' or 'given away' in the two-for-one deals that Verizon does on smartphones, they still wind up getting the revenue they really care about. Contract revenue for the lifetime of a single contract is usually up in four figures, the maximum low three-figure handset cost doesn't really matter much in the long run.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This article is based on US market...

    ... where Nokia is no where to be seen, the other article was either world-wide or europe (can't remember which where Nokia have the top spot.

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Google Nexus One

    I would have bought one of these phones if their bloody site would have let me purchase one. Instead I bought an HTC Desire and I couldn't be happier. Android really is an excellent phone OS, and by virtue of being free and open it's going to dominate the smart phone market.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      RE: Google Nexus One

      I'm not really convinced Google ever really wanted to sell the Nexus One, I think it was more of a case of Google saying to the carriers "get a move on supporting Android or we'll do the bizz ourselves!" Google's end game always seems to be the OS/browser so they can control it and push advertising at the user. I'm reminded of when AMD made the first chipsets for Athlon just to get people to buy the Athlon, which prodded nVidia into producing a better solution. AMD didn't actually want to be in the motherboard chipset game, it was more a matter of necessity. I think Google thought it was necessary to threaten the carriers with the possibility that Google could go to a one-stop-shop of Google handset, Google OS, and then VOIP over Google's net if the carriers don't play along.

      1. Gulfie
        Thumb Up

        'Despite' Nexus One - that's a sideshow

        It doesn't really matter how many the Nexus One sells, what is important to Google is that Android sells well. With the G1 and now the Nexus 1 Google have phones that they know inside out and can rapidly prototype new OS features on a working phone. Developers can buy the phone unlocked and debug with it. And it does give Google a fall-back position.

        Incidentally it's taken me just eight weeks from getting a Nexus One for development only, to deciding to ditch my iPhone altogether. SIM-Only contract is so much cheaper... Visual Voicemail not so important in the general scheme of things.

  7. Waffles666

    It was always going to happen

    But I didn't think it would happen so fast. NOKIA not being in there is a bit dodge what do you call a smart phone these days anyway? bit of email, web and multimedia sounds like every phone around.

  8. morphoyle


    The nexus one was really meant as more of a reference design for an android phone. I don't think google really intended to set the world on fire with this one. If they had, we would have seen a few more commercials or something.

  9. Gene Cash Silver badge

    I can't get a N900 in the US

    They're only available on T-Mobile, who's a bit-player with a lousy network, and they've already screwed me over once. Which is a shame, because I already have an N800, and I've written a ton of apps for it that I use all the time.

    I originally wanted a Nexus one, but the onscreen keyboard's not so good, so a Motorola Droid is the way to go. (I think it's called the "Milestone" in the UK) - I guess it's time to grab the Android dev kit and start porting some apps...

  10. George of the Jungle

    CDMA nit

    "Like Verizon, Sprint runs a network based on the black sheep CDMA standard"

    The color of your sheep depends on where you live. :)

    In the rural part of the Eastern US, CDMA generally provides better coverage. GSM seems to be relegated to the Interstate highways and the large cities. When I moved to a rural area I dumped GSM for CDMA so I could have a reliable connection.

    That said, I still keep an unlocked Treo 680 GSM phone around when I travel to Europe; I just buy a local PAYG SIM card and off I go. I've thought about upgrading to a Nexus One for travel since I'd have app commonality (I use a Sprint HTC Hero now), except I don't feel like giving 500 some-odd dollars to Google at the moment.

  11. Jon 52
    Jobs Horns

    bias much

    Some good news for for Android and you mostly bury it in a rant against the nexusone. Android should celebrate its victory over the overpriced closed shop of the iphone.

  12. Eddy Ito

    Nokia vs US

    Nokia has little share in the US smart phone market because very few of their phones are readily available. Most people here get their phone from the carrier, usually locked and with a multi year contract. A quick poll of the 4 major carriers in a Boston, MA zip code shows very few Nokia smart phones at all.

    The smart phone breakdown is Verizon has a duo with the 2705 & 7705. AT&T shows a pair, a 6790 and an E71x. T-mobile flies solo with the 5230. Finally, Sprint has a whole lot of nothing Nokia. That makes 5 models of which none are new and it has been my experience that Nokia in the US generally lags everywhere else by at least a year, probably more.

    If you want a half decent Nokia clever phone here you must buy online or know the location of a specialty shop. Most folks just hit the local carrier kiosk and pick up whatever is there. This is also why Google's Nexus One sputtered. Heck, I'd wager roughly half, maybe more, of all general public phone upgrades in the US are impulse buys made while people are out shopping for something else.

  13. Dazed and Confused

    What is the %age of non US sales then?

    OK, so Nokia is a bit part player in the US (coz you can't easily get one - perhaps that explains the interest I've seen when suffering an N95 over there) and still manage to be by far the largest player in the world, I wonder what the other vendors numbers look like if you take out the US figures.

  14. os2baba

    The Nexus One was destined for failure in the US

    The Nexus One would never have sold in the US.

    For the phone to sell well, it should

    1. The sorry Math skills of most Americans means that they will look at the $300 extra they would have to pay up front and forget about any savings in a no-contract plan.

    2. The savings in a no-contract plan AFAIK is only available through T-Mobile and it's not much of a savings.

    3. The flexibility of changing carriers doesn't work in the US with a different Nexus One for different carriers. Even between the 2 GSM carriers, the 3G bands are different.

    Add to that,

    4. The inability to touch and play with the phone before making an expensive purchase with a hefty ETF makes it a boneheaded move from Google.

    5. The early #G connectivity problems did Google and T-Mobile no favors.

    6. Google's naive assumption that they could do support on the cheap for an expensive device that people have paid for. And to top it all, do a piss poor job of it.

    There is only one reason remaining to buy a N1 - Future OS releases will be fastest on the N1 and are not tied to either manufacturer UIs (Sense/Motoblur etc.) or carriers.

    It's a great phone, but the newer HTC devices even more so. How many people are going to choose a Nexus One over the Incredible or the EVO now? Maybe a N2 with a keyboard with beefier specs.

  15. PatC
    Thumb Up

    80s Redux? Control Freak Failure .. Again?

    The real news here is Android overtaking the iPhone and the real questions: whether Steve Jobs is about to repeat the single biggest mistake in computing history (not licensing his O/S and thus handing a 25 year near monopoly to Bill Gates) and gift the phone market to Google?

    Jobs wants to dominate the phone market the way he dominates the iPod/Music market. He's a control freak and having tasted that degree of dominance - along with the excitement that's beyond any woman's (or Filipino pool boy's - I never really worked out his sexuality) gift - he wants more.

    His strategy is promote the iPhone via cool, 3rd party apps which he then locks into appearing on his platform alone by making it as expensive and inconvenient as possible to port them to other platforms.

    Then, even when non-fanbois come to replace their iPhones, they buy another one because it's the only thing that runs their favourite fart app.

    It's not a bad strategy - I had Nokias for years because I'd paid for a copy of Route 66 that only ran on Nokias - but it only really works while the iPhone platform offers the greatest number of potential customers for the developers of the most interesting apps.

    Once the iPhone no longer offers the most potential punters - and it looks like it won't in the next 12 to 18 months - it obviously makes more sense to develop for the platforms that do. That they happen to be more open and easier to port code between just helps make that transition all the easier.

    Result, everybody starts developing for Android/RIM and eventually the iPhone goes the way of the Mac: a pretty irrelevance worshipped by media types who's computing needs really only run to a word processor and a printer.

    And that Fart app, of course.

    You'd think Stevie boy would maybe have learned his lesson after a quarter century of eating Gate's dust, but maybe control freakery always trumps common sense ..

    1. Mike S

      Market Share vs. Margins

      I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment here.

      But, I think Apple's long term strategy is not to dominate the market (not that they don't want to, but its not a primary goal.) Their goal is to pump out high margin devices. And the margin on Apple products is pretty amazing.

      Toyota may sell more cars than Porsche. But that doesn't detract from Porsche.

      1. Stephen 10

        re: Market Share vs. Margins

        Your point is mostly valid but following your analogy, Porsche were until recently the most profitable car maker but with a limited, expensive range with very high margins. One GFC later and now VW owns them...

        Apple will be vulnerable with only a short series of mistakes. Google on the other hand seem to have a very small exposure with Android.

    2. FARfetched
      Jobs Halo

      How soon they forget

      You mean you don't remember Jobs saying he'd be satisfied with 1% of the market?

      Not sure why I'm bothering, anyone who wibbles about fart apps isn't listening anyway.

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