I'm glad for NSA
-- Guy Fawkes
The latest numbers from analyst house IDC on global smartphone sales during the third quarter of the year make good reading for Google and Microsoft – but it appears that Blackberry is dead in the water. Of the 211.6 million smartmobes sold in the quarter, Android took 81 per cent of the market, ahead of Apple at 12.1 per cent …
@bitten - "It's more painful to Microsoft than Apple I think as Apple does not aim to anything other than the premium market."
If the market grows 39%, and Apple's sales only grew 25%, then Apple is the one that has the problem. Windows phone sales grew over 150% - about 4X the rate of market growth. Much of Windows' growth, I would guess, was at the expense of Apple.
We were reading these exact same headlines about Blackberry 3 years ago. Proprietary, locked-in hardware plus proprietary, locked-in software in a declining slice of the market. Bad, bad news for Tim Cook.
BlackBerry's problem was that it wanted to ship a modern OS in a touchscreen mobile. It didn't have the technology ready. So it threw away its existing customers in order to spend a few years developing a me too product.
Apple's problems are entirely distinct. It's comfortable servicing one segment of the market and that segment isn't growing much any more. It seems vaguely interested in other segments (per the 5C) but doesn't really seem to have much enthusiasm in pursuing them.
The two are in very different positions. It's likely that what happens to them from now on will be very different.
See also: what Windows did to Commodore and Atari versus what Windows did to Apple.
> Windows phone sales grew over 150% - about 4X the rate of market growth.
Article: 'Windows Phone handsets saw sales grow 156 per cent,'
IDC: ""Windows Phone handsets saw sales grow 156 per cent, ... with 9.5 million units during the period."""
They only did 3.7 million in Q32012. That was a particular low point because of the deadening of WP7 and the unavailability of WP8. In the previous quarter they sold 5.4 million.
fishman said: "So the growth of Windows Phone has been at the expense of Windows Mobile."
Exactly right. And at the expense of BlackBerry. Have you ever met anyone who would even contemplate giving up their iPhone for a WinPhone?? It is to laugh.
As far as that 150% growth... that's mathematically inevitable for any product that's starting from scratch. (Growth from zero market share to 0.01% is literally infinite, but completely meaningless) In reality, Microsoft is spending billions to subsidize its meager 3.6%, while Apple is making a juicy profit off its 12.1%. The two are much further apart than the high-level statistics suggest.
Microsoft's mistake was even thinking about competing with Apple, when Google is the big, fat target. And the one taking business that should have been Microsoft's, based on qualities like (relative) openness and friendliness with third-party hardware OEMs. If Microsoft had smoothly evolved Windows Mobile, perhaps making it play nicer with Windows proper, today it would BE Android.
Technically easy, yes. Except that it defines Apple as a follower. Already happened with the iPad mini. Apple buyers value the exclusivity, the innovation, the early adopter ideal just as much as the faux exclusivity of paying more than they need to for something. Much more of the "me too" offers and it'll be rather difficult to justify those fat margins, wouldn't you agree?
Luxury goods are a product of appealing to a select, tightly segmented elite clientele to start with. This clientele usually pays more for perceived quality, design and service. Then once you have a reputation for exclusivity and being fashion-forward, then you can cut the price SOMEWHAT and appeal to the upper portion of the mass market.
And no, I am not a huge fan of Apple's current mobile phone marketing. They are pushing themselves too far into an exclusive demographic.
"don't forget rounded corners. If you want rounded corners there's only one place to go. supposedly."
Rubbish. I got rounded corners when I bought an Asus TF201 Prime. It's an amazing tablet, an example of a manufacturer rushing to copy Apple instead of saying yah-boo, screw you. So the Prime has rounded corners and BEVELLED EDGES and it's light, too, thus satisfying all the 3-stone weaklings who wrote such glowing reviews of that tablet on its release. without actiually identifying any of its obvious flaws.
The combination of rounded corners and bevelled edges and lightness means -- but of course -- that no HDMI connectionm will stay in its socket; the microSD card misses its seat and is chewed up by the tablet; the screen works loose; and, er, on top of all that, the sodding thing is hopeless with wifi and even worse with GPS. And it freezes and crashes with increasing regularity as time goes by.
"Rounded corners" indeed. They just killed off an entire brand thanks to Asus's pathetic rush to turn its pioneering TF101 Transfrormer into a shoddy shabby Apple me-too. How nice it would be, as a customer, to be able to walk into the marketing department of an outfit like Asus and say: "You're all fvckin' fired!"
Actually it would be. When the WP8 Phablets are released Apple will have the lowest maximum screen resolution of the three top smartphone OS's and on a larger screen that is going to tell.
If you go back to the move from 4S to 5 there were teething problems with apps changing the screen ratio, a lot of apps had to be updated so that they didn't look stretched or have black borders.
Then there's the iPad issue. If the iPad mini (non-retina) is only and inch bigger and sports the same resolution are users expected to buy the iPad ir iPhone app? iPad apps are generally more expensive because of the higher resolution, that distinction will be lost on a Phablet.
at the moment and given Google's latest moves with data slurping and ads everywhere, one has to start to wonder if the infamous Apple Walled Garden might be the lesser of two evils.
This may not last though.
But you have to consider it but not that it matters to me either way as I don't use a smartphone.
Sadly for an awful lot of people the Google slurping etc matters not one little bit. Sad but true.
"Sadly for an awful lot of people the Google slurping etc matters not one little bit. Sad but true"
I don't mind terribly much if Google "slurps" my data. It's not like MS and Apple haven't been doing it for years, and if it means the inevitable ads are more relevant to me, and I can ignore them like I do the irrelevant ads, where's the harm?
Most of Google's slurping can be avoided by disabling Chrome, Maps, and Network Location Services. Alternatives are easy to come by. On the other hand, Apple is just getting their data slurping started and their mechanisms allow for no workaround.
Both are invasive. If you do nothing, iOS will probably spy on you less. If you work at it, Android will spy less. I'm not sure about Windows - I haven't even seen one yet.
Also, the 211M units of smartphones sold figure replicates multiple authors' errors on this subject - probably pasted from an errant press release in email. The actual figure for total smartphones shipped in the IDC report is 261M units. The 211M units figure is just the Android portion.
Though there is one interesting fact left out of the story. I believe that Apple still collects around half of the PROFIT in the smartphone market. Apple does not seem interested in quantity sold as much as profit earned. Samsung gets the other half of the profit. Samsung clearly believes in quantity sold to get the job done. Looks like all the other Android makers are pretty much getting killed.
Another thought; Microsoft is cleaning up with $10 or so earned on most every Android phone sold! May be the reason Samsung is pushing its Tizen OS, especially on lower cost devices for the "emerging" markets. Would be pretty funny if the company that really make Android go switched to another OS for most of its phones.
@AC 21:07 - " Apple does not seem interested in quantity sold as much as profit earned."
That's what we were all saying about Blackberry 3 years ago. The market share might decline, but the profits will keep rolling in because everyone "needs" their phones.
Yeah, that really worked out well.
I wish we were given reasonably accurate numbers and separation of "types". It seems to me that there is a subset of "smartphones" that actually live between what is a proper smartphone and what is classified as a feature phone.
For example, if you take the Nokia S60 in its base design, it by no means matches the level of a HTC-One. The question is if you change out the OS for Android, does the OS itself qualify a phone to be a "smartphone" or are there other characteristics to be considered. I believe this is a long time debate that has never been answered and really should be answered to give proper weighting to the values that are given in the market.
Unfortunately the post-pc era (or the world of mobile computing if you prefer) is bleeding so many lines of distinction that simplified numbers are no longer meaningful.
Not counting Workplace BBs, I am on my 3rd SmartPhone (all Android). I had never heard of a wakelock.
A quick Google and browse tells me what it is but I don't think I will worry about them. There are loads of things that I could look into but I am fine without them.
It's a SmartPhone if you have a general purpose computer inside your phone. The smartness of such devices varies. That is why Apple can truthfully sell its devices as such and there are plenty under £50 that are even feebler but a good phone - HTC, Nokia, Samsung or whatever may have more computing power than NASA had in 1969 when they put people on the moon. They certainly allow you to install confusing apps but it's not compulsory!
I've tried 3 different Android phones. The Samsung and Sony were both great pieces of hardware, but the OS is frankly shite!
The impression I get from Android is that it's been made to be just good enough to do the job, and then punted to the handset makers Arthur Daley fashion by Google, whispering in their shell likes how much money they can save, how expensive it would be to develop their own, how it would be "in their interests" etc... and we have to put up with the landfill garbage results.
"Can you describe in what ways you felt the OS was shite? Something specific?"
The feel of it was somehow unpolished. It didn't run very smoothly (3 different phones, both Android 2.2 and 4). And it couldn't do the basics (for me): it failed miserably syncing my Exchange email mailboxes (something a Blackberry does flawlessly), the calendar was woeful, the battery life was awful (I realise this is also an iPhone problem). And the alarm couldn't even wake me up in the morning unless I left the phone switched ON overnight, which my mobile phones have been doing since heaven knows when!
I'll say this for the iPhone, at least it feels very smooth and well integrated. I've yet to experience Windows Phone.
Maybe you get this using any computer interface? 'Droid is perfectly good enough for anyone with a brain. In fact they are all (Droid, Apple & WinPho) perfectly good enough for anyone with a brain. Even my girlfriend can use her frankly shite HTC running Droid. Maybe you're missing a brain?
That's "niche" for everybody else. Also: no money. There is no profit whatever in the rest.
It would be possible to say Apple is falling behind here as well except gadzukes they are turning some huge and growing profits doing it. It's hard to call that an unsuccessful strategy. They're making hay while the sun shines. Also, they launched new phones and the holidays are upon us - both times when they traditionally do beyond well. The next report should have their registers ringing a merry tune.
Above it all we all get a pair of robust, growing ecosystems delivering ever more innovation and service, driving price points to new lows at the same time. Real progress in tech is nothing short of amazing. My phone has the power of a laptop and as many pixels as a bigscreen TV. It knows what I need and want, and is ever Johnny-on-the-spot. What a great time to be in technology.
If the press would bother to report and compare the true costs of owning a smartphone -- the two year data plan -- then people would see that even a $100 or $200 cost differential up front, is not much compared to the overall cost.
I had an Android phone for two years, a Motorola Droid 2 Global. Last December at contract renewal time I switched to an iPhone 5. No regrets. Much better battery life, more reliable service, no need to reboot the phone every day or two (which was a standard suggestion in the Android help system at the time).
In another 13 months when my contract is up, I'll look around at the market and see what is new and interesting. But I don't think I'll want a bigger phone.
I can't see having to have clown-pockets added to all my pants.
I'm sure it's not just me, but companies STILL end up building iOS apps first with Android apps as an afterthought, often years down the line (Sky Go for example!). I understand the fragmentation issue but with 70-80% of the phone market and at least a majority in the tablet market (Results differ on Analyst sites) - and more importantly - rising. I know Android device users often fall into the cheapskate category - is this what drives those decisions? If you make Smartphone apps - what is your decision tree for choosing which platform to develop first?
This is the question that really matter the most IMO. Right now apple has built enough momentum and the right clientel that even without a majority of the smartphone userbase, they still get the most app revenue. For me as an app developer there is only one question to determine if I should release a new feature for android or iOS: which will increase my bottom line fastest. So far I sell more $5 apps with apple, so I start there first.
I think this is going to shift sooner or later once android's user marketshare gets so big that the ios app marketshare of revenue will drop below 50%. At that moment, we will see developers start to code, fix, innovate on android before ios. This will of course become more of a feedback loop until some other constraint holds things up for apple.
It is possible that apple can hang onto the 50% revenue marketshare, but not unless they stem the tide of userbase marketshare soon.
Another point to mention is apple really makes developing a PITA at times which given they are the leaders at the moment of doling out app money allows them to do so. Once they see their margins fall, a little humility can go a long way to fixing those problems.
@Daniel Voyce: The problem is not just fragmentation - it's piracy.
As you rightly state, fragmentation is still an issue, making Android the platform requiring the greatest investment of time to maintain an app on. At the same time, it also offers the lowest per-unit return: just google "android piracy rate" and you'll see estimates of between 80 and 90% of installations being pirate copies.
I was taken aback by this myself: I've been developing games for Windows Phone over the last couple of years: this year I decided to try and port some of my titles to Android and iOS. Having done my research and finding these figures, plus the amount of fiddling about I had to do to try and ensure my Android version ran on as many handsets as possible, I found myself questioning the value of Android as a market.
I'll probably still launch on Android, but I'm not going to be too fussed about maintaining/updating for that platform. At least, not until I know it'll give me a similar per-hour return on my work to iOS/WinPhone.
I don't think it's piracy or fragmentation. Fragmentation has a lot of API addressing it pretty decently, I think. Although in the limited segment of games piracy is an issue on Android, it's not really spread to other varieties of app, and it's mainly an issue only in certain foreign markets (Russia, China) where Apple doesn't sell at all, so you'd hardly be able to reach them any better on another platform.
I think the problem is that Android is the easiest platform to develop for, ergo the marketplace is more competitive. Plus Google makes it very easy to go the free app + ads route. A lot of people doing the iOS thing move over to Android and get eaten alive because a free app that does the same comes around, on iOS that doesn't happen nearly as much.
Also what was said before, TV and movies like to namedrop Apple exclusives rather than Android exclusives, there are still a large number of exclusives both ways. Especially where games are concerned. So the iOS types are unaware they're missing out on Principia or Apparatus, but Android owners are aware they're missing out on whatever the newest iOS exclusive is.
According to Rovio (Angry Birds devs) they projected that it wasn't worth selling the Android version of their game because of piracy, so they filled it up with adverts and gave it away instead.
Developers DO target Apple first, BECAUSE of the walled garden, they don't care if you don't like it, it's all about the money of course.
That's totally untrue. It's the media fault for telling you about the latest iOS app and then you go look for the android version. This will always be a sure fire way to fail.
Principia for example is currently android only and I bet you never heard of it...
From 2007 to 2011 while they were ahead in share Apple accrued a huge installed base. While most of the earliest devices have been retired some iPhone 2 and 3 are still in use as hand-me-downs, and of course iPhone 4 is still on sale. Most people generally don't throw away a $700 device that has resale value and remains a great media and gaming handheld. Android devices have a shorter life cycle for a variety of reasons. It takes a while for growth of the market and gross quarterly sales to achieve a dominant installed base. We are just turning that corner now as web usage numbers are achieving parity.
IPhone will still draw first developer interest for a while yet because premium device customers make premium app customers, and developer inertia. There is a definite cost to moving to a new unfamiliar platform, though that cost is less than finding a new popular idea.
If the Android:iPhone sales ratio continues at 5:1 for another year none of that will matter any more. It turns into the Windows vs Mac uneven battle again. Then we get to have this discussion again in reverse.
All valid points, It's good to know the thought process behind this, and while I wasn't specifically asking after the "Companies who create and sell apps as standalone products" - It was more the "Companies who offer a mobile product alongside their main offering" - E.g. Sky Go, Netflix, Hulu etc, they all started out with iPhone only apps at the start and in some cases took years to offer anything on Android.
I can see why Android would frustrate the hell out of App Developers, Being open obviously gives way to easier piracy, however Iphones are not immune to this, however the process of Jailbreaking a phone is much more involved than simply sideloading a ripped off APK.
Then there is the 3rd Bracket, where companies build apps that are limited to specific devices where there is absolutely no reason for this. I guess its a marketing / brokered deal with them, Foxtel here in Australia has just released an Android version of Foxtel Go (Similar to Sky Go!) but have limited it to Samsung Galaxy devices - for absolutely no reason! I thought it might be because it was using TouchWiz for something - but nope! If I rename my phone in my build.prop it works - There is no need for that!
Great to see the Lumia 520 & 620 getting the sales they deserve. 2 Great, fast, affordable smartphones that will do 80% if the tasks of an iPhone / S4 for 1/4 of the price.
Apple missed a trick not having a low end mass market phone and Android OS needs a cleanup for the low end phones as its performance is dreadful on phones like the Galaxy Ace. Reports are saying the new version is a big improvement whether it will be available to compete with the Lumia's for christmas is another question.
Interesting times and good for the consumer.
Yes, it is - If I sell one Power Station and then two more, it is fantastic news.
If you meant 'phones of course then one is a stupid number, it is millions. If you sell millions you are selling enough to have development, marketing, support and encourage app development. There is probably even profit to be made.
Luckily, WP looks good for the indefinite future, A Nokia 1020 makes the next two years no problem, Apple don't even have wireless charging, had that since I got a Lumia 920, a revelation hardly noticed because so many do not have it - when it does come to more 'phones, especially iPhones it will suddenly be must-have, amazing blah, blah, blah.
So, go on about how Instacrap is not available or some meaningless drivel and I will charge wirelessly and having a working 'phone with loads of charge instead.
And yes, I know S4s and Nexus have wireless charging too, good for them - good for me if more places have charging pads to top up when one is burning power mapping or videoing etc.