back to article Beastly Android will batter Apple's iOS beauty

Apple can still claim top spot in terms of US market share, according to recent data from Nielsen, but its lead is rapidly vanishing in Android's wake. This means that developers increasingly are going to need to choose the platform they should develop for first, and the answer seems increasingly to be Google's open web. If …


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  1. James Woods

    not so sure about an android boost

    I don't have an iphone so I can't comment on it.

    I will say that if Windows came with all the software (mainly google apps) that the android does the anti-trust lawsuits would be spinning.

    The only applications i've had to add to my android to make it useful is youtube (owned by google) gmail (don't even think I added it, but I do use it).

    So it's a google phone and the phone feature of it is the area that works the worst.

    I've had numerous issues with my android ever since a software update was done and all sprint does is blame the OS and says they want to reload the phone.

    I've only had the freaking thing for a month.

    Im sure iphones have to be better than this, I know they cost more.

    1. streaky
      Black Helicopters


      Same applies to Apple on all their platforms. Don't really see your point.

      Microsoft's bundling cases are a joke on any legal system that choses to persue them, usually in markets where their competitors are.

      Nobody else cares - maybe if Opera wasn't such a bad browser people would use it. Nothing Microsoft has done has ever stopped firefox or anything based on khtml.

  2. IronTed


    This article is plain blasphemy! I would have thought that a man with a stature like Matt Asay would have understood why iPhone is so succcesful. But no, he seems to think open source is Android. No developer makes money on Android. Angry Birds is ad-supported on Android, but that how it works on Android. Open source is bad for software developers. If you want to make money writing software on Android, forget about it. Open-source platforms like Linux is great for writing Java enterprise apps, which are for in-house use, but not for selling to consumers. Asay seems to think that just because Android is open-source, it can win. What a terrible mistake! And you are quoting a developer Whereoscope who obviously has a beef about Apple and can't make money on iOS. The volume Android has in the US is all on Verizon, and Verizon customers have no choice but to use Android or Blackberry, which is uncompetitive. If iPhone is available on Verizon, it will completely demolish Android. And Apple just had a record holiday quarter. Make my words! Those naysayers will keep saying bad things about Apple will never win!

    1. NB


      Ah fanboyism, wipe the spittle from your mouth and start again my dear chap.

      1. Alan Wray
        Thumb Down

        Cold hard cash

        Say what you like but I know through personal experience of a number of people who have decided against developing versions of their applications for Android because horror of horrors they want to be able to make return on their investment.

        Android already has the reputation of being for freetards whilst iOS provides a method of actually making at least the cost of your development back.

        1. PaulR79

          Two (or more) horse race means a degree of healthy competition

          "iOS provides a method of actually making at least the cost of your development back." That's assuming your app is approved and left there as opposed to being declined with no reason given or removed after a month due to some minor change that has no effect on how your app works. I'm not speaking from personal experience there but there are more than enough examples of this and worse out there. I don't recall Google pulling any app for arbitrary reasons and I can only think of one time where something was pulled for being somewhat malicious.

          Both platforms offer something different with similar functionality mixed in. Android has the greater freedom for both developers and users, Apple and iOS are for those that don't want to mess around much. You can jailbreak and do a lot with an iPhone and other iOS devices but not in the same scope as Android. I've yet to see a custom iOS ROM developed by users for example but there are people putting Android on iPhones.

          1. Alan Wray

            @Two (or more) horse race means a degree of healthy competition

            I suggest you read the article interviewing the Angry birds developers

            "Android is growing, but it’s also growing complexity at the same time. Device fragmentation not the issue, but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android. "

            As jailbreaking is not perceived as the norm for iOS people feel more confident (rightly or wrongly) in the chances of their App not being pirated. Angry Birds can make money through the advertising due to the frequent use.

            A purveyor of a less frequently accessed but useful content resource based app is not going to see any return.

            1. Paul Shirley

              @Alan Wray:selective quoting at its best, try this one instead

              I suggest you track down this quote from Rovio's CEO. Perhaps you might get a clue that the business models are different and paid content doesn't define profit on Android.

              "“By end of year, we project earnings of over $1 million per month with the ad-supported version of Angry Birds,” says Peter Vesterbacka, CEO of Rovio."

              1. Alan Wray

                @Paul Shirley

                Perhaps if you want to make a fuss about selective quoting you might actually like to read my comments.

                I was and have been explicitly talking about examples where a person with an app WHICH PROVIDES CONTENT (in caps to help you there) has decided to not produce an Android app.

                Perhaps you might want to read the part of my comment that points out that for Angry Birds that ad driven model is fine but if you have a CONTENT DRIVEN app (helped you there again) then the business model doesn't work for Android.

                It's almost like I read the whole of the Rovio article and understood it, agreed with it and used it to illustrate why the Android model is a problem for CONTENT DRIVEN apps.

                Almost like I had a clue.

                1. Anonymous Coward

                  @Wrong Wray

                  Even so, to get an app accepted by Apple is an exercise in lunacy; not just the cost but the risk of outright rejection - let alone the risk of being rejected a few weeks later just because Sir Steve had a bowel movement which went bad that morning.

                  Bottom line is that, for Android, developers are making money without risking outright rejection, or even possible rejection anyway. For a company with mouths to feed, that's worth the effort of even training up existing developers to use new languages (though given the pervasive nature of Java, I'd be surprised if any self-respecting developer doesn't know it - let alone one that couldn't use Air to create a cross-platform delivery). Additionally, using Java adds in the ability to offer the product on other platforms.

                  Your CONTENT DRIVEN apps can function perfectly fine on ad models; just like they do on the web - in fact, more so on a mobile device. Or they can use subscription IF THEY CHOOSE (see, I'm helping too) since Android lets you do this if you want to.

        2. fandom


          About those who decided not to develop for Android, did they decide because their existing android apps weren't selling or was it that they didn't expect them to sell?

          1. Alan Wray


            They avoided Android as having done the research they decided that spending the money on having a team of developers write an Android app to go alongside their existing successful IPhone app was not a sensible investment of cash as they were unlikely to see sufficient money come back from that version. Whereas with the IPhone app they would (and indeed have).

            This wasn't a "Fart" app or indeed a technology focused app but instead an app that wrapped up their produced content so that it could be accessed on the go. To repackage that content into Android format would require them to hire a team of android developers who would obviously want paying for their services.

            As per the article from the Angry Birds developers <


            "paid content just doesn’t work on Android."

            That if you are paying to develop an app is a pretty persuasive argument/perception from anyone's perspective.

        3. Dave 15

          Making the cost of development back...

          Must be ***** expensive and sell ***** loads, after all the development environment requires expensive hardware to run on, it then takes decades to work out (its the worst environment I have EVER seen - and I've been around for a very long time), if you want to do more than a trivial 'hello world' with 'objectiveC' then you will need the patience of a saint and need to back everything up before typing a single command because it is probable that you will find the development environment complete f****** your application and you will need to start again.

          Even if you get through all that pain - and frankly I'd rather stab my eyes out with my own severed dick than do it again - you then have to jump through the mindless hoops to get it onto the store.....

          No, better and easier to develop for Symbian or Android.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge


      I've bought loads of apps from the Android market. Some of these are "unnecessary" - for instance the free version of Maverick (off-road GPS) is quite good enough, but at the same time it is so good I couldn't resist the opportunity to bung the developer the tiny amount of loose change the pro version cost. Is this a sustainable model? I think only time will tell.

      1. nrosier

        Paid Apps

        I've also bought this app for the same reason. IMHO one of the reasons developers could not make money form Android was the absence of a paid market in a lot of countries. I had to root my phone and use MarketAccess so I *could* pay for apps. If you think that China and India, 2 very large countries with a large Android-population only recently got access to the paid market it's really clear why people didn't pay for apps: they couldn't!

    3. My Alter Ego

      I can only assume you're being sarcastic.

      At least I hope so.

      I've written a couple of Android Apps, mainly as what I wanted wasn't available, so I gave it a go. My first was a METAR/TAF (Aviation weather reports & forecasts), and I put it on the marketplace for a larf. It's a fairly niche market, and there are plenty of competitors, but I've made about £200 out of it so far.

      Not enough to quit my day job, but it'll pay for a nice lunch in the Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons. There are companies out there making a lot of money from selling Android apps.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        How does that prove anything?

        Surely it depends on whether your apps are actually any good or not and if you have a marketing strategy for generating some awareness? Strange that so many developers think there should be any link at all between time spent coding and money earned. It's only if you are employed that there is such a link. When you are an entrepreneur it's down to your product and your strategy !

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The idiocy of needing a title when replying is moot


      No developer makes money on Android


      Whoa. Silly me, here I thought there were new apps being built every day. Oh wait. They are. So obviously there is something in it for developers.. otherwise, wait I know this one! There wouldn't be any further development. Whoa.


      The volume Android has in the US is all on Verizon, and Verizon customers have no choice but to use Android or Blackberry, which is uncompetitive


      Uh... what?? So, the fact that Apple sign SPECIFIC, BINDING contracts with ONE operator is GOOD for competition? Holy cow. Never mind that it's APPLE that you have a beef with there, not Android. Good grief.

      Here, let me help you:

      Uncompetitive: That does not involve competition; not competitive

      In other words, ONE provider. ONE. Not two, as in choice. ONE. I have two sweets, you have ONE, I have a choice you have NONE. Are we ok on the meaning of uncompetitive??

      Android phones are accessible to ANY network, in fact the only ones that are limited are due to technology limitations, such as 4G

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ The idiocy...etc

        I presume you are talking about America.

        In the Uk you have a choice of 6 carriers with your iPhone.

        Therefore there is competition.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton


      75% of the apps on my HTC are paid for, non ad supported apps. I doubt I am the only one. So somewhere, a developer IS making money from Android market place.

    6. Dave 15


      I trust your post is tongue in cheek?

      There is no reason for an android developer not to make money selling applications to consumers. As an individual consumer I could create my own app (if I had the patience with the disasterous mess apple claim is a developer environment) BUT whether I do is a judgement on the cost of the application versus the cost of my time to develop my own. This is REGARDLESS of the underlying operating system. The fact that the apple developer environment is so much worse than the development provided by other OS's (including the most installed OS of them all - Symbian) means that the cost of developing applications is higher. This means they will cost more in the market. This means I will find Android or Symbian far better IF - and only if - I am the type of person who wants to add applications to their device.

      So even in an 'open' situation that balance between cost of my effort and cost of the application applies, and, I will still pay a developer who has taken the time I don't want to spend.

      And as for 'if apple were on verizon...' not an arguement that holds water, if apple was so much better people would swap their operator.

      The apple phones are NOT good for those of us who like to have a real keyboard, or a proper clam shell so we don't fiddle with 'locking' or 'unexpected phone calls' with other OS's I get a much wider choice of device, thats where they will win.

  3. aktr

    Oh, please...

    Have you ever used an Android phone? I've had three (starting with the G1, to the Vibrant, to the MyTouch 4G); while the hardware improved dramatically, the software has always been awful -- inconsistent, slow, buggy, crash-prone, and generally crippled. Battery has always been a problem (although the 4G, with a 1600mAh after-market battery is OK).

    If one does not want to use any (or even some) of Google's services, you're pretty much out of luck. Case in point, Calendar: *still* no support for CalDAV! What kind of crippleware is this?

    Even if you do want to use all of Google's services, they are buggy beyond belief --- they truly are beta. Again case in point is the horrendous calendar (iCal and Apple's Mobile Calendar are running circles around Google's offering), but also the awful App Market application (the latest one on 2.2 seems to be even worse than what came before), and the pretty buggy Qik video chat (which manages to be even worse/buggier than Apple's FaceTime, quite a feat I should say).

    At a more philosophical level, who in their right mind would choose Java as the main development platform? On top of Linux, no less? Granted, it's better than native programming for Windows PhoneOS (whatever they call it today), but not by much. Even Objective-C is better (not to mention faster). And I truly believe that Apple nailed the mobile app paradigm with their very restricted (but surprisingly functional) version of "multitasking" and push notifications.

    The only reason I've stuck with Android for so long (other than curiosity) has been the fact that my cell provider (T-Mobile USA) uses incompatible 3G frequencies, so even an unlocked iPhone won't help with speed. But I've had enough of the Android lameness...better functional EDGE than buggy "4G" --- my unlocked iPhone 4 is on its way.

    Sure, Google (and the various non-Apple manufacturers) will flood/are flooing the market with junky (and not so junky, from a hardware perspective) devices...I remain unimpressed. I think that, as soon as Verizon (and the other cellcos) provide iPhone service, you'll see a massive switch over. We'll know soon enough.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Of course

      With 100 times (made up number, but probably the right OoM) as many developers working on Android than iOS, I expect most problems to go away after a couple of years maximum - just look at the improvements just over the last year. We are considering the future here, not the state of play right now (which I don't think is quite as bad as you make out)

      1. Mark 65

        RE:James Hughes

        Maybe, maybe not. As the various Linux distros have shown, without having a dedicated team working on look, feel, standardisation and usability of the UI you can end up with some real shit. I like Linux and Ubuntu is definitely getting there but it has shown that open source software needs real leadership and direction. Outside of starting it off and getting their hooks into your data I'm not so sure Google gives a toss, which then leaves the handset manufacturers and networks that can only think of themselves. I know there's some club/group/committee or whatever that deals with Android but that's probably not enough.

        The advantage that I'm afraid Apple has is that they know shiny touchy feely hardware and UI sells (whether it's great or not is your own opinion) and because they control the lot it's why they're ahead.

        Now that doesn't mean I'm advocating that Android won't get market share as choice and cost will sort that out but I don't believe number of developers means much either - just look at windows.

        They both need to do some innovation in the app stores though - too much shite to sift through in both.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Android will win this battle too.

          "They both need to do some innovation in the app stores though - too much shite to sift through in both."

          Android, being the open beast it is, will allow anyone to open their own app store. Frankly i'm amazed its taken this long for someone to open one. When Amazons app store opens they promise weeks of vetting to ensure apps work and are of sufficient quality, more like a 'premium app store'. If you don't like being limited, you can always use the wild jungle that is Googles store.

          It's all about choice, see, it's ultimately why I went Android. So many people with iPhones, all exactly the same, same interface, same colour, same ringtones, unable to change any of it, dull. No wonder the iPhone 4 sold so well to current owners, at least it was 'slightly' different.

      2. Chris Parsons

        Why do I need a title to reply?

        It baffles me why anyone other than the completely brainwashed could find anything in your post to down vote!


      The real commies are at Apple...

      > Have you ever used an Android phone? I've had

      > three (starting with the G1, to the Vibrant, to the

      > MyTouch 4G); while the hardware improved

      > dramatically, the software has always been

      > awful -- inconsistent, slow, buggy, crash-prone,

      > and generally crippled


      I have a shell script on my iPhone. Yes, that's right. I said SHELL SCRIPT.

      I have s shell script on my iPhone to deal with the fact that Apple doesn't take power users very seriously. I have that shell script to make up for the fact that Apple failed to take certain pretty basic use cases in consideration for their phone. This is stuff that some cheap Nokia non-smartphone from 2001 would address.

      It might be fine for some housewife.

      For anyone that uses their phone for anything work related, not so much.

      Apple is like communism. It has this benign reputation among bleeding heart liberals and the reputation for "taking care of people". Infact, it tends to get wrong more than it gets right due to careless and incompetent centralized management. Ultimately you end up needing to "fend for yourself" more than with a free market where no one is "taking care of you".

      The free market avoids the pitfalls of centralized management and makes it far more likely that your particular needs will be addressed by someone.

      Thus many power users view Apple products in general as some sort of joke.

      1. A. Nervosa


        Jesus mate...

        You actually "work" on your mobile phone? Do you work in SMS telemarketing or something? Or is your company just too tight to give you a laptop?

        Just listen to yourself.

      2. nation of stupid



        "It might be fine for some housewife."

        "Thus many power users view Apple products in general as some sort of joke."

        Considering the handful of 'power users' that want to run shell scripts on an iPhone (why!?!) against the many millions of iPhone owning housewives, to misquote you:

        Thus Apple view 'power users' in general as some sort of joke.

        If it's that much of a problem for you to do what you want on an iPhone, why aren't you using an android phone then? You might consider running a shell script on a phone a "pretty basic use case" but more than 99.9% of the world think it's irrelevant.

        Most of the world right now think "basic use cases" for a smartphone is to be able to make calls, send texts and MMS, check Facebook and play Angry Birds.

    3. Arctic fox

      @akr re. "Oh please"

      Let me see if I understand this, you bought not 1, not 2 but 3 Android phones that you say were total crap. I regret that I am almost forced to paraphrase an expression that our compadres across the pond are fond of. Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, THREE times makes you a....D'''head - if they actually were that bad....hmmm? I must obviously tell my good lady to throw her "rubbish" Desire in the bin now that I have read your words of wisdom.

      1. aktr

        Re: "Oh please..."

        Unless, of course, I happen to get these Android phones for which case, it wouldn't quite make me a D"head (at least, not for that reason).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re Oh, please

      Sound points, well made.

      With regard to

      <<< I think that, as soon as Verizon (and the other cellcos) provide iPhone service, you'll see a massive switch over.>>>

      You may well be correct but as with the Mac, I doubt Apple care greatly about market share as such. They will be laughing all the way to the bank. The Mac may have less than 10% market share, but look at Apple's profitability (and in the market segment for computers over $1k they have over 90% share). Most people just want something that works, full stop, no qualifications and as long as Apple keep delivering that, they'll keep selling the stuff in droves.

    5. streaky


      Wow OP, you made some really poor choices in your phone buying decisions.

  4. The Brave Sir Robin
    Jobs Horns

    I think you read too much into it

    Nearly every end user I know who bought an Android phone (including me) did so due to price.

    Apple are taking the proverbial with its pricing. Let me see: I can pay £30pcm for a 2 yr iPhone contract along with another £200 for the phone or £25pcm for a 2 yr contract along with an HTC Desire for free along with all its advantages such as flash, memory cards, replaceable battery etc. The phone may not be as easy to use as an iPhone but it's not that much harder.

    To me, and a lot of people, that's a no-brainer.

    1. Octopoid

      And not just that

      It makes me laugh when I see articles such as this, carefully pouring over percentage market shares to 2 decimal places.

      The simple fact is, 90% or more of mobile phone sales are made due to the price, the network, the tariff, or the handset. Most people aren't even aware that phones have different OS's - try it. Pick a normal person, and ask them what OS their phone is running. At best, you might get "Samsung" or "Vodaphone". (Admittedly, quite a few people do know that the iPhone is "somehow different" these days, but you're very unlikely to get Android or Windows Mobile as an answer)

      All statistics are a bit faily, but these particular ones are almost completely random.

      1. raivn


        I disagree. My mother knows nothing about operating systems or computers, yet the most important thing she wanted in her new phone was 'the latest android'. That's what she asked for at the shop, and that's what she bought.

    2. Marky W

      Nice margin, Steve

      Buy an iPhone and you're buying much more than a phone, you're buying into the whole Apple mindset of perceived superiority, ease of use, and supposed coolness. People pay for that and will continue to do so. Just because the readers and commentards here are savvy enough to make a more informed choice does not mean that the general public are.

      Yup, you save money with an Android, but then the manufacturers' margins are wafer thin. Steve will be happy with 20% of the market if he's making $100 a phone when Samsung is making $10 a phone (I have no idea of the actual values, but you get my drift).

      (btw, I'm an enforced BB owner through work, and f*cking hate it. Most counter-intuitive and frustrating interface evar. And no Angry Birds.)

      1. TheOneAndOnly27

        Android stuff

        Marky W said: (btw, I'm an enforced BB owner through work, and f*cking hate it. Most counter-intuitive and frustrating interface evar. And no Angry Birds.)


        That's a lie, there is a Blackberry version of angry birds...


        1] Fire red bird low

        2] Fire red bird high


        2 selected.

        You Missed!


        1] Fire yellow bird low

        2] Fire yellow bird high

        1 selected.

        You hit a glass tower. 50 points.

    3. ThomH

      Completely agree

      "The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is the robust developer adoption Android has engendered." has to be one of the worst pieces of analysis ever published by El Reg. Android phones tick more feature boxes and come at a lower cost. That's the end of it.

      1. Cameron Colley

        I have to agree it's mainly price.

        Of all the people I know who bought phones recently a few bought iPhones because they wanted one, a couple being rabid Apple fans, the rest bought on price and features -- I know a couple of people who bought HTCs because the iPone was too expensive.

        @Marky W: But non-techie buyers don't know they're buying into "The Apple Way" and a lot of techies don't want to do that -- so I don't think that affects the figures much either way.

      2. Ammaross Danan


        Definately agree with the features thing. Granted, there's many of add-ons for the iPhone, such as every iCrap device/speaker-set out there, but when you have to tote around special connectors and devices because your phone doesn't have a microUSB (almost universal nowadays) or be screwed due to not having a microSD card slot to store more 8MP pictures (oh yeah, the iPhone still doesn't have that....) then the obvious choice for a non-drool-on-self consumer is an Android device.

  5. thecakeis(not)alie

    May I be the first fandroid to say...

    ...come on Microsoft! Let's see Windows Phone 7 R2 in 2011, with added basic functionality! The more horses in this race, the better all platforms become. QNX is looking to be a nice OS base for RIM, and HP has been quietly trundling away on WebOS. MeeGo looks awesome (if only there were devices...) and then there are iOS and Android.

    I want to see a knock-down, drag-out fist-o-rama between these platforms. Not in the courtroom (screw you Apple and Oracle!) but where it actually counts for consumers: in INNOVATION. None of this patent/copyright crap. I want some balls-to-the-wall bloodthirsty best-innovator-gets-the-solid-gold-kewpie-doll INOVATION. I mean, come on guys…MICROSOFT has done the most innovative thing in Smartphones in the past two years. (I may not like the UI much, but Windows Phone 7 sure is a whole new way to approach the concept.) Really? We’re letting MICROSFT of all companies set the pace?

    Innovation driven by massive competition. It’s the only way. BRING IT ON I say.

    After all, it will only make my next phone even better.

    Sent from my HTC Desire.

  6. yosemite

    Amen to that...

    I have an Orange San Francisco (ZTE Blade) bought for just £99 which I unlocked to run on my provider and then modded Android up to 2.2 Froyo, all for free. Can you do that on an iPhone? I don't think so and it costs 4 times as much!!

    1. Octopoid


      Yes, or the equavalant of.

      You can buy a new unlocked iPhone from anywhere you like, and update it to the most recent OS for free.

      There are many points for and against many mobile phone platforms, but this isn't one of them.

    2. Justin Clements


      Strangely enough a friend also bought an Orange SF a few days ago, and has been busy putting 2.2 on it.

      It worked for a time, but then he discovered some horrible bugs with it. He's on his third 2.2 version but stability is getting progressively worse.

      So he's back on 2.1 until the device manufacturer releases the drivers or firmware or whatever it needs for an official 2.2.

    3. Joe Harrison

      So true

      After many years with various Nokia candybars I finally "needed" a shiny smartphone like all my friends. The Orange San Francisco (£99 pay-as-you-go from Argos) fills the bill nicely and I do like this Android thingy. I'm not a fanboi though and willing to try an Apple equivalent if anyone can recommend one. (Must be under 100 quid no SIM latch and no contract kthx)

    4. nation of stupid


      So as an iPhone can be upgraded to the current OS version s well, so the only reason you've given for buying the San Fran is that it's cheaper, and whatever open source advocates may think, that's the number one reason Android phones are selling, and it's exactly that reason why I got a Desire.

      If your options were paying £400 for an unlocked iPhone, or £400 for an unlocked Android phone, would you still go for the Android one.

  7. Ian Davies


    But this is Google kool-aid drinking BS of the first order. I'm so sick of watching people suckling from the "open" teat when comparing Google and <insert other tech company here, usually Apple>.

    Google isn't open. Google merely distributes for free what it needs to in order to get eyeballs on its search business, which most definitely is not free, open or transparent.

    Try asking Google to open-source its search algorithms.

    Try asking people who have been kicked off the AdWords programme and had their income confiscated without any discussion or chance of recourse.

    Do get back to me when you've got your precious "open" company to actually be open, and you truly understand what "open" means.

    Apple has many faults but at least they are honest about what type of company they are.

    1. James Hughes 1


      Of course Google isn't open - its a company, and needs to make money. And one way it wants to make money is to give Android away for free. What's wrong with that? Why should it give away its propriety search secrets? No-one has said Google were open, what they have said is that Android is open - that is, one product from Google, not the whole sodding company.

      Google haven't ( AFAIK) said otherwise, or been dishonest with regard to openness in this area, certainly no more so than Apple.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        @ James Hughes 1

        As I scrolled engrossed through the original post taking in every word, your delicately chosen title rolled majestically into view with fortuitous yet unparalleled comedy timing.

        You, my friend are the first person to make me smile since I came back to work. And for that? I thank you...

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Apple lowers the bar

        There are varying levels of openness.

        One level of openness allows you to rebuild your apps to suit you when the developers don't care.

        Another simply allows you to have control of the device and your data and use whatever apps suit your fancy.

        Apple has created a new standard in "closed" for general purpose devices. An Android doesn't have to be as open as FreeBSD in order to be more open than an iPhone. Apple lowers the bar.

        So an Archos seems like the bee's knees because it seems more like a PC with open access to files and better format support.

      3. Captain Obvious


        "And one way it wants to make money is to give Android away for free. What's wrong with that?"

        Wow - didn't someone say the same about MS and Internet Explorer?

    2. spencer

      Bit of a strawman argument here...

      Google isn't open, don't think the article says that Google is an open company, and the register points this out quite regularly how not very 'open' google is.

      However, android (which is what we are talking about) *is* mostly open source software. Which you can hack, chop and change as you (or to be honest, other, more smarter people with lots of free time on xda) see fit.

      1. nation of stupid


        "However, android (which is what we are talking about) *is* mostly open source software. Which you can hack, chop and change as you (or to be honest, other, more smarter people with lots of free time on xda) see fit."

        So, for 99% of the users at large Android is just as closed as Apple then.

        I would like to basic editing (just trimming) to my videos, with an iPhone there's a selection of apps to choose from. With Android there's nothing, except it's open source so I can download the SDK and build my own video editing app for my phone, after I've learned how to program in Java. Yep, really open for the general public at large.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          I pity the foo' that demands a title for every reply

          <<< I would like to basic editing (just trimming) to my videos, with an iPhone there's a selection of apps to choose from. With Android there's nothing, except it's open source so I can download the SDK and build my own video editing app for my phone, after I've learned how to program in Java. Yep, really open for the general public at large.


          How is this an argument that it's not open? Lets try using finger puppets, Finger Puppet A (or FPA) and Finger Puppet B (or FPB).

          FPA says you can create whatever you want, as long as it's what FPA says you can create; oh and you must create it before FPA says it's ok to be used. Also, FPA reserves the right to delete your hard work whenever they want even if you were approved, for whatever reason FPA decides, including you not being cool enough. You will also need to pay FPA for a special kit prior to any creative process.

          FPB on the other hand says; create what you want. Release it, give it to friends. For a small fee, add it to the market and generate income from ads if you so choose (or make it free - whatever). There's even a FREE autocreation tool that does all the basics without any code. You don't need to know any languages to create your own app on the device.

          Guess who's Apple, and who's Android?

          <<So, for 99% of the users at large Android is just as closed as Apple then


          I guess, if you want to take the elitist view and don't understand the difference of CONTROL FREAK vs OPEN PLATFORM. But hey, at least you have a lord and dictator to tell you what you like when you go Apple huh?

  8. M man


    Although win7 isn't even gonna get in to this fight on phones,it would be interesting if Ms made a courier version.

    And really I think apple are happy that the proles arent buying their devices. They don't want to do a Burberry

  9. F1reman


    Here is an interesting interview with a developer who has been "successful" on multiple mobile platforms:

  10. Steve 149

    So what

    I don't see as this is a big issue, you pay your money and make your choice. Similar thing to the PC verses MAC debate.

  11. James Hughes 1

    I agree

    Only think I would add is that although the Android 'experience' for end users is not as good as Apple's, it can (and will) improve, whereas Apple, since its already pretty good, cannot go as far, (unless they think up something truly revolutionary). So, Android will catch up to the point where the only differentiation point is the Apple name.

    1. dave 93

      "unless they think up something truly revolutionary"

      like the iPhone, or the iPad perhaps?

      Apple has the advantage of being able to add any hardware or software feature they can imagine, in secret. Just because we haven't thought of it yet, doesn't mean it doesn't exist ;-)

    2. pan2008

      why wait?

      Just buy a Windows Phone 7!! which can cost as little as 25 per month.

  12. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Bit biased against iOS, I guess being a bit of an open source advocate doesn't come into it?

    Anyone who has existing OSX cocoa development skills will be well at home developing iOS applications. Anyone that isn't should buy a book on it.

    XCode is a good IDE, what do you (optionally?) use for Android? oh yes, the wonderful Eclipse, possibly one of the buggiest IDEs ever (I use it every day).

    Android development has none of the advantages of open source development! You can't just code in QT or GTK, you can't just bring in Linux libraries. You have to use the 'pseudo Java' and use some sort of native library if you want to call native things. If it was standard Java it might at least provide some familiarity to Java developers.

    All platforms are unfamiliar to developers used to Symbian, Linux or Win32, Android is a weird mash of Java, iOS is Objective C and Windows Phone 7 is XNA, Sliverlight or .NET compact.

    At least the APIs and programming style of Windows Phone 7 and iOS are based upon desktop software. .NET Framework compact is a cut down version of .NET and iOS uses quite a lot of the APIs for OSX, CoreAudio and so on.

    1. spencer

      don't think so..

      "Anyone who has existing OSX cocoa development skills will be well at home developing iOS applications. Anyone that isn't should buy a book on it."

      Or buy a book on Android and get access to a higher percentage of potential customers, with even more potential customers in the future.

      I think they chose a subset of Java because lots of people are familiar with it. Seems to have paid off.

      1. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD


        I still wish to god they hadn't... but it's there and I have to deal with it.

        Have an android phone because it was way cheaper and devoid of Apple-badness (and unfortunately quite a bit Apple-goodness too)



        Until Steve decides to play nice I ain't getting an iphone so there.

    2. Gulfie
      Thumb Up

      And don't forget...

      "Anyone who has existing OSX cocoa development skills will be well at home developing iOS applications. Anyone that isn't should buy a book on it."

      And a Mac, for the large percentage of people who don't already own one. If Mac market share worldwide is 6%, what % of developers have "has existing OSX cocoa development skills"?

      From an app developer's perspective Android will generally be an easier choice as a first platform:

      1. Most developers don't own a Mac.

      2. Most developers don't know Objective C.

      3. Getting on for half of all serious developers have already worked with Java.

      4. The learning curve for a competent Java developer is pretty flat.

      5. Google charge a low one-off fee for the App Store.

      6. No approval/rejection process and therefore lower risk of a wasted investment.

      7. Cheaper hardware -> wider adoption

      Yes there is fragmentation. That sucks. Google should change the terms on which manufacturers can say their device runs android:

      1. Their OS implementation should pass a Google-provided TCK that verifies (a) all the documented interfaces are present and (b) they behave in a fashion dictated by Google - this solves many of the multiple platform issues

      2. They must distribute the Google App Store pre-installed.


      insist that the App Store is installed on every piece of hardware that says it runs on Android, and insist that

  13. Rich Large

    Pretty simple

    Wow, that seems to have drawn a lot of Android bashing. Anyway, looking at it from the standard consumer point of view:

    Android has plenty of shiny, touchscreen phones. Everyone wants a shiny touchscreen phone. Android phones are generally cheaper. Everyone likes cheaper. Android does pretty much all the same functions, in a similar way, and has all the pretty apps. So, people are buying Android.

  14. Chris 3

    Let's just fix that, shall we...

    "The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is the robust developer adoption Android has engendered. "

    Hmmm. Or, alternatively...

    ""The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is that Android phones are, on average much cheaper than iPhones."

    See, we can both make unsupported assertions.

  15. konstructa

    I hope

    If Apple was just a little bit more dynamic it could have stopped this explosion. The developer agreement it released this summer, which is now altered a little bit, really started pushing people/developers toward Android. Apple still has the best overall experience but at what cost? I would have to buy Mac to developed, only use ITunes’s, switch to At&T and forget about using Adobe Air to build cross platform applications. It's a great phone but they went too far and now I know many people who deal with Androids "ruff" edges just to be out of the IOS ecosystem. If one of the carriers adapts Android so it uses hardware acceleration while browsing and scrolling desktops it would kill the only advantage the Iphone has over android. It’s just a matter of time. Whatever IOS is still really good and Apple has time to change so let’s see what happens.

  16. Ben 50

    Is that supposed to be an analysis?

    1) Apple aim to be, and to stay, an exclusive brand - so they can consistently charge a higher price.

    They do not want the mass market. They value the sanity of profit above the vanity of turnover.

    2) PhoneGap / AppCelerator / Flex , heard of those? Unless you need to eek out every last drop from the hardward on a specific platform, use them. Develop once, run on all of them. For the vast majority of applications, developers don't need to choose which platform to develop for. Things have moved on.

    1. whats the point of kenny lynch?

      "They do not want the mass market."

      apple now sell their products in tesco and argos, they advertise on itv! - they didn't 10 years ago - you still think they don't want the mass market?

      of course they do, they just want to offer nice looking products and charge a premium price.

      i've been a mac user for years but am now enjoying an advent vega tablet running android for £249 and i can expand it and put on what i want - the ipad is simply overpriced, as are all mac models. £599 for a mac mini is a fooking disgrace.

      apple are simply up to their old tricks again and will lose out in the long run to cheaper products that do an okay job....

      1. Ivan Headache

        Re: "They do not want the mass market"

        Just a couple of points. Tesco did sell Apple products (for a short while). I was an Apple Demonstrator in Tesco when the iMac first came out. I have a recollection that the Performa range of Macs was available in Argos but I'm not sure.

        On the phone front. I think the iPhone is already mass market. I base my claim on observation while I'm out and about.

        Yesterday I got on a train at Queens Park. It wasn't very busy. Sitting opposite me was a family with 2 children and a lady with some suitcases. The father was playing a game on an iphone 4, the mother was texting someone on an iPhone 3, the lady with the luggage was chatting to someone on an iPhone 4. In my pocket playing my music - an iPhone 4.

        I couldn't see any other phones being used. Therefore in that littler miscrocosm of society the iPhone was the market leader. Try that excercise on a tube train and you should see that the most of the phones you will actually see are either iPhones or Blackberries (the kids all appear to into bbs now)

        I agree with some of the points made earlier - most phones in the UK are bought on price/deal/network, but nevertheless, I see more iPhones than Galaxies or HTCs or Nokias on my daily travels.

        1. Ian Yates


          I've noticed a definite shift towards Galaxy S or Desire among the technically illiterate (my sister, for one).

          It is interesting to see the teens moving to BBs, though. I use one for work and the only reason I can think to have one personally would be if I was texting A LOT. Is this because of BBM, or just that BBs are cheaper than iPhones?

          The (non-technical) people I know with Android have it because it was the best offer on their network of choice.

  17. It wasnt me
    Thumb Down

    What a crap article.

    This guy just wants an excuse to predict apples demise, but the only piece of evidence he offers shows apples sales flat and androids success coming at the expense of blackberries falling sales. RIM arent even mentioned.

    Disclaimer: I am not an apple fan, I have an HTC touch HD running windows mobile 6, for my sins.

    1. Michael C


      BS data.

      Apple's sales are flat due to a combination of component shortages and postponed releases in many nations, while android added more than 30 additional carriers in the same time-frame.

      Compare Android sales within comparable markets, and the tale is different. yes, the combines android activations for VZW, Sprint, T-mobile, AT&T, and others in the US combined does exceed the 5.6 million new iPhones AT&T activated in Q3, but AT&T activated more iPhones alone that total VZW smartphones of all brands, and most of those were sold under BoGo offers, and some were outright free. AT&T signed 2.4m new subscribers to verizon's 900K, and verizon has near half again the customer churn of AT&T.

      yes, if you compare what 290m people have access to on one side, with what 60m people have access to on the other, obviously the larger distributed system wins out. If switching carriers was painless and free, and contracts didn't exist, VZW would have lost a hell of a lot more than 1.7% of their customers last quarter. As soon as a VZW and T-mobile iPhone hits the streets, and with WP7's gains almost exclusively at google's loss, Android can only go down hill.

      It won;t go away, no, it will always have a good 20% total share, nothing to shake a stick at (unless Sun kills it outright with their court case against Google), but it can not hold the rains so long as the iOS platform continues to improve. If AirPlay devices take off at CES, and having an apple device turns into easier streaming than WHDI and DLNA combined (predicted), and as more providers join the iTunes TV game, and as content providers continue to block google TV, it will quickly become less about simply having a phone, and more about having a PLATFORM. Googl is not yet a platform... far from it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Web

    The author kinda missed their own point here. They mentioned how the open web is the best platform to deliver quality apps (webapps) but then continued that Android will be the development platform, as in the Android SDK.

    2011 is going to be the year of the mobile web, with more developers torn between iOS and Android, webapps will emerge as the app of choice.

  19. Sapere Aude!
    Thumb Down

    Google is the new Open - or is it not?

    Android is Open - even so open that preferred hardware partners have a new os version before others...

    Smartphone growth rate in the US - lets revisit this chart in three months time after the iPhone has been available on Verizon for a few weeks....

  20. Sil_W

    Wakes and Memes

    "but its lead is rapidly vanishing in Android's wake."

    Can something's lead over something else vanish in the wake of the something else? If the something leads the something else, then the something is ahead of the something else, and thus it's the something else that's experiencing the wake of the something.

    Think more maritime, man.

    "If you're into memes,"

    I'm not sure. I don't even know what one is. First I thought it was something Richard Dawkins had invented. Then someone told me that it was one of those silly questionnaires you get sent in emails sometimes. Then I decided it was probably a lolcat.

    I like lolcats.

    As for the rest of the article, it still didn't tell me which out of Apple and Google is the least evil.

  21. stu 4


    "The biggest reason for this consumer adoption is the robust developer adoption Android has engendered. James Gregory, co-founder of application developer Whereoscope, talks about the shift from iOS thinking to Android thinking:"

    proof ? sounds a load of mince to me. Most consumers wouldn't have a clue about any of this.

    If you ask me - one of the main reasons is quite simple - price.

    Ford sell a hell of a lot more cars than Porsche (note - making no claim that iphone is the 'porsche of mobile phones quality wise - just price wise).

    So your article would conclude that Ford sell a hell of a lot more cars than porsche because ford embody bla bla and xyz...when it would clearly be price price price.

    unlike the car industry - there are really only 2 viable smartphone choices at the moment - looking for a complex differentiator when the obvious one is staring you in the face seems quite perverse.

    In your article

  22. Tigra 07
    Jobs Horns

    All is lost

    "Google's open web approach is a winning strategy. So is Apple's soup-to-nuts shiny-but-closed model."


    While apple still creates a slightly more upgraded phone every year at an upgraded cost, the current androids already have better features, a comparable amount of apps, tethering and have a giant advantage in how simple to use they are.

    People can see that they can pay as little as £200 for an android and get everything an iphone can do.

    Does everyone want the same phone? No

    Does everyone like apple and itunes? No

    Do people like someone telling them what they can and can't do with their phone and what sites they can use? Clearly not

    Apple lost this as soon as they had a competitor with a good price tag

    1. Anthony Shortland


      More like £110 now and coming down all the time!

      £110 pay as you go with something like an O2 sim that gives free texts and 500mb downloads if you top up £10 a month all with the same (if not better) functionality to an iphone (although maybe not so slick).

      compared to the cost of an iphone.

      Oh and the alarms on android phones are a bit more reliable as well :)

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Android's even more prevalent is Europe,

    I noticed how many Android devices were on the table in the canteen yesterday. I counted 20 from what I could tell (mainly HTC and Sony Ericsson), and just 2 iPhones.

    Of course this is a company full of engineers, not a company full of advertising men, so that may be the clincher.

  24. MGJ


    So greater Android adoption has nothing to do with price of handset then?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Ballmer was right...

    Its all about Developers Developers Developers. I hope Android wins, and my gut feeling is it will. I know here (in this large company) there is a lot of people developing for Android in their spare time, for fun but also with the added benefit of making a little extra cash. Its simple and attractive and sooner or later people will start hitting "killer apps" that make Android more and more popular.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I think if Android "wins" or iOS or WinMob or anything else for that matter "wins" we all lose.

      This isn't some sporting contest, this impacts our choice, privacy and any number of other personal freedoms.

      I have to say, I'd love to see a three, four or five way competitive market, so I can continue choose a walled garden at the expense of freedoms or freedoms at the expense of privacy and user experience. That's MY choice to make right now.

      Choice is good, lack of it is bad (think IE6 monopoly having crushed all competition). Let's not wish anyone one camp to win this one. And equally let's not pretend that any camp regardless of it's public protestations cares about anything beyond cash in the bank.


    2. Michael C


      They're gaining devs, but iOS isn't exactly loosing any. they're gaining marketshare, but only because they directly compete in barely half the markets worldwide (and only 40% of the US). A CDMA iPhione, combined with a heavily subsidized push with carriers by M$ and WP7 could shove android back into the 20% range within 6 months. A few more rounds of disenfranchized customers due to being left behind (for the third time), on the OS, and they'll be ready to jump ship fast to almost anything else.

      personally, I love android, love the power, love the freedom. I'm no fan of the interface itself, and it has numerous bugs and a hefty virus risk looming (and multiple circulating viruses as we speak). It also can not obtain STIG certification for use by government or private business using secured data, so it can never win that market. Geeks like us WANT android and want it to win, but the reality is the 90% of the general public is either confused or disenfranchized by the platform, has little need for it, and only has it because they asked for a smartphone and VZW said "android, android, android" and shoved one in their hands. When M$'s money convinces carriers to chant "WP7" instead of android, and when people who want iOS can actually get it, android will return to the niche it should have never left.

  26. LPF


    So someone with a vested interest in selling tools for android development says that we should invest in developing for android?

    Developers will go where they can make money and that is the single biggest determining factor.

    Windows has the biggest operating system share yet people still make a ton of money developing for Apple!

  27. Paul 172
    Thumb Down

    Relevant title

    "Why OK? Because Android makes it easy to run code on one's phone (to facilitate development), offers helpful hints through extensive documentation, has a super-easy release process, and more."

    It is ridiculously easy to run code on iPhone when developing, the documentation is great also. I suspect the author it writing without all the right information.

    1. Sean O'Connor 1
      Thumb Up


      Yes, as an iPhone developer I agree with Paul172. To run my code on an actual device I plug it in and select the Device option instead of Simulator and click "Build and Debug". Not sure how it could be simpler! There are some excellent books on iPhone programming from Apress (I've bought them all). And releasing a product is pretty trivial too. I've not tried Android programming so I was interested in seeing reasons why it's easier than iOS but not impressed by that list.

      For us developers it's a simple question of what the total spend of users is on each platform. Android users just don't seem to buy stuff. I don't care how many devices there are - when Google can show that total user spend on Android is approaching that of iOS I'll pay attention.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      > the documentation is great also.

      Yes, the Apple documentation is certainly better than the Android stuff (though both are sufficient); I'm not sure where Matt got his contrary view from.

  28. An ominous cow herd

    Wishfull thinking?

    Hey, I love Android and never wanted an iThingy, but this kind of talk always sounds a bit like truthiness, the "news of my death are greatly exaggerated" kind...

    There is market for both platforms, and fanbois will be fanbois, no matter what.



    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Hear, hear

      ..and it should be said the droidbois are equally as fanatical as the fanbois; witness the upvoting/downvoting trends on this thread alone.

      I was going to post something inciteful myself, but seeing the voting trends here, I don't think I'll bother now. I know it'll be wasted.

      1. TuckerJJ

        Inciteful or Insightful?

        If you intend to post something inciteful than you should expect downvotes!

  29. dave 93

    You get what you pay for

    Although you only mention it once, it is the zero-cost of Android that is behind it's success. Android is riding a wave of me-too activity by device manufacturers following the success of the iPhone (remember the iPhone is pure software, as all the hardware was available prior to it's release).

    Apple has always had the advantage, and the pain, of developing the hardware and the software to play nice together, and the mobile space magnifies this advantage. The unified UI and and platform compatibility makes like easy for users *and* developers too.

    I expect Google to get a lot more control-freaky in their management of Android/Chrome as they try to optimise/standardise the user/developer experience, and the emerging mobile hardware reference spec has the potential to help Microsoft catch up, but Apple will always be able to Wow users with innovative ideas because they control the platform and keep R&D secret (by paying for it!). Being first is nearly always better, but usually more expensive - Apple gambles, and wins - Google make a certain bet, and can't lose.

    Add in the fact that iOS apps keep their activity/data away from Google's money maker and it is definitely Game On - faster, cheaper and better gadgets for us all. Right now, Apple's are better, and Google's aren't cheap enough.

    Happy New Year

  30. Ed Courtenay

    Rambling Observations

    Interesting; the pattern I've seen here at work is that (largely, but not exclusively) up to about a year ago those with large amounts of disposable income (the higher paid analysts and managers with no kids) went for iPhones while most others stayed with the phones that they had - a smattering had Blackberry devices, but overwhelmingly most people had Sony Ericsson or Nokia candybars.

    Over the past year though, there has been an explosion of Android devices at my workplace; I was an early adopter with the HTC Magic, and was initially worried that I'd purchased my way into an evolutionary cul-de-sac as I didn't see anyone else buying into Android at that stage. Nowadays though, practically every new phone that I see one of my colleagues with is an Android (your workplace may well vary - just for reference I work in the IT department for a large retailer in the UK) - so much so that it has become unusual to see anyone sporting a new iPhone.

    For the record, I own both an HTC Legend and a 32Gb iPod Touch, and I'm definitely not ready to get rid of the iPod, but unless Apple manage to pull something extraordinary out of the bag in the next 12 months given the speed with with the Android ecosystem has been improving, their market share is going to take a severe beating.

    I could well be wrong, but I'd expect that the iPod / iPhone / iPad will remain popular as premium status symbols whereas the vast majority of the general public will migrate to Android (or any other competing platform that has a decent experience - it's possible that the new Windows devices might get a head of steam behind them, but I suspect that it's too little too late for that platform).

    Just my £0.02

  31. Rupert Stubbs

    Not exactly impartial...

    Given that the author is part of a company helping to make open source mobile apps.

    I don't disagree that Android will carry on growing - it's effectively free for phone and other device manfacturers, so why wouldn't they use it? And it's true that Apple has done nothing explicitly to counter that growth - though what that could be is not obvious.

    However - despite links to dodgy surveys - there's no evidence of a huge gold rush towards Android development. The ground-breaking, news-making (and profit-making) apps are pretty much all starting off in iOS.

    Angry Birds is an interesting case - making lots of direct sales in iOS, but starting to make significant money as an ad-supported Android app. This may be the direction that it goes - Android = Advertising-led, downmarket; iOS = direct sales, upmarket. This looks like a win for Google, but a loss for most of the manufacturers as smartphones plummet towards the lowest common denominator.

    I predict paid Android apps moving to even lower price points that the 59p (99c) baseline to try and get volume, and in-app advertising to become even more intrusive. I also predict that Google will try and set up its own app store focusing on upmarket/well-designed apps in an attempt to stop Android looking too downmarket.

    1. Tigra 07
      Thumb Up

      RE: Rupert Stubbs

      I've got Angry Birds and Angry Birds Seasons FREE on Android =]

      Can't complain with that, it's brilliant

      1. nation of stupid

        @Tigra 07

        Advertising supported Angry Birds for "free" here as well, as long as I remember to turn off any data connection when I'm out an about so the ads don't eat into my data allowance (had the full screen movie promo video ads yet?) and so the ad doesn't blot out part of the game as it's hard to boomerang the green birds when they are hidden behind an advert. I guess the unobtrusive ad in the bottom corner didn't generate enough revenue.

        Still waiting for an ad free paid version, although I guess Rovio think the majority of Android users are happy to put up with the ads.

    2. Sil_W


      "...the author is part of a company helping to make open source mobile apps ... dodgy surveys ... no evidence of a huge gold rush towards Android development ... ground-breaking, news-making (and profit-making) apps are pretty much all starting off in iOS ... Android = Advertising-led, downmarket ... iOS = direct sales, upmarket ... lowest common denominator ... advertising to become even more intrusive ... Android looking too downmarket ..."

      Own an iPhone, do you? :-)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Apple needs to figure out ways to undermine Google"

    Not really. Apple probably recognises that it can't make the big profit margins that it tends to focus on by selling an Android-like device. So it'll be secretly developing the next big thing, which they will make lots of money from for a few years until it gets commoditised, like everything does, eventually, in a properly functioning market economy (without stupid patent laws and sometimes even with them).

    Of course, if they were to focus on "undermining" the competition then they really would be like Microsoft. Let's hope they keep on innovating instead.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So - RIM and "others" are losing at the expense of iOS and Android...

    I'm not sure this really tells us that much about iPhone vs Android - from the figures shown:

    RIM: 35.0% -> 19.2% (loss of 15.8%)

    iOS: 20.9% -> 26.9% (gain of 7%)

    Android: 27.5% -> 40.8% (gain of 13.3%)

    Other: 16.6% -> 13.1% (loss of 3.5%)

    It looks like RIM was the big loser and it's market share was split fairly evenly between iOS and Android. I assume the loss in "other" to primarily be Windows Mobile devices and as they were probably manufactured by a manufacturer that is now focussing on Android I would guess that would account for the remaining market share.

    As Android consists of a number of different vendors, I would still say iOS looks very healthy.

    It will be interesting to see HTC/Samsung/SonyEricsson/Motorola/LG revenue numbers to see how healthy the Andoid eco-system really is.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      Please can we distinguish ...

      ... between percentages and percentage points?

      RIM: 35.0% -> 19.2% (loss of 15.8 percentage points or 45.1%)

      iOS: 20.9% -> 26.9% (gain of 6 percentage points [not 7] or 28.7%)

      Android: 27.5% -> 40.8% (gain of 13.3 percentage points or 48.4%)

      Other: 16.6% -> 13.1% (loss of 3.5 percentage points or 21.1%)

      Same for VAT please: it is a 2.5 percentage POINT increase - it has gone up by 14.3% and represents a 2.1% increase in the price of goods with standard rate VAT.

      I'm pretty sure I'll have fallen foul of Muphry's law here somewhere, but I still think we should encourage the term percentage POINT

  34. Dave 142


    Android does so well because it's like an iPhone but cheaper. Being cheaper is what makes most people go for it as they don't give a damn about open vs closed phoney arguments.

  35. Erroneous Howard

    Re:So - RIM and "others" are losing at the expense of iOS and Android...

    "It looks like RIM was the big loser and it's market share was split fairly evenly between iOS and Android"

    Not really, when iOS ganed 7% and Android gained almost double that, not really "fairly evenly" - only if you liken it to me running a 100m against Usain Bolt and considering we'd be "fairly evenly matched"!

    Although I was going to say something similar as it's not really iOS losing in favour of Android as the article suggests, but rather it looks like RIM are the big losers during that time period. I'd like to see that graph continued a little further back as the jump in iOS sales is probably along with the release of the iPhone 4 and/or iPad (which makes sense) so I'd be interested to see what happened prior to June.

    I think the big factor in Android growth is simply the number of new devices from various manufacturers being released whereas of course only Apple make iPhones and iPads. So if you DON'T want an Apple device (but want a smartphone) then there are plenty of droid devices to choose from.

    To the person near the beginning of the comments who suggested all Android devices are buggy, I haven't experienced this problem with my company phone - no more than with any other smartphone I've owned anyway. Maybe not quite as aesthetically polished as iOS but I enjoy using it as much as my iPhone now. When I next replace my own phone unless the situation changes I'll probably end up basing my decision on cost so may well end up going for a Droid-based device as I can get better hardware for the same money.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to develop for iPhones

    But apparently I'd have to run OSX to do so, even something like Appcelerator to simultaneously develop iPhone and Android apps you... need iPhone SDK, which only runs on OSX.

    It's a shame, in reality. I'd like to develop the app for all... I'll be doing the Android one first. To me it just washes like an excuse to make companies buy Macs to develop.

    I've already got enough computers, I don't want another one just because Apple tells me I need it because they can't be arsed to write something properly.

  37. Dave Fox

    Competition is good

    I really wish people would stop with all the ridiculous fanboi nonsense!

    I've been using Android phones since the G1, and have a Samsung Galaxy Tab. I don't have an iPhone or an iPad, but I do have a Macbook Air, a Macbook, an iMac, and an iPod Touch, so I certainly don't hate or dislike Apple. I do however think that the iOS "sanitized" view of the world is not for me personally.

    Does the iPhone offer a more coherent and standard experience than Android? Yes it does - it's one of the many benefits of Apples walled garden approach to iOS. However, there are many benefits to the more open Android approach too, and essentially you pays your money and you makes your choice.

    One thing that you can be certain of is that a strong Android platform will make iOS better, and vice versa. Similarly, if MS WP7 can get some traction in the market, it will also improve both iOS and Android.

    I'd hate to see Android take the world by storm and crush all opposition it it's wake because that would just lead to a stagnating platform much like we saw with Symbian and WinMo, and waiting years for something bright, shiny, and new to come along to take it's place (i.e. iOS and Android).

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I've spent 2 years learning objective-c and developing 2 applications so I've got a bit of learning fatigue for a while.

    For that reason, I just can't be bothered to learn yet another langauge to develop on Android too (I've no doubt Andriod is excellent)

    I wonder whether many other iOS developers feel the same way?

  39. SolidSnake

    Android devices are cheaper

    and that's why they have bigger market share because more people afford to get them, that doesn't mean that Android users are willing to pay more...

    if you ask me as developer (despite Apple's "closed" approach) I would prefer developing applications for iPhone rather than Android (at least for the next couple of years) for better user experience, better development environment and more mature app store. unless android provide more polished experience.

    I found this interesting market comparison which reflect developers satisfactions:

    1. chr0m4t1c

      Possibly not just that

      These figures are for the US market only, where iPhone is exclusive to one carrier and not even the biggest one, which does rather limit it's potential market share somewhat.

      What will the author say if the predictions about a Verizon iPhone come true this year and the numbers switch around again?

      I haven't noticed developers abandoning the Xbox 360 and the PS3 for the Wii just because it has a 50% market share, the real world doesn't work like that. If it did it would be impossible to bring any new device to market because with 0% market share would also mean 0 developers.

      But as you say, RIM and "others" are the real losers here.

  40. AnonymousDareDevil

    Apps now are like sites during the .com bubble

    All this paranoia about apps in smart phones is just silly.

    Does anyone choose their phone based on the number of fart apps? Or on the number or quality of RSS readers, weather apps, note taking, recipes, etc, etc?

    The killer apps for smart phones are GPS, games, mail and web access. News and home banking/personal finance probably follows.

    And, like it should be obvious, all the known brands for this, the TomToms andAngrybirds, are the first ones to be interested in supporting the largest number of plattforms.

    The fight for the smart phone market will be about the handsets, the carriers, prices, prices, prices, and even fashion, but certainly not about developers.

  41. TuckerJJ

    "not nearly as professionalized"

    Surely "professional"? The English language getting a bit butcherized there...


    apple v android

    well its nice to see android picking up shares and doing well buy the sounds of it lets hope they dominate better than apple

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised by how poor Android is

    I've written a few iPhone apps and just about make a living from them now. I'm far from an Apple fan, though - my desktop computer runs Linux - and I despise the locked-down nature of the iPhone.

    So I decided to port one of my apps to Android to test the water. To do that, I spent about £1200 on hardware (you need one of each OpenGL implementation to test anything that runs 3D) and spent a few weeks porting the code. The result is currently an app that sells less than 10X fewer than the iPhone version, with exactly the same marketing and the same price. That's going to take a couple of years just to recoup the hardware costs.

    My conclusion is that perhaps, despite their impressive market share, Android phones are being bought by people who just want a phone, and people who want to do all the internet and app stuff are buying more iPhones.

    I have also been surprised by quite how poor much of the Android software experience has been. All they needed to do was to copy the good bits from the iPhone and improve on the bad bits, but somehow they've failed to do that and the result is really quite embarrassing in a lot of places. Most disappointing was the Motorola Defy, which I bought in the hope that I could actually use it as a personal phone; I ruined an iPhone by taking it out in the rain a couple of years ago, so this water-resistant phone was appealing. The Defy's hardware is nice, yet the software is really terrible, not least because of all the extra un-erasable junk they want to pile on it.

    Still, I have hope that with time they will produce something better.

  44. Stan Smith

    Not sure what you're smoking...

    Realize that this is a USA perspective.

    From a consumer standpoint, Android phones are just as locked down as iPhones - depending on the carrier. People keep touting open and free, and give examples such as tethering available on Android. But Sprint has locked down tethering on my phone; I can't use it without paying more. I can't PAY for Angry Birds on my Android phone - no, I have to use the stupid free but Ad supported version.

    Unfortunately, none of these phones are any better than their carrier. And while I like my Android phone, I can't wait for the day I can use an iPhone. It's just a much better user experience.

  45. Matt Hawkins

    Paid for doesn't mean better

    "Say what you like but I know through personal experience of a number of people who have decided against developing versions of their applications for Android because horror of horrors they want to be able to make return on their investment."

    Not going to be quite so easy when Android handsets out number the iPhone.

    If you are any good at writing apps you can sell on Market Place just as well as on the App Store.

    Some developers might be put off but no-one cares. There are plenty of good developers who will be developing for Android. I haven't bought any Android apps because the free ones are so good. Clearly that isn't the case for iPhone because iPhone developers appear to be raking it in.

    The handset adoption rates speak for themselves.

    1. Alan Wray


      "If you are any good at writing apps you can sell on Market Place just as well as on the App Store."

      What if you aren't an App developer?

      What if as I described you are a non-developer who wants to make his content available but would prefer that having created all the content he might actually get some money back for his efforts? As a prime example a friend spent money to pay for IPhone development and has made his money back. He investigated Android as he is keen to sell his content to as many people as possible.

      Upon investigation it became apparent that he would likely in fact end up paying for the right to have his content on there as he would have the developer overhead with next to no chance of getting the cash back from the store. Once again check out what people with successful apps on Android say about "Paid content". That's what he used as the basis of making his decision

      I fully expect Android handsets to outnumber Apple handsets given they are cheaper to buy. The ability of developers to make money from any eco-system is about the perceived value of the Apps they sell.

      As you say you haven't bought any Apps. If I decided to become a developer of mobile apps as a full time job I would certainly consider the willingness of people to pay on that platform.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Matt Hawkins

      "Not going to be quite so easy when Android handsets out number the iPhone."

      That makes no sense whatever. You appear to be suggesting that when Android handsets outnumber iPhones, iPhone users will stop buying apps.

      "I haven't bought any Android apps because the free ones are so good. Clearly that isn't the case for iPhone because iPhone developers appear to be raking it in."

      And that kills your argument doesn't it?

      As it happens the free apps on iOS are every bit as good as the paid-for apps - and in some cases they are better.

  46. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    Beware the false consensus, and mind that elephant behind the sofa...

    The reason you see so many Android handsets around you is that you work in technology, with lots of technology-minded people. It's very easy to project this onto the whole population, but it is an incorrect assumption. When Android breaks out of this market, the people using it won't know or care what OS it is, only about whose name is on the case.

    This is where Apple take the upper hand: they have an amazing brand – there's really only one other company that comes close in brand value in this sector, but in another example of false consensus, they weren't mentioned once in this article, probably because their products aren't carried on subsidy by US carriers, and our author mightn't look very far beyond his own circle for research.

    Windows Phone is mentioned once, but from recent anaylsis it would seem that Microsoft are not doing well: just one of our unknown company's recent smartphone models has comfortably outsold ALL Windows Phone models combined last quarter (4.0M versus <3.0 M). The current plethora of buy-one-get-one-free and penny-up-front deals on WInPhone7 handsets bears witness to the platform's success, or lack thereof.

    This mystery company also has the most friction-free way of buying applications I've ever seen. No need for a PC, no need to give your credit card details, and it works in 90% of the world's countries.

    Oh well...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The N company

      The mistery company which name starts with an N, besides having one of the worst app stores I've ever seen, also has a history of abandoning the users of their top of range phones. After the N95, they came with the N96, which after a firmware upgrade is no longer able to use GPS without rebooting spontaneously. It is impossible to roll back that "upgrade", and no further upgrades were done. Then they had the N97 and N97 mini debacles. Among all the problems with those two, suddenly they decided to remove a working facebook client, which had been part of the initial advertised software. They had a open source OS for a couple of their phones. The buyers of those are also abandoned now, as those of N96 ,N97 and all S^3 and previous phones, as the new open source offering isn't compatible with the old one, and N doesn't want to support anything but S^5 and MeeGo.

      Most people I know, tech and non-tech alike, thought that N had the best phones until the N96. Since then, they have abandoned Nokia. Some went to buy Apple, most have Android phones are are very happy with them. Your "mistery" company seems more like a iceberg kissed Titanic.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surely there is another big factor

    In that most people buying iPhones would have done so outside the "last 6 months" whereas Android, being the up and coming new fad will have attracted many more people, including those who want an iPhone but hate Apple as well as those who specifically wanted a decent Android phone and so waited for some good ones to be released?

    Bearing in mind that an iPhone typically comes with a 2-year contract and, IIRC the iPhone 3GS was released in summer 2009, 12 months before the study.

    The 4 was released during or just before the timeline in the study and would be included, but it seems feasible that a disproportionate number of iPhone buyers would have already bought a 3GS and be in a contract. At present it is not possible to establish what percentage of these will buy another iPhone when their contract lapses (as opposed to carrying on with their current phone or buying something different).

  48. Doug Glass


    Mobile phones do more than make and receive calls? Oh that's right ... the kiddie stuff.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Apple musings

    Whilst one has to give credit to Apple for effectively defining a new market (the finger operated smartphone) with a device which was good enough on day one to justify a lot of the hype that surrounded the iphone's release, enough time has passed now that the competition is up to speed and in many respects offers advantages in areas other than just price.

    If you've used HTC's sense UI, then the iphone 4 seems a little backward... stuck largely in the 'was once the best but now a little lacking' camp. You get more nice stuff for free with Android (e.g. Google Navigator), the market works just fine (and updates couldn't be easier) and, best of all, you don't have to use Itunes!

    The other thing which is odd, and which I presume will change in time, is that Apple only make one size of phone. Android is available on all sorts of handset sizes, and that alone must account for some of the market share difference. The iphone 4 is a little hard edged and slab-like for my pocket - a step backwards from its predecessor.

    As a developer, I've not started developing smart phone apps yet, but if I were going to start, I don't feel happy at the prospect of having to prove to Apple's censors that my app is worthy of their market.

    I was horrified by the tale of the guy who developed an app with in interesting new UI which apple then tried to patent, kicking his app off the store.

    And as a smartphone user, I don't like the idea of a company deciding what I should and should not see in the market.

    That said, I think Apple will continue to do well. Leaving their vast music business aside, even if their market share for smart phone sales flattens, the market size will continue to grow. The reality of the sometimes-great-sometimes-clunky apple experience will continue to be offset by huge publicity campaigns about 'betterness', and people who buy into the cult will continue to pay more for the same thing. And in the UK at least, Apple can rely on the state broadcaster (with its commanding control of the news agenda) to give vast gobs of prime-time advertising masquerading as 'news' if Steve Jobs utters so much as a fart on stage.

    I can live with that. And I'm glad Apple exists, because otherwise I'd still probably be having to use a phone with a stylus, or a desktop machine with oblong pixels. They're undoubtedly good for the quality of devices on offer, regardless of whether you buy their stuff.

  50. MineHandle

    Consumer Quality vs Market Share

    Disclaimer: I am not a mobile apps developer nor do I own a smartphone. That might diminish the value of my opinion, on the otherhand maybe that makes me truly impartial?

    Lots of talk here about Android winning market share due to price. But I am wondering what this means to app developers.

    If I was an apps developer would I:

    a) develop for the smaller market with wealthier consumers

    b) the larger market with lots of cheapskate consumers

    After all if Android is winning mainly on price, are these cost conscious consumers willing pay again to download a useful app? This is not something they will previously have been used to.

    I suppose it all depends whether you intend to profit though mobile apps as a service (eg Red Hat) or a commodity (eg Windows).

    1. Tigra 07
      Thumb Down

      RE: Minehandle

      I have a top of the range Android phone and have never paid for an app solely because the free ones can offer everything i need and generally have better user ratings.

      If your app is expensive compared to the competition and will crash, be buggy, or not have all the features i need, then why should i pay for it?

      Do we need to pay for Microsot Office with open office offering similar functionality?

      Antivirus when generally free models are better than Mcafee and Norton who charge?

      You need to realise that cost doesn't equal quality.

      It means someone trying to get their money back from customers, whether they did a good job or not

  51. AJO

    Remember the iPod Touch

    The article appears to completely forget about the iPod Touch. Yes, it's not a smartphone, but it's an iPhone in every respect other than the phone bit, and it sells shitloads. It really doesn't make a lot of sense to think about iOS while only considering 1/3rd of its products (and, probably, about 1/3rd of its sales). For developers, the presence of the Touch means a massive (and heavily app-buying) additional market, which Android has no competitor to – and for which the additional development cost and hassle is essentially nil.

    Android can consider itself winning when most of the best new apps and games appear there, and do so first. But that's still a very long way from happening at the moment for a number of reasons.

    In any case, given the size of the market is growing incredibly quickly, there's plenty of room for two platforms to co-exist, at least for now.

  52. SuccessCase

    At last a balanced article in the opinion of this Apple AND Android fanboy

    I think this article is actually pretty balanced and avoids the usual fanboy pitfall of arguing the detail. Ignoring fanboyism, the truth of the matter, that iOS offers a superior user experience versus Android which offers an open and therefore more feature rich and affordable platform, is pretty damned obvious to most in the industry but IMHO totally "unprovable" by logic and argument alone. One comment I have though is I do think many fail to acknowledge why Apple like to stick with what they know best. They probably simply don't want to compete by targeting greater installed base. That's what makes me an Apple fan. Outifts like Nielson often fail to understand that one of the motivations for Apple (much stated by Apple employees and top brass) is they look to create what they love first and only ask if it will sell second. Is it possible this is seen as a goal in it's own right rather than the ability to tick the box saying "biggest installed base in the world"? I'm not sure Apple have ever had or ever want to have mass market status. The analysts and accountants are hard wired to see this as Apple versus Android and see this as a failing and yet Apple have done pretty well sticking with it as a strategy. The wise understand the very desire to dominate can be a weakness and lead to an early demise. It's nearly always when companies lose touch with the intangible principles they were founded and grew with, and adopt the accountants view, that they turn the corner and become mundane uninspired behemoths that have lost touch with the customer. I also do Open Source development and my experience has always been very positive. The UI has always been the weakness of Open Source projects though. Google are doing a good job as UI dictator in charge (which invariably is needed to overcome "design by committee"). That they don't have quite the same polish as Apple is unsurprising. But then Open Source ensures an unparalleled wealth of capability is available to the developer, which is fast outstripping iOS and there is always somewhere to turn for help. There's a lot to love with that model also. So, not so big news, there's ample room for both!

  53. Alan Twelve

    Why is Android outselling iOS?

    There's been a lot of debate on the thread about why Android's doing so well, but no-one seems willing to point out what might just be the reason, so let me be the one:

    Android is, quite simply, better than iOS.

    The one caveat? If you have a Google account. But who doesn't? If you use Gmail, Google Maps, Google Reader, Talk, Contacts, Calendar, Search, YouTube - any of the stuff developed/supported by Google, an Android phone pisses all over the iPhone. It's much, much better. Android overtook the iPhone about a year ago and Apple's rather pathetic response has been 'more pixels'. Sadly,even the Retina Display isn't as nice as the AMOLED screens Samsung's using.

    Apple's hardware's nice, but the design is bland and uniform. The software's slick, but offers so much less. Android is just better.

    Oh, and to those predicting armaggedon for Android when the iPhone's on Verizon - wasn't that meant to have happened when the iPhone 4 was released?

    1. Mick Sheppard

      RE: Why is Android outselling iOS?


      "There's been a lot of debate on the thread about why Android's doing so well, but no-one seems willing to point out what might just be the reason, so let me be the one:

      Android is, quite simply, better than iOS."

      Do you really believe that enough people think this for it to make a difference? I have another reason. One that's a bit more compelling. Android phones are cheaper. Not all of them, but you can buy a SIM free Android phone to use on a pay as you go type deal for less than half the price of an iPhone on anything but an extortionate contract.

  54. AJO

    Is it?

    Is Android outselling iOS??? Overall?

    The only figures in the article are for smartphones. But iOS includes the iPod Touch and iPad too, both of which are sectors in which Apple is totally dominant (basically without competitor in the case of the massive-selling Touch). So it's not clear who's total sales for the platform are actually higher.

    1. Alan Twelve


      AJO, you even say yourself - the article is about smartphone sales. More specifically, about US smartphone sales and how Android is selling faster than iOS. In this context, iPods and iPads are irrelevant.

      The internet: where nothing goes without saying...

  55. ThereAreNoTechnologyProblems

    The fundamental difference

    Thought the article was a bit misguided as are some of the comments. In the long run there is no doubt that Android will win over the iPhone if you define winning as pure market share. The fundamental difference between Android/iPhone though is to look at the car market with mass market approach (think Volkswagen/Toyota) vs a more targeted approach (think Lotus/BMW). Google's business model is different from Apple, where they are monetising the search or use of the devices so they give the software away to manufacturers who make low margin mass market devices with tons of distribution channels, contrasting with Apple's approach of highly integrated software/hardware with high margins and relatively few distribution channels (varying widely by country).

    I do think Apple has learned the lesson from the 80s/90s in terms of what happened with Microsoft and are playing a vastly different game where:

    1. They have been masterful are balancing price/features/technology with the iPhone

    2. Have a broader iOS strategy with the iPods that are attacking the PSP/DS market and stealing market share

    3. Have been able to shake up/create the tablet market by pricing the initial entry aggressively (I know that a $600 entry point does not seem aggressive but, witness how long it has taken the other manufacturers to start to *ship* real competitors). Everyone knew the tablet was coming but I remember people expecting something in the $800-$1000 range.

    4. They have created a seamless interface across the 3 product families, not to mention the ability to share applications purchased across 5 iOS devices. I have multiple iOS devices and I love the ability to control the installation of applications across my kids devices so I can dole them out as rewards for reading/chores/etc plus I only have to buy it *once*

    5. They are now looking to integrate the TV and Mac into this family

    Now I may be accused of being a fanboy but, the reality of this is that everything just works. I don't have to think about the basics - I can concentrate on other things like other XBox hacking tricks and straitening out my Linux based NAS etc.

    To go back on point though, Apple is not engaging in a race to the bottom, they clearly have learned their lessons and are executing like no one else. Android will "win" but don't look for Apple to become "beleaguered" again, they know who their customers are/will be and I believe they will continue to make compelling products that people will buy - making them even more profitable. They will screw up - all companies do, but I think the mobile race at the top end is really a 2 horse race for the foreseeable future as Microsoft has too little too late and RIM is past their prime unless they can really figure how to market their ace in the hole - BBM.

  56. Shane Kent

    I hope...

    that Apple carves out a nice niche market to keep them in, and Android becomes Wintel of phones, then all the viruses/scammers will be on Android and none or next to none for Apple's platform :)

    Reason, because I would never ever ever buy anything related to Google!

  57. Michael C

    BS unclarified statistics

    WTF, comparing market-share in units sold for two DIFFERENT SIZED MARKETS? Statisticians are a bottom feeding breed to begin with, but are you trolls actually buying this BS?

    iOS is sold on one carrier here, out of 5 majors. Less than 40% of the populous can buy one, yet still it's more than half the sales Android claims. AT&T activated more new iPhones in new subscriber hands than VZW activated TOTAL android handsets (new and re-buys) and also in total new customers (with any handset) in the second half of 2010. AT&T carries both iOS and Android and Android sales are but a fraction on AT&T compared to iOS. Look at ANY carrier worldwide that sells both systems and iOS outsells android. The only reason android is selling more is LACK of choice. Pre died and WP7 was late, leaving pretty much Android or Rim as the only options, and few pick RIM who want multimedia. Android is sold in near double the amount of carriers worldwide, the bulk of which only offer Android and Symbian, with a smattering of RIM. Of course it;s the #1 seller in those places.

    head to head, android is loosing, only in worldwide numbers, boosted heavily by the US and other places Android does not compete directly with a viable contender on the same carrier, do the numbers switch in Android favor. If switching carriers meant no hassles, and no fees, many more people would have left VZW for AT&T. As it stands, VZW only grabbed 900,000 new customers total in Q3, to AT&Ts more than 2.6 million. 1.6% of Verizon's existing customers left them in Q3. only 1.3% of AT&T customers left in the same time. AT&T activated 5.6m new iPhones in Q3 alone, double the total number of total smartphones sold on VZW in the same period.

    As soon as VZW and T-mobile have iOS devices, Android sales will plummet. Combine that with WP7 being heavily pushed by Microsoft and carriers alike, and with some major improvements coming to that platform, it will eat into Android just as well, and only a smidge into iOS. Most android devices are sold in BOGO and other heavily discounted offers (including FREE phones outright), and iOS has no such discounts and is still outselling handsets where both are offered on the same carrier. Guess what, WP7 is soon going to be getting all those BoGo offers, carriers love it, and M$ is heavily subsidizing it, and doing most of the advertising. WP7 uses less bandwidth, the carriers don't have to edit the OS (and deal with disappointed left behind customers), and the phones can't be hacked to bypass tethering and other up-charges as Android can easily do. the carriers will be abandoning Android very soon...

    1. peter 45

      Hmmmmm. Unscientific, but...

      ....from a user perspective. Of all those at work and in the family who are waving around their smartphones they got for Xmas, the count is a follows:

      Android: 9

      Apple: 1

      WP7: 0

      you can read as much as you like into 'discounted', 'single vs multiple', 'US vs World' and other factors distorting stastics comparing market share, but my small world current sales statistics says a lot.

      Of those Android owners asked, 6 said they would have liked an Apple, but cost was a serious putoff. When you can buy an Android Smartphone from £100, buying three iphones for the family adds up to a serious wad.

      Until Apple give you the same choices of cost, carrier, cost, size, cost, form factor and cost , Android will take the majority of the market, and i cannot see that changing in the near future.

  58. peter 45

    Why Android?

    Of all the people who own an android, I have asked what motivated their purchase choice. Their answers:

    1. Price. (Fully functioning Smartphone for £100)

    2. Keyboard (lots of texting)

    3. Size (small x10 fits in handbag)

    4. Pink! (10 years old and a girl)

    So it is very simple. Why do people choose Android phones? Choice, Choice, Choice. Everyone has their own needs, wants and desires, and a single apple product is not the answer to them all.

  59. Narg

    A fight?

    Is it really a fight? Why do these idiot reporters think that any product on the market is a fight?

  60. Ari 1

    like on the desktop?

    From the article "it's just a matter of time before Google's "open and free" approach to handset manufacturers and carriers wins out."

    Like Linux has won out on the desktop?

    (Gates and Jobs both have angel and demon versions. Tux needs a happy version and a sad version)

  61. Anonymous Coward

    Game developer perspective

    There are reasons why Angry Birds is ad-based on Android and Epic or id Software are ignoring Android altogether.

    I developed a cross platform C++ game for iOS first and had someone port it to Android recently, and the short story is that iOS sales far far surpassed those on Android.

    Android Market is too generic and doesn't seem to categorize and promote worthy apps like App Store does.

    Piracy is horrible, too. It's bad on iOS as well, but at least popularity in the pirate circles reflects popularity in the App Store.

    With Android, piracy seems to be the rule. It's on Android forums, on Twitter, and even on Google's own Blogger platform (forget about reporting it, Google doesn't even bother to reply).

    But, I also can't blame people for not wanting to give out their personal data to every seller (that's Google Checkout for you).

    Development was also far from pleasant. With the NDK (Native Dev Kit) we had to go through all sort of hoops to get proper access to audio playback and data files from C++.. and without being able to use a debugger !

    Then there is all the previous gen Android phones: no multitouch, fake multitouch, or even a bug that takes up to 90% of the CPU time, when the user simply _touches_ the screen (we had to put a "no touch" play mode for that bug specifically).

    You may not care about this right now, if you are a user or a curious developer with a day job, but as an independent game developer, Android brought no joy.. and I thin that I'm not alone.

    We're not giving up on Android just yet, but I have to say that for the time being, it doesn't look like Android and its market are presenting a sustainable alternative to iOS and App Store.

    Enjoy your phones whatever they may me 8)

  62. Mark .

    Symbian beat them both

    "This means that developers increasingly are going to need to choose the platform they should develop for first, and the answer seems increasingly to be Google's open web."

    No, it means no such thing - or shouldn't. Worldwide, Symbian are still number one by far (and although it's conceivable that Android may eventually catch up, due to running on phones from many manufacturers, Apple are in no sign of beating Nokia).

    But even in the US, it was only very recently that RIM was number one. Did this mean that US developers focused on BlackBerry? No - we still got apps just for Apple (which was then number 4 worldwide!), and maybe for Android. So the idea that mobile developers care about market share is a complete sham. Instead, companies, like the media, seem more interested in hyping Apple and giving them free advertising, than actually following market demand (it would be as if companies and the media only released apps and reported on OS X, with Windows the market leader getting ignored...)

    Also consider that installed user base will lag behind market share (these figures only show the latest sales, and most people don't buy a new phone every quarter). So I would still expect there to be more BlackBerry users in the US (due to being number one in the US for so long), and far more Symbian users (which has consistently been number one worldwide for years).

  63. Anonymous Coward

    I for one...

    Won't trust Android with any form or personal/financial data (etc) untill they have the same level of App validation and developer traceability as Apple has.

  64. soup

    Over and over and over again

    My first reaction to this... "BetaMax vs VHS"? Where JVC learned from Phillips how to get a small chunk of a huge market or all of a tiny market...

  65. Mark .

    Symbian uses Qt for development, as well as other choices

    "Android development has none of the advantages of open source development! You can't just code in QT ... All platforms are unfamiliar to developers used to Symbian ... At least the APIs and programming style of Windows Phone 7 and iOS are based upon desktop software"

    Actually, Symbian development uses Qt. So it too is based on desktop APIs. And, unlike Windows Phone and IOS, it isn't simply "based on" - it *is* using the same Qt. The same code can compile for Symbian, Maemo/Meego, Windows, Linux, OS X and more. As a developer, I think Qt is one of the best application toolkits I've come across.

    It's a true that every phone has its own language which is a bit of a shame (why can't I use, say, C++ and Qt for Android or Iphone?) However, Symbian does offer C++/Qt, Java and Python, so it also offers far more breadth of choice than other platforms. Most programmers will be familiar with at least one of C++ (Qt itself is easy to pick up), Java or Python. On Android it's just Java; on Iphone it's just Objective C.

    But the bigger problem with IOS development is that you can only do it on an Apple PC, and you have to pay Apple to release software.

    (To be honest though, it's a shame that companies ignore J2ME these days. Back in 2005, you could have apps which ran on 99% of phones out there. Not just smartphones, but almost _all_ phones. Whilst J2ME may have some limitations, if it's good enough for Google Maps and Opera Mini, it can do most things that apps do. But now in 2010 onwards, it's just an app for the less than 5% of Iphone owners. Thanks to Apple, and the way companies idolise them, we've gone backwards, and I'm left struggling to find apps even though I have the market leading smartphone platform.)

    "I don't see as this is a big issue, you pay your money and make your choice. Similar thing to the PC verses MAC debate."

    Based on market share, it's more like Mac and Linux users debating, whilst most people actually get on and run Windows...

    "I'd hate to see Android take the world by storm and crush all opposition it it's wake because that would just lead to a stagnating platform much like we saw with Symbian and WinMo, and waiting years for something bright, shiny, and new to come along to take it's place (i.e. iOS and Android)."

    Er, my "stagnating" Symbian has had features like multitasking and copy/paste for years, and it's Iphone users that had to wait years to catch up. And my Nokia phone is perfectly bright and shiny.

    AnonymousDareDevil: "All this paranoia about apps in smart phones is just silly. Does anyone choose their phone based on the number of fart apps?"

    Indeed, I entirely agree with your comment. This is why Nokia still dominate, despite having fewer fart apps. Most apps are simply wrappers to websites, anyway (it seems every other tab on my browser has an obligtary ad for an "Iphone app" to read the website that I'm already reading).

    Well my Nokia phone has a killer app: it's just like those apps that let you read a website, but it works with _any_ website. And, get this - it even works if the website hasn't released an app specifically for my phone!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "And, get this - it even works if the website hasn't released an app specifically for my phone!"

      Surprisingly like my Android.. even if it has flash.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why always with this 'winner' nonsense?

    Why do people always get so worked up about which platform is going to be the 'winner'? There's no need for that, you know. It's perfectly possible for multiple platforms to coexist quite happily.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Gawddarnnit El Reg! Replies should not require a title.

      The 'winner' is often crucial to companies that develop software; since it is resources and money spend that they need to justify.

  67. DorianBenkoil

    It's Not Either-Or, There's Room for Both

    hanks for the pickup of my piece on PBS MediaShift, in which I argue that this year will see the battle of Open vs. Closed heat up. I am a bit surprised by the vitriol in the comments directed at what you wrote. I see, as you seem to indicate, that there's a market for both worlds. For developers, as for users, it's a choice of the arena in which to operate.

    Apple's world is more controlled, easy to understand, and leaves less to the individual, whether on the user or the developer side. Less choice, fewer options, but a streamlined and beautiful system in place. Android lets the developer have more control, but that also means the developer has to figure out more for him/herself where and how to make a quid (or a buck). Nicely written and argued, I'd say. I'll pick it up a couple places, such as @dbenk on Twitter and

  68. cybervigilante
    Thumb Down

    Apple hate Flash and I hate Apple

    Good. I'm tired of Apple's fascist ways. They abjure Flash, a huge standard that I spent time learning, so they can CONTROL ALL THINGS.

  69. TheOneAndOnly27
    Jobs Horns

    Wow handset war declared

    I came here for sheer amusement, to take in the statistic salvos and generally see what has to be said. I must say I am a developer and own quite a few handsets through the work I do.

    If you feel committed enough to claim one handset manufacturer is better than the other you in my opinion miss the point.

    Android will never be a serious contender until they improve the interface so much that network providers and phone sellers don't feel compelled to customise the experience.

    That's where Apple excel. In that advert for the iPad the line "You already know how to use it" was the strongest statement they could ever make. With an android phone it's all a bit random and the icons are all a bit flat and boring.

    I admit Android is a nice environment to develop in not that much better than XCode but nice none the less but will say, Apple's code is very well put together.

    The bottom line for me is the manufacturer who can continue to create o/s's that are technical enough for a techy to enjoy and simple enough for a light user to navigate. Add in form and aesthetics and Apple are streets ahead.

    The very fact that pretty much every other high end smartphone looks like an iPhone is some way is testament that they all would like to be an iPhone. The Android owners who delight in telling why their handset is technically superior to your iPhone 4 reinforce my belief that they cannot comprehend that yours is better than theirs in so many other ways.

    Owning an iPhone is like owning a Bugatti Veyron that has been speed restricted to 70 miles an hour.

    Owning an Android o/s phone is like owning a Mitsubishi EVO very powerful and great to own, but not as regal or as classy.

    Which one is better? That is subjective to what your actual requirements are.

  70. json

    I Love and Hate my iPhone

    I just my first Apple Device over the holidays and totally like the iPhone 4... specially since I can finally SSH into my servers (couldnt really do that with my BB bold),. however, my major frustrations are the following:

    1) inability to send multiple attachments with the built-in email client

    2) inability to use the iphone 4 as a 'usb' device (it's easy with my BB)

    3) when receiving a text message from a new contact, there seems to be no way of using the sender's number to create a new contact (I has to resort to memorizing or copying the number somewhere and manually entering).

  71. ukdeluded

    Funnily enough ...

    Last night I was at a friends house and his wife came home, complaining about the 'cheap iPhone copy' her mobile provider had given her, which was an HTC Wildfire. I explained to her that it was just as good as the iPhone and you could get comparable apps on both, and that she could actually have Angry Birds on her phone.

    That was it, she wanted Angry Birds, so I downloaded it for her, it installed, and then ... it didn't work!

    I searched the internet only to find that Angry Birds does not work on the Wildfire and they are trying to develop an angry birds lite to work on the slower Android devices, and therein lies the problem, she still wants an iPhone.

    The figures will of course show a huge majority of phones being Android because every phone manufacturer can use it 'for free' on their devices, they can become hardware designers instead of investing so much in their operating system, but that doesn't mean it will win the battle.

    The fact that more and more applications will only work on certain Android devices and not others with no way for the user to know what will and will not defeats what Apple started with the iPhone, the easy app store - click here and this app will install and work on your device, but not any more.

    I could not convince the wife that she should try another Android phone, she wants an iPhone, because her friends can run whatever they want from the app store.

    Market share can be make or break, especially when market share starts making people think your product does not actually work!

    1. daiakuma

      All replies must have titles. It's the law.

      Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread") has just been released. It is very good. Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") is due in the spring, and from the demos it appears to be completely awesome. If I were Apple, I'd be worried. There is a serious risk that they will be left playing catch-up.

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