back to article Tesco heralds 2011 as YEAR OF ANDROID

Tesco is now selling more Android smartphones than iPhones. Before Christmas 2010, iPhones were outselling Google-powered products two to one, the grocer's mobile phone seller said today. But sales of the two platforms reached parity in January. Then, last month, Android took the lead. A problem for Apple? Not entirely. …


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  1. markpud


    ..they still don't offer an Android app! They have iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry, but no Android!!

  2. SuperTim

    Silly comparison.

    Comparing Iphone sales to android sales is like comparing sales of petrol Fords, to sales of any other brand of Diesel cars. Android don't make a phone, only an OS. apple don't sell the iPhone with any other OS than iOS and no other phone may use iOS.

    I am sure that there ARE more android phones sold, but by how many different manufacturers? and does anyone give a toss anyway? dont buy your phone because it's popular, that makes you a shallow idiot!

    1. DrXym

      No it isn't

      The ratio of sales of one phone OS vs is indicative of the way the market is going. Pretending that it's the specific model that matters for that comparison is absurd. Do you also compare brands of PCs to Macs to avoid the conclusion that Windows usage dwarfs OS X?

      "dont buy your phone because it's popular, that makes you a shallow idiot!"

      So I take it you have a Windows Phone then?

    2. BorkedAgain


      Wide user adoption CAN translate into broader support, especially where apps are concerned. So popularity can be a useful factor in certain circumstances.

      Probably shouldn't be the only or main factor, though. And the translation doesn't always happen; some pretty big names are still missing Android support, despite the fact that it's an increasingly popular platform. Naming no names.

      Anyhoo. As you were...

    3. Paul M 1

      Not so silly

      Depending upon what you are looking for...

      The more Android handsets out there, from whichever manufacturer, the more popular the platform for developers. It's the old virtuous circle and means one day Android might be the first platform developers target.... including Tesco by the sounds of it!

    4. Anonymous Coward

      If you genuinely don't understand why this is important...

      ... you might want to find another news site, The Register is for vaguely technical types.

      In short, people buying Android phones don't want it to be the next Betamax. They can now relax.

      If things carry on like this for another couple of years or so then Apple will have to do something clever with the giant piles of cash they've been amassing in order for them not to become the next Betamax (or the next Apple, as it used to be known before their miraculous comeback).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @AC 13:45

        [QUOTE]In short, people buying Android phones don't want it to be the next Betamax. They can now relax[/QUOTE]

        As apparently none of the decision makers in Android's game (ie Google) make any real money from it, and now Tesco confirms that Android only thrives on the low margin end of the market, I'm not so sure they can relax?

        Nokia has been doing very well in the low end market, but still look at where they had to go.

        Not saying things will go either way, but I think a Betamax type outcome has yet to surface.

        1. DrXym

          Of course they make money

          Android users generally use Google apps, receive AdMob ads (google's new acquisition) and generally hit Google services enough that there are numerous ways they can monetize the platform, some of which they're doing. Users also buy apps through the Google marketplace or download free apps with advertising.

          It's very clear there is a huge amount of money to be made. Indeed, Angry Birds has been downloaded over 30 million times on Android which is a lot of ad impressions, of which Rovio and Google take their slice.

          The very fact the platform exists facilitates money making, now and in the future. Look how Apple are shutting out the competition from iOS and it's not hard to see why Google should fund a free and unimpeded conduit to their own services.

  3. Dan Mullen

    Where's the app?

    Ironic then that their shopping app is available for iPhone, Nokia and Windows Phone, their Clubcard Points app is available on iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry, but neither is available for Android...

  4. vegister
    Thumb Up


    the contract and decent android phones for both my wife and I cost less than one average iphone contract - a compelling case, since i would choose android over iphone anyway

    1. DrXym

      PAYG phones too

      You can buy an Android PAYG phone for less than £100. No monthly contract. ZTE Racer is £70 with Three. That just wrecks my head. A smart phone for £70. That's cheaper than many candy bar phones and probably more functional than them too.

      1. Fred 24
        Thumb Up

        Zte Racer

        Got one, love it. Only thing that stops it being as functional as a laptop is the usb port is not switvhable to master mode to run mouse/keyboard/monitor.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Long live Android!

    £100 for a san francisco, Giffgaff for my rather modest usage of calls/texts/data and I'm getting approximately the same utility for an eighth of the price of an iPhone on its 40 quid a month * 24 month contract. Smug? You betcha.

    1. cmgangrel

      San Fran

      Agreed... picked up the San Fran just after christmas (now THAT was a problem getting the black version), but have found that GiffGaff are good for the data costs as well..

    2. BorkedAgain
      Thumb Up

      Actually...'re probably getting more utility. Aside from missing some fashionable apps (hey ho) you can do wifi tethering, choose your own Launcher, desktop widgets...

  6. Anonymous Coward

    does that mean

    that when I go into tesco I will be able to buy some screen protectors for my HTC desire...

    the only accessories you can buy in tesco are for iphone ...considdering that they only had 14% at best market share i find that a little hard to swallow.

    mines the one with the real phone in the pocket !!

    1. thesykes
      Thumb Down

      ASDA are no better...

      My local store sells several different makes and models of phones, but, only sells cases for iPhones... which it doesn't sell.

    2. Arctic fox

      Stock is money - sitting there doing nothing.

      The issue for Tescos and Asda (or whoever) is simply that they can carry iThingy cases because they all fit the one phone. To meet your needs (and mine - Desire Z) and those of other Android customers they would have to stock a considerable range of cases. However if Android sales are really taking off for them they may well begin to do so now.

  7. Darren Bell

    But its the apps...

    Apps is where it's at though. If Android has more phones out there, then developers will target that platform as they'll make more money. I reckon that Android phones will outnumber iOS phones 4 to 1. Apple will still make more money per phone, but the App devs will target Android first. I just makes sense.

    When your TV, PVR, car all have Android, the choice will be a no-brainer. I've seen a PVR that runs Android already and it looks sweet.

    1. chr0m4t1c


      But I think you'll find that developers (particularly established ones) will target both platforms at the same time. It doesn't really matter who is in the lead as they both have huge userbases so worst case you would only want to have a week or two between platform releases.

      It'll end up like the gaming industry where titles tend to come out on multiple platforms at the same time unless there are some shady backroom deals done first.

      Naturally this might change over time if Android ends up as the equivalent of Windows (i.e. on 90% of devices), but the mobile market is notoriously fickle - some people change phones almost as often as they change their socks. BBos7, Storm 3 and the PlayBook might capture the public imagination and turn everything on it's head again by this time next year. (OK, probably a bit of a long shot that.)

  8. Lewis Mettler 1

    don't for the 30% Apple cut

    And do not forget Apple's demand that it take 30% of subscriptions off the top.

    Google has suggested only 10%.

    It is going to cost you more to do business through Apple. A lot more. Or, at it is turning out, many subscriptions are blocked from Apple users. So you do not get it at all with Apple.

    1. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d

      Perhaps Apple users spend more...

      Perhaps Apple users spend more money on apps than Android user. 30% is quite a lot for subscriptions but from what I remember that is only when purchased in-app or via the Apple app store.

      1. DrXym

        I expect they do

        I doubt many people would pay for subs on phones, they might for tablets. Given that it is likely iPad owners are more inclined to pay. Android 3.0 has only just launched and it's too nascent to make much of an impression at all.

        I daresay that once it does pick up that publishers, including Amazon will be paying a LOT more attention to Android. Amazon are already talking up their own store. And others could choose to use Google's sub service which is a more reasonable 10% or do their own thing. Either is far more preferable and profitable than what Apple are doing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @DrXym @Lewis Mettier

          I keep hearing (esp from Lewis) about this Google 10% sub thing.

          Care to point me to just ONE Android app using it?


          1. DrXym

            I doubt many are

            As I said Google's tablet story is only just kicking off in a coherent fashion. Part of that is the One Pass system which they just announced.


            Still too early to say how it will function but I'm guessing that from a user perspective it'll work in a similar fashion to their other services - an app client version and a web client version both hitting the cloud for the data. I suppose in either case you'll hit a home page listing your content and be able to read it.

            I'm somewhat worried that One Pass and Apple's sub model are legitimizing putting magazines behind paywalls but from a publisher perspective I know which service I'd prefer and it would be the one which is not tied to one platform and doesn't take as much of my money.

  9. James Hughes 1

    If only the same would happen to tablets

    And by that I mean that the Android tablets sell more than Apple because they are cheaper (I'm looking at you, Samsung and Motorrola).

  10. Little Poppet
    Thumb Down


    As people have already mentioned, IPhone is a premium product - whilst Android caters for the mass market ....

    1. DrXym

      Except that's not the case either

      There are high end android phones that carry a similar price tag & specs as an iPhone. It's just there are also cheaper phones too which may cut screen res or cpu but still deliver a smart phone. In other words, one size does not fit all etc.

      1. ThomH

        @DrXym: it's not just features

        It's brand positioning; the low cost Android phones push the idea that the Android brand is for everyone, whereas Apple prefer to promote the iPhone as for the creative elite. You know, just in terms of the message they'd have you take from their advertising.

        Re: the article proper, I was under the impression that 2010 had been the year of Android and that, across the whole market, Android phones were outselling iPhones already. So it's a bit surprising that Tesco have only just caught up.

        I don't buy that it's a Risk-style game of world domination where the one with the bigger numbers inevitably makes the position of the one with the smaller numbers untenable or that bigger numbers is a mark of better quality so I'd label this news as interesting but unlikely to be influential upon me.

  11. b-a-r-k-i-n-g-m-a-d

    Apples and oranges...

    Going on about cost differences between Android and iPhone is a bit like comparing a Ford Focus to a Mercedes S-Class by saying 'they both have 4 wheels and get you from A to B' - if you don't want an iPhone don't get one - simple.

    Criticising people who choose to buy an iPhone due to it's cost is just as bad as someone with an iPhone telling you your choice is because you are too poor to afford one.

    My iPhone gets used far more than any other phone I have owned - it saves me a huge amount of time and is worth it for that alone.

    1. LuMan

      Blimey! An intelligent Comment

      That's probably the most centered and sensible comment I've read so far relating to Apple vs NotApple. Normally we see a lot of 'fool-money-parted' type responses, but I reckon you've hit it on the head. As an analogy my Honda costs less than my boss' Jag, but if she dared to tell me that I only bought it because I couldn't afford a 'decent' car like hers I'd probably lose my job for smacking her! Likewise, I wouldn't call her stupid for buying a posh car. Horses for courses.

      I recently got an Orange San Francisco instead of a Desire, Galaxy S or even iPhone 'cos it was cheaper and still does what I want. Even my iPhone-owning chums think it's a nice phone.

      Let's spread a little love, dudes!

  12. David Paul Morgan

    Lack of "off the shelf accessories"

    We need a "wot no Android" logo!

    I spent ages trying to find an official HTC hands free headphone/microphone adapter. Even the Alladin's caves in Tottenham Court Road didn't have one.

    Thank goodness Amazon seem to be stocking up on HTC accessories.

    Regarding shopping applets, I tried Occado, only to be told we don't have a Waitrose in Cardiff!

  13. Mikel
    Thumb Up

    Now now

    No reason to be getting all reasonable and civil in here. There's lots of flamethrowing left to do.

    Let's go on a bit more about how we think the "other" phone ecosystem is staffed by a bunch of rat bastards.

  14. fixit_f

    Choose your religion

    For myself, I prefer Android. However, most of my friends have iPhones. Most of my mates are neither technical types nor Nathan Barley fashion victim types, but do tend to belong to a reasonably well paid demographic. Apologies for my choice in friends, but yes most of the aspiring upper middle class gits tend to still have iPhones. However, they are aware of Android and a few have switched.

    Budget Android phones come with limitations - the cheaper HTC's don't have the screen res to run Angry Birds as a "lowest common denominator" example and so it's not available to them on the Android Market. So on one hand it's possibly only fair to compare iPhone sales to Android based phones with sufficient spec to do what the iPhone will do. Most people who buy high spec Android phones will tend to do it on a contract direct from the operator, and do it as a deliberate choice. On the other hand, before my HTC Desire I had a budget Android handset and that still let me do tethering, run an FTP/SSH client etc etc so even a basic spec Android handset is still essentially a bloody viable smartphone.

    I think in summary it's interesting that Android is scalable enough to cater for all markets and demographics, but iOS can only cater for one specific, large, fully featured and expensive handset. I just can't see Apple producing a cut down version of the iPhone that will run iOS in a snappy and still coherent manner. I'm suspicious of Google as much as the next informed observer, but anything that prevents Apple getting a stranglehold on the phone sector is good news by me - I dislike the way Apple are going, they blow MS's shady practices (even at their worst in the 90's/2000's) out of the water.

    So (for now until Google show their true colours) here's to budget Android PAYG phones as sold by Tesco, an indication that even the budget end of the market can be swayed away from their terrible Nokias by a coherent UI, an app store and a few interesting features. This can only result in more functionality for more people, and I think that fits the description of "progress."

  15. JaitcH

    "Apple looks set to continue making more money from its smartphones than the likes of HTC"

    There is a Chinese proverb that runs something like: "Fortunes are made from profits (margins) thinner than paper".

    Apple might make more per handset but it's costs are also much higher than HTC, LG or Samsung but it is also more vulnerable if the Far Eastern manufacturers put the price squeeze on.

    Remember, also, that Apple uses components and sub-assemblies made by some of it's handset competitors so they win whatever direction the wind of public opinion flows. Apple doesn't make much of anything presently and is therefore at the mercy of it's suppliers.

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