back to article Android outsells Apple 2:1

New numbers from market tracker Nielsen show that more than half of smartphone punters who acquired their handset in the past three months opted for Android. The precise figure is 56 per cent, which compares well with Nielsen's Android's overall market share of 43 per cent. It shows that Google's OS is gaining ever more …


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  1. Magnus Ramage

    Narrow scope of figures not clear until end

    Interesting figures, but could you highlight the fact they're US-only numbers a bit higher up please? That doesn't make them invalid or not worth publishing, but it does limit their scope and the lessons to be drawn from them.

    1. James Hughes 1


      Can't you be arsed to read to the end of the article, or are you saying you won't have read it if you had known they were US figures? Surely if you want to draw lessons you have to read the whole article anyway so its irrelevant where the figures are?

      Either way, putting them at the end means you read the whole article, so a win-win for the Reg?

  2. LPF

    Thast for smart phones

    But what about the number for phones in general, who sells the most ??

    1. jai

      smart phones OS

      This is a comparison between the OS of the phones, not the manufacturers. So looking at non-smart-phones would be irrelevant.

    2. cloudgazer

      In the US (where those figures apply), it's Samsung. Globally I it's still Nokia, though their swan-dive is in full progress, so probably not for long.

      See for instance

  3. Joe K
    Thumb Down

    What a useless comparison

    56 various phones VS one single phone. 56 phones combined barely win.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Title is Optional

      Really?? Did you read the same article as me?

      The chart shows OS not device... It's Apple's choice not to licence iOS to other vendors, and while they have a pretty healthy market share, they are not exactly growing.

      tldr; "One phone OS sells twice as many as another phone OS"

    2. hplasm Silver badge
    3. Dave's Jubblies

      iThink you'll find that's...


    4. Steve Renouf

      OSes not phones

      It's a comparison of Operating Systems not phone models so, in that sense, it is valid. It wasn't attempting to do a comparison of different phones!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Especially when you consider that the single phone takes ~55% of the total profit for the market segment. Yeah, keep on downvoting fandroids!

    6. Alex Rose

      By "barely win" do you mean outsell 2 to 1?

      In the interests of full disclosure I personally use Android but have no problem paying for Apple kit for my wife as that's what she likes. What I do have a problem with is people dissembling (aka "lying").

      By all means point out that Apple's figures are very impressive given that they are made up of only 1 phone versus x number of Android models - I'll listen to an argument like that.

      Resort to misrepresentation and I'll call you out for the idiot you are!

    7. N13L5

      comparison is about operating systems, not stupid phones...

      You sound like a fruit company fanboy...

      Now, I can't stand either Google, nor M$ nor Apple or Rim. My hope is that Google won't remain this dominant, cause it will only mean more arrogance and less fixes/updates.

      Same as Microsoft did it, when Windows Mobile had like ~30 percent of the market, they hung us out to dry. I think Windphone7 doesn't sell, cause people remember.

      So, our choices are all somewhat sucky:

      Apple = designer jail-cell with toaster simplicity.

      Android = most powerful hardware available with Google's sloppy code and tardy bug fixing.

      Microsoft = wannabe Apple-like jail-cell, clamoring for tollbooths.

      Rim = sudden loss of innovative focus, lack of funds to keep up as a monolithic software+hardware vendor.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yeah, silly Apple

    9. ThomH

      Quite a useful comparison

      Per the text of the article, the figures show that:

      (i) Android-aligned players dominate the market and Android's share continues to grow; but

      (ii) not at the expense of Apple, which also continues to grow; whereas

      (iii) RIM appears to be in decline.

      This information is relevant and useful to us as IT professionals because the secondary markets (e.g., for application software) more or less break down along those same lines.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The comparison is not useless for the reason you think - they're talking about platforms, not phones. You don't know what the situation would be if there was a single Android phone like there is a single iOS phone - it wouldn't be the same, but it's a completely unknown scenario. That's not the issue though.

      What you should focus on is the fact that this time of year isn't when Apple dominates - they're about to release a new iPhone so sales of the old one slump. Contrast with Android, which is relatively even throughout the year due to releases by many different manufacturers smoothing it out.

      Have a look at the same stats in a couple of months time and it'll be a different story.

      It's not worthless because of the diversity of each "ecosystem" but because one is more seasonal than the other. The only really meaningful comparisons are year-on-year, not month-to-month.

    11. Jedit

      Don't think of it in terms of 56 phones against one

      Think of it in terms of people who want a heilPhone versus people who don't. The people who don't want one win - hugely.

  4. QuinnDexter

    Android Vs iOS? Really?

    I've always wondered when I saw these comparisons. Isn't it more accurate that consumers care more about the fact that it's a Samsung or LG or Sony Ericsson or Apple handset rather than the OS installed? Angry Birds and FaceBook run on all OSs...

    If it were to do with OS alone then should the comparison be Android 2.1 Vs Android 2.2 Vs Android Vs 2.3 Vs iOS4 Vs WinPho7 Vs Android 2.1&Vodafone interface Vs Android 2.2&Vodafone interface etc...

    Which has a larger install base then?

    Isn't this kind of like comparing selling replica football shirts with selling season tickets? The two are aligned in a very round about way in that they are for the same team, but don't really bear any proper correlation...

    1. Alan Twelve

      Haven't seen manufacturer comparisons more recently than June, but Neilsen's figures then showed Apple on top with 28% (same as now). Second were RIM and HTC, both with 20%. Given Android's growth, I'd be a little surprised if HTC aren't a couple of points closer now.

      I thought at the time that Apple would have had a bigger lead.

      It should be noted though that of HTC's 20%, 14% was Android and 6% Windows Mobile in its various forms. It could be that their Android growth is cancelled out by WM share losses.

    2. Paul Shirley

      QuinnDexter: "consumers care more about the fact that it's a Samsung or LG or Sony Ericsson"

      HTC & LG sell WP7 phones (Samsung just joined up) yet WP7 sales are still hovering around 2%. Apart from Apple (and Nokia in the near future) the manufacturer and the OS on the phone are orthogonal choices. People are choosing Samsung *and* Android, HTC *and* Android, LG *and* Android... they're conspicuously not choosing WP7, Bada, Meego, Symbian or any of the other 2nd tier OS's ;)

    3. Marvin the Martian

      @QuinnDexter: indeed.

      Your first paragraph is correct (then it goes downhill a bit, which may have gotten the downvoters going)...

      Notice how Nielsen clearly state "xxx chose an Android device" above their graph, where TheRegister titles it "2:1 chose Android". A frankly amateurish effort at slanting the news; lets say in the league of TheGrauniad, well below Fox News.

    4. Craigness

      If HTC sells 70% of what Samsung sells then how much investment should you make in Symbian development?

      It's not what consumers care about, it's what developers care about. Unless, of course, you choose a phone manufacturer based on how many other people choose that phone manufacturer.

      The prevalence of each android version is also a developer concern (unless you want to go with the most popular instead of the most up-to-date version when you buy your new phone) and is available from the site.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data is there to either inform us, or to reinforce our malformed opinions.

    @Joe K: currently from apple you can buy an iPhone4 or iPhone 3Gs?

    Interesting numbers but should be taken with some caveats for Android and Apple fanbois.

    Blackberry users should take note if you are considering entering into 12-24 month contract.

  6. Dirk Vandenheuvel

    Surely beer outsells champagne?

    1. DAN*tastik

      @ Dirk Vandenheuvel

      And Big Macs ( no pun intended ) outsell cheaper organic apples

    2. Alan Twelve

      Beer also outsells Blue Nun.

    3. g e

      It certainly does

      and VHS also outsold Betamax

    4. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. werdsmith Silver badge


    Some iPhone users have gone to Android, Some Blackberry users have gone to iPhone, Some Blackberry users have gone to Android.

    Thats the stupid closed messaging system, time to drop it.

  8. Darkone

    Is there a reason the 3mo figures only total 99% or is my maths shot to heck?

    1. cloudgazer


      They're all rounded to nearest %. Suppose I have 3 firms with equal share, 33.3333% each, rounding to nearest I'd only get a total of 99%.

  9. James 51

    @Joe K

    I know I shouldn't feed the trolls but I'll throw one a crust.

    Your statement doesn't make much sense. I didn't see a reference to 56 phones in the article, 56% of phones sold in that period in the US were android phones and 28% were Apple. I don't know about the US but in the UK both the iphone 3GS and the 4 are still available so that's probably two phones. It doesn't mention if the market share includes older model iphones as well.

    Given that no one is giving Symbian a more vicious kicking than Nokia at the moment it's not surprising to see its share falling in a market were it was never a big player. I am surprised about RIM. I would have expected them to at least hold steady.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And where is WP7 ?

    Not even the Hubble telescope can see WP7's sales figures on that chart !

  11. Armando 123

    Not too surprising

    A new iPhone is due soon, as any fule kno, so I would guess a lot of iPhone people are waiting before buying a new phone. Let's check these numbers again in two or three months.

  12. Charles Calthrop

    'other' % is down most

    surely win 7 and (sob) Nokia are the losers here? Win 7 is not even managing to hold its miniscule share - as a % hasn't 'other' plummeted much more than everyone else.

    God I used to love my old nokias. I don't see how one handset manufacturer can turn round a slide like this when they are already so so far behind

    1. Kristian Walsh

      US data. Nokia's share is pretty much as it was...

      These are US figures, where Symbian hasn't been a player for about five years. It wasn't iPhone that killed Nokia in the US, it a combination of a long-running dispute over CDMA patents with Qualcomm and then Samsung and HTC's willingness to do whatever the US carriers wanted (feature-stripping, lockouts, custom hardware), at a low cost.

      Apple's arrival was well timed, as lots of makers were scrambling for the 30% share that Nokia was shedding in the US, but before you give Jobs credit for that, remember that 2007 was the first time that off-the-shelf silicon became available that would allow a non-phonemaker to make a complete GSM-compliant mobile phone (and that's also why the iPhone 1 wasn't 3G-capable).

      Windows Phone 7 doesn't seem to be too hot, but last year's "other" included Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7. Luckily Nokia are only commited to WP7 on "smartphones", and we all know how slippery it is to define a smartphone ;)

  13. Wang N Staines

    but but ...

    you have to sell 100 Android devices to make the same profit as 1 Apple device.

  14. pdb

    Compare device or OS

    If we are comparing OS's rather than individual devices then should we not be including iOS running on iPod touch and iPad in these numbers ?

    1. ChrisC

      The comparison is OS's *on smartphones*, not OS's on any devices that'll run said OS's, so no we can't include other iDevices...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fanboys, please...

    ...everyone just settle down.

    They're both just phone OS's - Nobody's shat in your cornflakes, FFS. If this data bothers you in the slightest, you really need to work on those insecurity issues.

    The only ones who should draw any conclusions are the app devs, who's business model depends on the success of one OS or the other (assuming they only dev for one platform).

    If you're just a user, then chill out FFS. As long as it bloody well works for you, that's all that matters.

    1. alwarming

      "They're both just phone OS's - Nobody's shat in your cornflakes, FFS."

      You owe me a new keyboard, pal. LOL! :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we have sales numbers also?

    IMHO market share may be a very important metric, but without actual unit sales numbers it is short of the full picture.

  17. BelieveItOrNot

    interesting... but...

    On sites I run, with a truly global reach, iOS devices account for 55% of mobile traffic for the last month. Android is at 17%. RIM on 3%. Symbian on 14%.

    GA stats, fyi

    So the win on the interweb is currently in the hands of the fruity one IMHO.

    On another note... its only in the last 3 months or so that Android has been going up fast. Although that could also be to do with the site's getting more traffic in general.

    1. cloudgazer

      Are you separating out iPad there or is that all iOS? The reason it's significant is because the use cases for tablets are so different. People will use them for surfing at home over wifi in preference to a laptop - whereas smartphones are very much the browser of last resort.

      1. BelieveItOrNot

        iphone 31%, ipad 24%.... rounded down.

    2. Stupidscript

      Your Niche

      All your stats show is that mobile users who are attracted to whatever you are peddling tend to be iOS users, but certainly not overwhelmingly.

      Perhaps you sell iOS accessories? If so, then you're doing quite poorly. Only 55% of your mobile users qualify to use your products. Better ad targeting is required if you want to improve your market share within your little niche.

      You say that is not the scenario? Then at least you can see the point that your little niche does not necessarily represent the totality of mobile users in the same way that Nielsen's research does?

  18. Randy Hudson
    Thumb Down

    Nice timing

    I wonder why these numbers are always shown as the current iOS phone is near its EOL.

  19. DZ-Jay


    Didn't Nielsen come out with a report a couple of weeks ago that claimed that most mobile users where using iOS devices than Android ones? If so, then this survey only highlights the fact that people are purchasing *phones*--the device--not *Android*--the software platform.

    If people are not actually using the "smartphone" capabilities, how does this make Android the winner?

    So, more people are buying cheap (or at times, free) phones available from all major carriers than people buying iPhones from Apple-sanctioned ones. Colour me stunned.


  20. 100113.1537
    Thumb Down

    Numbers - not share - affects bottom line.

    But with the market increasing, what does this mean in terms of actual numbers of handsets purchased?

    I am no fan of any smartphone (I want my PDA back!), but it seems to me that RIM are being hammered in the press for a reducing share, when they are still selling lots and are the 'phone of choice for businessmen. All that has happened is that the market has increased with lots of non-business users who want browsing and entertainment devices.

    RIM may have tried (unsuccessfully) to compete in that market, but the issue is still about how many handsets are being made and sold and how much people are paying for access to their network.

    I don't have shares (in any of the companies involved), buy I sort of feel sorry for the shareholders who see wild swings based on numbers which have very little to do with the bottom-line profitability of a company.

    1. cloudgazer

      RIM are truly profoundly honked

      No, RIM is genuinely hosed. Look at the UBS retention data that got posted a few days ago. UBS was canvassing exactly those wealthy business types, and their willingness to stay with BB had collapsed - only 30% intended to remain with RIM.

      This isn't just an artifact of the growing smartphone sector. For example, look at the comscore data, they report the total handset market in the US as well as smartphones. They show RIM dropping from 8.2% of handsets to 7.6% (in current use) in the last quarter. The Nielsen data would suggest that they're now selling around 5.2% of all handsets. 9% of smartphones, smartphones being 58% of the sales.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't expect Apple share to rise with new phone release

    The US sales of iPhone have been remarkably consistent at between 26 and 29% of the total market for the last two years. A bit odd since the market itself is growing so rapidly, which means Apple is growing at almost exactly the market average, but there you go.

    Some data from Neilsen to back that up:

    1. cloudgazer

      not the best survey

      Comscore arguably have the best US handset survey out there, certainly it's a far bigger population, n=30,000

      They show Apple down at more like 24% back in August-2010, but rising steadily since then. They got a big bump when they acquired got distribution through Verizon, and they've slowed in the last quarter, but it's quite possible we'll see them breach 30% with the iPhone-5.

  22. Dana W

    In other news.

    MicDonald's outsells Steak and Lobster! Film at 11!


    Poor fanboys...

    This is EXACTLY what the "haters" said would happen. Android on smart phones would be just like MS-DOS on PCs. An open platform with multiple vendors and diverse price points sold on the carrier of your choice would blunt the iJuggernaut.

    Now that this has come to pass, the fanboys want to make weasely excuses to distract from the fact that the "haters" were right.

    I don't care about "the hardware". I care about what it does. I have no more loyalty to Samsung than I do to Zotac. That's the nice thing about open platforms. I can dump my current hardware in a heartbeat should I have reason to do so. I can do so without hesitation or remorse.

    The entire platform is what matters.

    1. cloudgazer

      Erm, no. The 'haters' you mean were presumably Apple haters. They said that Android would take share from Apple, but as the article makes clear, that isn't what is happening. Both Android and Apple are building share in the total handset market. Android is building it faster, so the smartphone segment is growing as a whole. As a result Apple is holding steady in smartphone share. The fact that they're holding steady in the quarter immediately preceeding a big product update is actually pretty impressive.

      iPhone sales grew 143% YoY last quarter, the iJuggernaut is still chugging along pretty nicely.

      1. Craigness

        Share alike

        cloudgazer, if you want to show that Android has not taken market share from Apple (which you do) then you can't use the numbers presented here, because there is no breakdown of what Android buyers would have bought had Android not existed. Given that Android has half the market it's highly likely that they have taken share from Apple. The alternative is that RIM, Windows, Nokia etc would share that 56% between them (unless Android owners only entered the market to buy an Android). It looks like you're trying to claim that RIM and "Others" would be at 71% in an Android-less world and Apple still at 28%. Who's the hater?

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Android eating Apple's Lunch

          You can start counting with me. I dumped my iPhone for Android over basic phone features. The improved storage and media handling features were merely a nice bonus.

          After seeing my Android the wife became interested in dumping her iPhone. After seeing auntie's Thrive, she's interested in dumping her iPad. For now, sunk costs will allow the inertia of the situation to keep the status quo going. Although anything's possible now when it's time to upgrade those devices.

          Plenty of people could probably "take or leave" either "big brand". I suspect most people are like that in fact.

        2. cloudgazer


          The data does show that Android hasn't taken share away from Apple, it doesn't show that Android hasn't taken share from what Apple would have had if Android didn't exist, but then that's simply too contra-factual to worry about.

          Apple sold more units than ever before in the US. It's market is growing there. It almost certainly lost a few users to Android, but then Android almost certainly lost a few users to Apple. Both of them however gained more users from the featurephone market, and from RIM. When your share is growing or steady, you aren't losing share - how hard is that to understand?

          Asking how many units Apple would have sold if Android didn't exist is like asking how may angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    2. studentrights

      Be careful what you wish 4...

      Android is quickly becoming commoditized and with it will go the margins. Android is also being used primarily as a feature phone with marginal after market sales as uses are either unwilling or unable to buy apps and services.

      If you're a developer who is providing software and/or services then the money is on iOS. Apple only sells 28% of the phones but pulls in almost 60% of all handset profit. Clearly, developers will follow the money.

      If anything Android manufactures are barely turning a profit now. With Moto gaining favored status I see a lot of them jumping ship for Windows Phone 7. Either way Apple will be unharmed.

      The perils of possession without utilization

      Biggest mobile loser? The non-smart phone

      A new view into the phone market

  24. big_D Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Count me...

    I switched from iPhone to Android this month.

    I prefer Android to iOS, it feels "modern", iOS is feeling very dated and has been going steadily down hill in the last couple of releases. After my iPhone corrupted my Audible collection 3 times in 1 week, I jumped ship.

    One of our users here has jumped as well, although you could call it being pushed to Android by Apple... He has had 6 replacement iPhones in a year! With 2 of them being DoA (dead batteries), the rest with non functioning or weak WLAN, Bluetooth and 3G signals...

  25. mhenriday

    «And, yes, these are US numbers, not global.»

    Would it be asking too much of the Reg to include this information in the article headline ? Or would «Android outsells Apple 2:1 in US» been too demanding of the journal's limited resources ?...


  26. mhenriday

    StatCounter's statistics for the top eight mobile OS in the US

    ( show iOS and Android market share presently running neck and neck at around 40 % each. These figures represent both mobile phone and tablet, etc, use....


    1. cloudgazer

      Actually statcounter breaks the iPad out of mobile, you can see it if you switch to non-mobile by OS and note for the last few months there is an iOS figure of around 1%.

      That's the iPad.

      See for instance

      It's not clear if they yet break Android tablets out, if they do they're not big enough to show up yet on the non-mobile figures.

      But yes, in the US, iPhone+iPod is approximately the same as all Android.

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