back to article Yep, it's true: Android is the poor man's phone worldwide

Android’s market share globally is closely tied to the spending power of a particular market and it dominates in low-income countries, a survey of real-time usage has confirmed. Android has 92.25 per cent of the Egyptian smartphone market, ranked 120th in GDP per capita, and 88.71 per cent in India, ranked 142nd. By contrast …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    This is silly. There are things you can do on Android which you simply can't do on iOS because it is too locked down. This is why people use Android. Price is just a nice bonus :)

    1. Scubadynamo

      I switched to Android after 8 years of iphone in February. I cannot wait to get an iphone again. So much so that I will sell my G3 and replace it with the next new iPhone. Android just isnt as nice, its slower, less reliable and I get ads come up as notifications on some dodgy apps and I could go on.

      On paper Android looks great but the reality is that its a bit rubbish.

      1. DryBones

        Might I suggest uninstalling the apps, then? If you put crap on the phone, there will be crap on the phone.

        1. Fazal Majid

          It's difficult

          When the crap in question is all the privacy-voiding software built into the OS itself by Google.

        2. yeahyeah

          Unless it's IOS where every app is sandboxed from the rest of the system therefore it cannot affect it's performance. Also you can uninstall all you want but it's possible there will be stuff that still remains in system even after you uninstall. Lagdroid is much like windows, it slows down over time (except windows performs smoothly at start, lagdroid is never smooth) so the only way to get back somewhat acceptable performance is to wipe and reset and repeat that every 2 weeks.

          Sorry but iOS is just a superior app drawer that doesn't bog down and doesn't allow background processes to run without your knowledge. Iphone (unjaibroken) does all what 99.95% of people need at way superior performance and experience.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>This is silly. There are things you can do on Android which you simply can't do on iOS because it is too locked down.

      Ironically this is why I use an iPhone. I like to have some confidence that my phone is doing what I want at any given time (not running a bunch of stuff in the background) and that whatever apps I install aren't going to gum up the system or pose a security threat (recent exploits notwithstanding). Bring on the lockdown.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > Ironically this is why I use an iPhone. I like to have some confidence that my phone is doing what I want at any given time

        And ironically that's precisely why I use F-Droid. :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Eh?

      For most people, Android is just cheaper than Apple. For most of them couldn't care less about the things that you can do on Android and can't on IOS.

      Can they Tweet? Yep

      Can they Post on Instagram? Yep

      Can they post on Facebook? Yep

      etc

      etc

      Can it make phone calls? Yep

      Not that I use either but having spent some time this past year working in India cost is the big factor. Plus Apple phones are just not readily available in the wider country.

      So what are thse USP's that Android has over IOS? Why isn't the likes of Google and Samsung telling the world at every opportunity about them? Are they even relevant to most users?

      1. Naselus

        Re: Eh?

        "Can it make phone calls? Yep"

        I thought that depends on whether you hold it right...

    4. td97402

      It really is about price...

      I would be willing to bet that half of the market share that Google enjoys is based on low-end, sort of smart phones in use in 3rd world countries. I'd go further and say that much of the Android install base is not Google Play attached due to these non-conforming, low-cost, low performance phones. They're kind of the new "feature phone", Smart-In-Name-Only.

      1. os2baba

        Re: It really is about price...

        And I doubt that you would be wrong. But just because half of the Android marketshare is low end, doesn't mean that it's high end marketshare is low. In fact, just as in this article, Business Insider ran an article last year with a similar headline - belied by real numbers. Take a look at the graph at https://plus.google.com/+EricRichardson/posts/3tsBbXNv4nt

        The thing is that Android is for everyone. Even on high end phones, Android phones outsell iPhones. Even in the US, the bastion of Apple, Android phones outsell iPhones. Basically Android outsells iOS in every price category and range.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It really is about price...

          I highly doubt Android outsells iPhone in its price category (i.e. the price at or above which all iPhones sell; $450 in the US) It is probably even more true in the flagship category, but that's harder to know since Apple doesn't break out sales between the flagship, last year's flagship and "cheap" two year old model.

          Consider that iPhone comes pretty close to Android's sales in the US. I don't have more recent stats handy, but the 3rd quarter of 2014 (i.e. the quarter which benefited from only 10 days or so of iPhone 6 sales; always their slowest quarter) iPhone had 41.5% of the US market versus 53.8% for Android. Do you really think that fewer than 12.3% of that number (i.e. a bit less than a quarter of all Androids sold in the US) cost less than the cheapest iPhone? That hardly seems likely. Therefore, in the US at least, I believe iPhone sells better in its price category than Android.

          Judging from the iPhones sales in the UK the same would be true there. To judge worldwide we'd need to find some stats of what percentage of Android sales fall into which price categories. Not sure anyone would really have that number, or if they do it is at best an estimate, but it would be interesting to see data.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @karlkarl

      Give me a break! Sure, there are things you can do on Android you can't do on iOS. About 2% of the smartphone users could name one (and 90% of those also know that an iPhone can be jailbroken and those restrictions removed) That's not why Android is dominant. I guess you must believe that disproportionately more people want to do those things with their phone the lower the GDP?

      I know you'd like to believe that the average buyer looks at the pros and cons of each platform, takes into account the GPL, Apple's walled garden, and so on, but that's not how it works outside the type of people who read the Reg. I could argue that people who choose Android are people who don't care about privacy, and people who do choose iPhone because Apple doesn't make their money selling your personal information they make their money selling you the phone. But I know that's no more the case than your explanation, since there's probably pretty much the same 2% of people who understand this.

    6. Dave 126 Silver badge

      >This is silly. There are things you can do on Android which you simply can't do on iOS because it is too locked down.

      I agree. Conversely though, there is stuff you can do with iDevices that is harder or impossible to do on Android devices. I'm mostly thinking of 3rd party peripheral hardware and 3rd party software.

      [Insert link to Reg article about the spending habits of iOS users on apps]

      [Insert list of iOS-supporting headsets, speaker docks, electric guitar cables, microphones etc]

      I'm an Android user. If I highlight shortcomings in Android and its 'ecosystem', it is because I want Android to be better.

    7. Neil Alexander

      re. things you can do on Android which you simply can't do on iOS because it is too locked down

      Does the average person want to do these things? Probably not.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android has nothing to do with price or being cheap. It's just an OS that is open source so can run on damn near any hardware. The fact that manufacturers choose to make cheap hardware as well as expensive hardware is irrelevant.

      Despite the attempt at a provocative headline, the real-world translation is: Android performs well enough to run on cheap hardware so manufacturers run it on cheap hardware.

      1. Naselus

        "I highly doubt Android outsells iPhone in its price category (i.e. the price at or above which all iPhones sell; $450 in the US)"

        It does, and quite comfortably (when measuring world-wide). Samsung alone tends to come out at roughly the same sales numbers as Apple, even in the US. Apple's secret isn't in the bulk of their sales; it's in the 300%+ markup and end-to-end control of the product's sales chain. Even using 'free' Android, other phone makers tend to run at a much, much lower profit margin, usually by including vastly beefier hardware.

        For example, the flagship Samsung of each generation tends to pack vastly more grunt that the flagship iPhone while going to market at the same price. Comparing the specs on an S5 vs an iPhone 6, the Sammy has twice the RAM, a processor with twice the number of cores operating at twice the speed, higher resolution screen and camera... it's basically a better machine in every respect, and by a hell of a margin in most areas.

        Android phones that are roughly equivalent specs to the iPhone tend to be at a £200 price point... giving them a markup of <100%, much of which is taken by the retailer rather than the manufacturer. The crisis in Android manufacturers has nothing to do with a market share problem and everything to do with paying twice as much to build the machine in the first place, and then having to sell it at a lower price.

        Oh, and as to

        "Android performs well enough to run on cheap hardware so manufacturers run it on cheap hardware."

        Quite the inverse, tbh. You get better performance from iOS than from 'Droid on the same hardware. That's why Apple can push out 'flagship' phones with lower specs than the previous generation Android flagships; that Fisher-Price-style My-First-OS is quite light on the system, so Apple can buy (relatively) cheap hardware.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Perhaps you should check the benchmarks and see how those cores running at "twice the speed" are not faster than the "slow" cores in the iPhone. I guess you're one of the suckers who believes that more MHz = faster and bought a P4 PC instead the lower-clocked but faster Athlon 64 back in the day.

          And while Samsung does outsell Apple worldwide (except for Q4 last year) most of their sales are low end. Apple sells more iPhones in a quarter than Samsung sells of all their high end Sx and Note x phones for an entire year - and for part of the year the Sx is usually getting discounted heavily enough it would fall below the $450 retail price. The S6 is only a couple months old and it is already discounted down below $550 online...by the time the next iPhone launches the S6 will be under $450 and its sales will no longer count under my claim.

          1. Naselus

            "Perhaps you should check the benchmarks and see how those cores running at "twice the speed" are not faster than the "slow" cores in the iPhone. I guess you're one of the suckers who believes that more MHz = faster and bought a P4 PC instead the lower-clocked but faster Athlon 64 back in the day."

            Sure thing. Here's the benchmarks:

            http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/mobile-phone/whats-fastest-phone-2015-uk-may-3515533/

            If you scroll down to the second benchmark, where it does the multi-core check, you'll note that the top spots are all held by 'droids. At the very top, the Sammy S6 clocks at 4438, and the Edge at over 5k. If you scroll down far enough, you'll encounter the iPhone 6 plus at 2900 and the regular 6 at around 2700... somewhat below the old Note 4.

            Remind me again what I'm supposed to be seeing here that contradicts my post above? I guess you're one of the suckers that thinks sticking an Apple logo on someone else's hardware makes it perform better even if the hardware is half as powerful. As I said, the iPhone does well with half the grunt, because the OS is lightweight. It doesn't do well because it's actually good hardware.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Perhaps you'd care to tell me which apps exactly take advantage of four cores. Very few PC apps are capable of that, I doubt any phone apps do. Even with multitasking phone apps run fast for a fraction of a second but spend most of their time sleeping. If you ran all four cores flat out on a S6 not only would it get hot, it would burn down the battery in 45 minutes.

              But bravo on completely ignoring the very first benchmark that shows the iPhone 6 as the fastest phone in the single core test, despite being clocked half as high as the S6, not to mention taking top spot in other tests like browser performance and graphics tests.

            2. StuCom

              Gaming benchmarks is something of an Android manufacturer obsession (they have to differentiate somehow) so I would take some salt with benchmark results. But..

              You need that horsepower to make an Android UI work smoothly. Boom!

              No, ask yourself who needs that CPU horsepower? Why? Is it being used well?

              In the real world, iPhones play games that are *every bit* as good as, or (sometimes significantly) better than anything on Android. The UI really is smoother. Using the phone really is snappier. You might not like the OS but you have to give it to them, they know what they're doing when building their hardware and software together.

              Perhaps the processors are better in the real world than benchmarks can reveal. Perhaps IOS is just more efficient, or the APIs are better or the OS is prioritising the right things to make those phones work better than Android. Perhaps with fewer hardware options (and one OS version used almost universally) app designers get to optimise their code better. Perhaps the tools are better. Possibly all of the above are true.

              Seriously. Put the banjo down, pick up an iPhone 6 and play your favourite game or run your favourite app. Tell me it isn't just as good (or better) than on the Android. Coz it is, benchmarks smenchmarks.

              Lastly, you can't seriously think that as many Androids are sold on the "high-end" as iPhones (based on price as-sold). Every iPhone is a high-end phone, Samsung have about 30 different models on sale right now with, what, 5 or 6 of them current "high end" phones? Same for LG, Sony..

    9. Ian Joyner Bronze badge

      People who want a general-purpose programming and computer hobbyist environment should get a general-purpose computer where they can play to their hearts content.

      Devices like smartphones, etc are used by the masses who don't care about that stuff. Apple has that right. Most programmers I know choose Mac anyway for their experiments. Google just fools programmers into thinking programming on a little handheld device has some benefit - it doesn't - except as a benefit to hackers.

  2. Mage Silver badge

    It proves

    That being better off just means you are better off, not smarter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It proves

      No, but it certainly proves you can't be counted amongst those who are "smart" because you assume that your belief that Android is better is a fact rather than the personal opinion that it actually is.

      I personally think I made the smart decision in going with iPhone but I'm smart enough to realize that's just my opinion and others will reach different conclusions. If people stopped treating this like some sort of religious crusade and assuming those who choose a different phone than they do are obviously stupid or worse the collective IQ of internet forums would be raised by a dozen points.

  3. Richard Jones 1

    Wow

    People with more money, spend more money and don't much worry about where they spend their cash. Who would have guessed that?

    I am still struggling to find a reason to buy any oversize go flat mobile phone so I stick with a non Apple, non Android phone that suits exactly what I need. Sure a charge now 'only lasts three days or so but it is nearly ten years old. As for mobile internet, no use or need, mobile disco in my ear, thanks but no thanks - with knobs on!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow

      I still am trying to justify my actions of a few days ago. My trusty Nokia dumb phone finally gave up the ghost and literally fell apart - the sticky tape finally gave up being sticky. Needing a phone I went to the discount electronics store. The cheapest dumb phone that would take my standard SIM was more expensive than a dualsim smartphone. I ended up with the smartphone because it makes phone calls and only needs charging once a week.

      Yes there was a lot of junk on it but a little judicious tweaking removed most of that and I now don't have to change the SIM when I travel over the boarder.

      It has two advantages, I can use it over a wifi network to make voip calls and the camera is convenient for taking quick reminder pictures when on a site survey.

  4. DryBones

    Emotion rules reason.

    Same as it ever was.

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Rational decisions

    This tells us more about people than it does about technology, i.e.that fashion guides most people's decision making rather than any rational decision about use or value for money.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rational decisions

      Once people have a certain amount of disposable income, their buying choices cease to be strictly economic. What they don't consider is that each sub-optimal buying decision reduces their disposable income until they can no longer avoid strict economic decisions.

      Also, people in the new middle class (i.e. people who now have disposable income) are likely to be financially unsophisticated; there were a lot of people who failed to notice that bit about investments going down as well as up. Thus, their prediction of their economic status in future is likely to be optimistic to say the least.

      The trick is to get to where you can milk this for all it is worth, and Apple have achieved this.

      1. Francis Boyle

        Re: Rational decisions

        "What they don't consider is that each sub-optimal buying decision reduces their disposable income until they can no longer avoid strict economic decisions."

        Well the point of being rich is that you will never have to make those "strict economic decisions". Good old conspicuous consumption for ever and ever. Of course if you're merely well off and you don't recognise this then maybe you have a problem.

    2. Thomas Wolf

      Re: Rational decisions

      It is certainly true that it tells us more about people than about technology - but I beg to differ with you on what it tells us about people. You're of the opinion that anyone who buys Apple products does so out of fashion sense instead of rational thinking. Sure, if your definition of 'rational thinking' are thoughts guided solely by the amount of money you pay for the hardware & specs & number of software functions (irrespective of how polished they may be). But, believe it or not, people can make rational decisions based on a host of other dimensions - usability, relative freedom from malware, privacy, easy of updating to the newest version of the OS, etc. are all perfectly rational reasons for choosing a device - and, for many, Apple devices are hands-down the better choice in these regards.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rational decisions

      >>This tells us more about people than it does about technology, i.e.that fashion guides most people's decision making rather than any rational decision about use or value for money.

      For $75 you can get a new phone that does basically the same stuff as any other phone.

      So, what phone do you have, and did it cost you more than $75? And if so, how do you justify this "irrational" purchasing decision?

      Buying a top-of-the-line phone from any vendor (they all cost about the same) simply involves more of the same justification.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Rational decisions

        >For $75 you can get a new phone that does basically the same stuff as any other phone.

        The operative word is 'basically'. I could have a phone that takes a few seconds to register every input, and whist it is basically doing the same as a faster phone, it would be incredibly frustrating to use.

        The functions may be 'basically' the same, but the experience won't be.

        Of course, over time the phones sold for $75 will be fast and pleasant to use for any given function.

        I'm not saying that you should go 'flagship' spec.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rational decisions

          >>The operative word is 'basically'. I could have a phone that takes a few seconds to register every input, and whist it is basically doing the same as a faster phone, it would be incredibly frustrating to use.

          First, that's too unrealistic to really argue about. For $75 you can get a phone with a Snapdragon S4 which is going to be about as fast as e.g. Samsung Galaxy SII or HTC One X. Those were top of the line phones only a few years ago and people still happily use them today. They certainly don't take a few seconds to register every input.

          Second, you're really almost making my point. You're willing to pay some extra money for an experience that's somewhat better (less frustration) but really makes no practical difference. How do you quantify how much that sort of improvement is worth to you? And if I want to buy a flagship phone because I'm less "frustrated" with its processor, screen, camera, etc. then what's to say that isn't a rational purchasing decision?

    4. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Rational decisions

      Luckily for me cost is not an issue when choosing a phone as I get handed all manner of phones, I have drawers full of them. So I can just choose what works best, and so I normally use a Blackberry. They just work better than everything else and the UI is brilliant. Using IOS or Android always feels like a step back to the stone age.

      Now if I was some self absorbed teenager needing to inform the world of every vacuous thought that popped into my head and to share my best duck face photos I'd probably choose something else. Thankfully I'm decades past that.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rational decisions

      No Terry, it tells us people like you are cheap as well as arrogant and pompous.

  6. ThomH Silver badge

    A quick summary of every post that will follow this story

    I, the poster, consider it axiomatic that my judgment of the relative quality of Apple's and Google's products is objectively valid.

    Ergo the empirically observed correlation between wealth and buying Apple means that <rich people don't optimise their spending/people buy Google only if they must> (delete as applicable).

    1. frank ly

      Re: A quick summary of every post that will follow this story

      I would have been impressed if yours was the first post.

  7. billat29
    IT Angle

    Apple is a Fashion House

    They make them cheap and sell them dear.

    They are things of beauty. All the best people have one, there's so much hype and it just says so much about you.

    Every so often there is a new one. Does much the same as the old one but you have to have one. After all, who wants to wear last season's designer clothes?

    Nasssty Andriody does much the same but would your wife (if you have one) prefer Clarks or Jimmy Choos? After all, they are both just shoes aren't they?

    And for all those making technical judgements? Well, my friend, you are not the target market.

    Am I running Apple down? No way. I'm lost in admiration.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple is a Fashion House

      I'd say that they are intensely focussed on design but they also are into engineering. The resulting product clearly shows the result of both.

      I recently ran a video player for RTSP streams on an iPhone 4s and an iPhone 6 side-by-side and there was no comparison. The 4s was very sluggish to launch and update stream thumbnails. The 6 was was fluid and fast. There have been performance gains every year in Apple and other manufacturer's phones. It is not just have this year's fashion.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Apple is a Fashion House

        I also know people who have disposable income, and still use their iPhone 4Ss. It does everything they want of a phone, it is compact by Android or modern iPhone standards, it is still in one piece, and for anything more they use a computer or an iPad.

        I've never owned an iPhone, but the 4S seems pretty well put together, and the engineer in me suspects that it wouldn't have been felled by the incident that has just trashed my Xperia (which has a thin ABS bezel and not an aluminium one. My main gripe with Sony is the poor design of their official case rather than the phone itself)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Didnt we already know this?

    Why would Apple cut their margins to the bone to go head-to-head with Android in emerging markets? There are plenty of cars, watches, clothes etc that are way overpriced purely to create the scarcity that appeals to people's vanity and desire to present themselves as better off than everyone else. The fact that competing products are as good or better puts a shelf-life on that approach, but they have plenty of room to cut if they ever need to compete on anything other than status.

    For me, the Apple gloss wore off years ago and while good, their stuff is just over-hyped and over-priced compared to the alternatives.

  9. Mikel

    There are only two viable phone ecosystems: Apple and Android. They are 96% of the market. Apple doesn't sell an affordable phone, therefore Android wins "poor man's phone" by default. Since Apple also doesn't do a lot of other things, Android also gets "keyboard phone", " removable battery phone", "SD card Phone", " Broad selection phone ", " Keyboard slider phone", "Projector phone", and about a thousand other categories Apple decides not to compete in.

  10. os2baba

    All this shows is web usage statistics from a single company measuring it. It makes total sense for countries like India where the phone is very often the only means of connecting to the internet where looking at mobile web statistics may well be the actual usage pattern. And it also makes sense that in those countries, the iPhone is going to be at the losing end drastically because of price.

    But it makes no sense to conflate web usage with phone sales in developed nations. It never failed to amaze me that many of my iPhone toting friends used their tiny 3.5" devices to surf the web when they had a PC in front of them. In spite of excellent 5" screens on my Android devices, I always preferred to use my 27" monitors for browsing. With multiple tabs and large real estate and quick navigation and better keyboard (not withstanding the excellent SwiftKey), it always seemed idiotic to me.

    I dumped my iPhone (much better hardware) for the G1 and since then have always purchased flagship Android phones sometimes more expensive than the iPhones (Note 2). I'm not an outlier - as the IDG report shows.

  11. Bloodbeastterror

    I don't consider...

    ...myself to be materialistically poor (I earn a good salary) but I do think that I'm technologically literate (I've worked with computers for over thirty years).

    My choice is Android, not for price reasons (I bought a Nexus 6, for god's sake) but because I can't stand the walled-garden over-protective over-weaning over-intrusive proprietary self-congratulatory attitude of Apple.

    My thought is that you *buy* an Android, but you just *rent* an Apple in the hope that they don't take offence and brick it if you try to use all its capabilities by rooting it (I think fanbois refer to it as "jailbreaking").

    1. Mike Bell

      Re: I don't consider...

      I don't consider...

      ...myself to be materialistically poor (I earn a good salary) but I do think that I'm technologically literate (I've worked with computers for over thirty years).

      My choice is iOS, not for price reasons (I bought an iPhone 6, for god's sake) but because I like an easy life where my phone does stuff with minimal hassle and inconvenience, and I know that the vendor has my privacy in mind.

      My thought is that you *buy* an iPhone, but you just *rent* an Android device in the hope that they will keep its firmware up to date and don't worry too much about mobile malware and stuff like that (I think fandroids refer to it as "la-la-la").

      It's horses for courses, you see.

  12. DropBear
    Devil

    No problemo

    All those who manage to convince themselves they don't really want to do anything Apple's shiny-but-always-three-steps-behind-bog-standard-tech kit doesn't let them do are certainly quite free to throw away their disposable income any which way they like for all I care. I'm not their keeper, if they're happy in their little gilded cages they're more than welcome to stay there. Just don't try to force any of that stuff on me or else I won't be responsible for my actions. There's not enough money in the world that you could offer me to even touch any of that iPOS.

    1. Planetary Paul

      Force?

      > Just don't try to force any of that stuff on me.....

      Is anyone doing that then? I'd be outraged if anyone would force me to use an iPhone, and I am an iPhone user.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No problemo

      >>All those who manage to convince themselves they don't really want to do anything Apple's shiny-but-always-three-steps-behind-bog-standard-tech kit doesn't let them do

      I guess your aversion to Apple has prevented you from being informed about their products. They really are very high-end. If you read this review, you can see that almost every aspect of the iPhone 6 is either better than, or roughly as good as, any other Android phone:

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/8554/the-iphone-6-review

      That means CPU performance, GPU performance, battery life, time to charge the battery, display quality, camera performance, camera image quality, etc.

  13. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Apple don't make "cheap" products.

    The iSuppli Bill Of Materials (BOM) estimates – and they really are JUST estimates – completely and utterly ignore the product design and development efforts for both the hardware and software components. iOS is not licensed to any third parties; it's strictly an Apple-only OS and that means Apple need to meet the costs of developing that component as well when selling their iPhones and iPads. iSuppli and their ilk never include this in their estimates.

    Nor do they include the costs of other loss-making aspects of producing these products, such as providing developers with up-to-date documentation and support, maintaining iCloud and the synchronisation back-end, and so on. Only iTunes and the App Stores are intended to at least break even, or make a profit, though none of these provides more than a fraction of Apple's revenues. The rest of it is loss-making, but is required to provide features like Continuity. (As Samsung, HTC, and their peers don't make desktop PCs, they're limited in how much they can support such things. Android has no desktop counterpart as such.)

    All of these things add up and form part of the real BOM.

    Android handles *all* of that shit for Samsung, HTC, etc., so iSuppli's BOM for those companies' devices are much closer to the mark. They invest next to f*ck all in Android's development. Yet somehow, Samsung still manages to find a way to charge iPhone prices for their "flagship" Android phones.

    1. Big_Ted
      FAIL

      Re: Apple don't make "cheap" products.

      OK the answer to your post to try to offer a balance.

      iOS costs ? well since it already exists its mostly adding new bits and changing the UI look feel and method.

      So if we imagine there are say 1000 people programming iOS changes and they earn say $200,000, thats $200,000,000 a year, last year they sold about 170 million iphones and 65 million ipads. so thats less than $1 a year per unit. allow $5 billion for costs per year and wow thats just over $20 per unit.....

      Sorry your figures don't add up, especially when you look at Apples profits last year.

  14. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    Maybe ...

    ... it is wonderful having the choices?

    And maybe even mores there are no superiors or inferiors there are just preferences that best manifest the hardware, software, firmware, X-wares out there?

    Just thinking that's all?

    EDIT: Yawn! Is the moderator awake? [yes – mod.]

  15. gurugeorge

    Totally agree. iPhone user who went to android, and want to go back. Ppl forget for the same specs apple runs MUCH Faster than droid on the same clock speed. applecare basically replaces ur phone whenever, new for old, FaceTime & iMessage integration, simplicity with restore etc, new phone even has my recent calls lists, saved games etc after 1 click restore from cloud.

  16. Dana W

    The fact that my iPhone does not suffer from the platform fragmentation that is the curse of Android is a big bonus. My used phones at the end of their contract sell for top $$$. And my phone does not need an antivirus. Seriously? Anti virus on your phone? People do that?

    I could care less about fashion, It works well, and holds its value. As to locked down, my Android powered Nvidia Shield had to be root kitted and have its boot-loader unlocked to be made useful. If that isn't locked down, I'd like to know what its.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this proves what ?

    An idiot and their money are easily parted ?

  18. All names Taken
    Paris Hilton

    So when ...

    ... will an Android desktop/laptop/notebook/big tablet with/without keyboards be available?

    Has Big G got a business plan in place?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: So when ...

      Been out for several years now.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Horses for courses

    I may be a corner case but this is the way I see it (and I have a background in cost reducing systems.)

    If I could only have one portable device capable of making phone calls and accessing Internet services I would have an iPhone 6+. It's good at those things and its graphics are extremely good.

    However, for portable use I want a small phone for when I am out on foot (a lot), a larger device for responding to emails in cafés and places like that, and a small laptop for taking to meetings. The heavy lifting I prefer to leave at home.

    To get all of those from Apple would mean a 5s, a 6+ and an MBA, which means I'm looking at around £2000. This is quite a lot.

    In fact I have two Xperias and a Chromebook. The total cost (I never buy things when they first come out) was less than that of a 6+, and I have the advantage of two SIMs with different carriers, and little conveniences like being able to dual-screen between phablet and CB. Google ensures all my bookmarks and settings are commoned across all devices.

    To put it another way, the total utility to me of my 3 gadgets is a lot greater than that of just a 6+, even though each one individually is not as competent overall. What's more, the total utility of the 5s/6+/MBA combination is no greater because the full capabilities of each one wouldn't be used.

    To a fair number of El Reg readers £1400 every few years is peanuts, but to me it's money worth having to spend on other things.

  20. Graham Marsden

    Looks like...

    ... Apple have created a Giffen Good

  21. armyknife

    First worlders - less sense than money?

  22. Steve Graham

    Marketing

    There are four market segments: the stupid poor, the stupid rich, the clever poor, and the clever rich.

    To make large profits, you should aim your product at the stupid rich.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Marketing

      Are you implying that a specific manufacturer has aimed its smartphone product at "the stupid rich"?

      If so, which manufacturer? Further, can you point to any reliable research that suggests that the products of said manufacturer have sales figures into the "stupid rich" segment that alone account for its success (or failure)?

  23. Jeff Lewis

    People arguing functionality are in first world countries, I suspect.

    Apple has an advantage in one thing: there are a lot of fanboy driven companies which will ONLY develop for Apple - both hardware and software. Ironically, this will start to dissipate as Android phones adopt USB-C connectors and for the first time - both Apple and Android (and soon, I expect, Windows Phones too).

    When that happens, the cost of supporting hardware for everyone will drop. There's already a growing base of development tools that makes cross-platform development of well designed apps easier, and Apple's recent introduction of unusual aspect ratios (the iPhone 6 Plus is 1.777 while the iPad Air is 1.333) means Apple programmers finally have to deal with variable design like the rest of us do.

    Most of those peripherals tend to be pricey as well, and so aren't exactly in high demand in lower income countries. Most of the specialised software is also pretty high-end lifestyler and doesn't work in those markets.

    The vast majority of *everyone* uses the same basic software: a browser, an email client, IM of some sort, mapping software, calendar, contacts and a music player. You can argue about which is 'better', but in fact they're all more than good enough for most people.

    In the end, it comes down to two issues: price and status. Apple products have a perception of being a prestige product. If you're the kind of person who cares about that - you get an iPhone. If you're not, then it's price and that's where Apple fails utterly, Not surprisingly, the wealthier a country is - the higher things like status are. Apple product adoption rates are highest in the US and Japan.

    The US is also almost disturbingly brand-loyal while other countries aren't. Europeans are far more likely to change brands when they feel their current choice hasn't lived up to their expectations while North Americans are far more likely to change their use patterns to accommodate their brand preferences. Conversely, Americans are far less willing to put effort into learning a product while Europeans and especially East Asians actually read the manual. :)

    So there are other factors, but in the end, it's not things like 'more software' or 'more hardware' choices for the most part.

  24. James O'Shea

    Sound and fury

    I have two cell phones. I have had two cell phones for years. One is for the office, paid for by the office, and one is mine and paid for by me. For a very long time the office phone was a Windows phone. Then Microsoft went (even more) bonkers and the special app we used, the whole reason for having a smart phone, wouldn't work any more. The office got a work-around which would work on any properly speced smart phone; the users would pick a phone from the allowed list, the office would pay for it. Which is how I replaced my Samsung Omnia with an iPhone 4S. It did the job as specced by the office; the only problem was that I had to use (grrr) Sprint. (Could have been worse. The office used to use Verizon.) The 4S has since been replaced by a 5S, which also continues to give no trouble and to do exactly what it was purchased for.

    Meanwhile, I had been using a succession of cheap flip-phones on my personal account. Because the office phones for years back had been Samsungs and hadn't given problems, I usually got a Samsung flip-phone and they gave no trouble at all until the day that one simply dropped dead. It was, of course, well past the warranty. Indeed, that particular model was no longer being produced. I decided to get an Android device. I picked a nice cheap unit, as I really didn't need much. This was A Serious Error(™).

    In the first place, the device couldn't be upgraded past Gingerbread. In the second, it was extremely unreliable, freezing without warning, so that I missed calls; the only cure for the freeze was to remove the battery, wait a bit, then put the battery back in. Missing calls was unforgivable. Multiple calls to support did nothing to fix it. A check with assorted support fora on line indicated that my problem was quite widespread, and wasn't confined that model device, or even to Gingerbread. I should have known that there was a reason why the damn thing was so cheap and why it was still running Gingerbread at the late date that I bought it. I replaced it with a 5C (the 6 was out by that time, but I wasn't about to spend iPhone 6 money if I didn't have to) and that device has been as reliable as the 5S and the 4S before it.

    I, personally, will never again buy an Android device, not because I love Apple, not because I love shiny, not because I want to be fashionable (both my iPhones, like the 4S and the Omnia and the assorted other company phones before them, live in plain black plastic cases which do not reveal what kind of phone they are unless you look very closely indeed) but rather because the damn things do what I want them to do, when I want them to do it, and don't do things I don't want them to do. I'd still be using a flip-phone if my old Samsung feature phone hadn't died after about five years of use. I suspect that the iPhone 5C will also get at least five years worth of use. I have no desire to 'upgrade' it and it does what I want it to, when I want it to, how I want it to. And, oh, I'm less than enamored of the large size things being pushed by both Apple and Samsung nowadays. I like the size of the 5C and 5S. In contrast, the Android device was a complete disaster. I see no reason to repeat the experiment; perhaps the problem was that I got a cheap Android device, not a full-priced one, but I really don't want to pay for a top-of-the-line Android device and have problems again. Not when I _know_, from actual experience, that the Apple devices do what I want and don't give me static.

    YMMV, of course.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Sound and fury

      Gingerbread? You are several years behind the times. Also, only the top of the line Android devices can have their OS updated. The cheaper phones cannot, but for the price, it doesn't mater. Phone lifespan of 2 years is considered the maximum these days.

      I'm still running Jelly Bean and it suits my needs just fine. I've set up and supported the latest, Lollipop 5.1. It's nice, but I didn't see any "must have" features I need.

      http://faqoid.com/advisor/android-versions.php

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sound and fury

        2 years is not the HW life expectancy. No one "considers" this to be true.

        The 2 year number comes from the 2 year contract period so often offered by telcos in the developed west, which effectively amount to expensive hire purchase agreements.

        PAYG phones are used for a much longer period of time, in general, and phones do in fact last longer than 2 years.

        Gingerbread phones are still sold last time I looked. Some of us need to carry multiple phones when traveling and a cheap "phone" turns out to be an Android device sometimes, and soon it might be "always" - heaven forbid.

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: Sound and fury

          "2 years is not the HW life expectancy. No one "considers" this to be true.

          The 2 year number comes from the 2 year contract period so often offered by telcos in the developed west, which effectively amount to expensive hire purchase agreements."

          Errm... you're the only one who's mentioned a 2 year figure. I'd thought that I'd made clear that my old Samsung flip-phone lasted well past two years; more than five, actually, before it finally died. The Android device did't make it past six months.

          "PAYG phones are used for a much longer period of time, in general, and phones do in fact last longer than 2 years."

          Not Android devices in my never to be repeated experience. I've never before had to put up with such a pile of junk and I hope never to do so again. The device in question was a ZTE, and according to various people posting on assorted support sites, the performance of my device was typical.

          "Gingerbread phones are still sold last time I looked. Some of us need to carry multiple phones when traveling and a cheap "phone" turns out to be an Android device sometimes, and soon it might be "always" - heaven forbid."

          I will not be buying any such device. Once bitten, twice shy.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sound and fury

      Similarly.

      I had a 3GS (provided for free - like beer) from my employer. It worked flawlessly until the company decided to upgrade everyone to an iphone5 (skipping the entire 4 range - yes fandroids, this happens regularly). Downside was that the iPhone5, unlike the 3GS was not my property.

      My significant other had an iPhone 2G, which died (screen) around the time I got the new shiny iPhone 5. She was happy with the hand-me-down 3GS which worked flawlessly until last year. Sadly, I changed jobs and the iPhone5 went back to the employer. Worse, the 3GS screen subsequently died. No hand-me-down available.

      Decisions ...

      Being a female, she liked the idea of a phone of truly monstrous dimensions, these being only available from Android manufacturers at that time (pre. iPhone 6+ in any case). So what did she buy?

      A second-tier manufacturer, top model Android phone. This worked just fine for about 3 months until it didn't. Wi-Fi became unreliable before it actually stopped. "Freezes" and crashes became more common, until finally it was pretty much an unreliable piece of junk, useless as a phone or a "smart" device. All this well within the 1 year "warranty". Sadly, it seems that the second tier supplier requires that the phone in its original packaging be delivered to the importer at customer cost, approximately 300km from us and the expected turn around time between 3 months and never (according to my research on various internet forums). Neither the manufacturer or the supplier will accept returns or replace the unit from their retail outlets (illegal, but hey, this is the 2nd world, not Kensington High Street)

      All this means is that I have paid several hundred dollars for a piece of plastic junk and she has to make the choice between not having a smartphone and imposing upon me to buy another phone. I think I will buy an iPhone6+ and be done with it, paying the cost for something that is well supported and from my experience with previous products, long lasting.

      As an aside, using an Android phone is, IMHO, an experience to be avoided. I am perfectly happy to pay in order to do so!

  25. Greg Eden

    Rubbery Stats

    This survey shows that 7 out of ten people in Australia with a smartphone have an iPhone.

    Rubbish.

  26. ecofeco Silver badge

    It's certainly mine

    Cost: 0 after rebate.

    Carrier: 2nd tier brand name $40 per month all I can eat

    Phone: ZTE white box. 16gb SD card that I still can't fill up.

    Does all I need. Video, pics, email, weather, IM, maps, Internet, calendar, notes, clock, Google acct synch, news.

    Apple is never going to beat that.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Other Words...

    Buy Android but develop for iOS. :-)

    1. Dana W

      Re: In Other Words...

      By all means buy Android. Especially if you like your support in another country and by air mail.

      Turnover time on iPhone support is same day. Break a screen, have a WI-FI fail, walk in an change it out. Name one Android phone maker who does that.

  28. Dana W

    I just love being thumbed down by the Android faithful for pointing out that the Android userbase is fragmented mess, and the fact that a two year old unlocked iPhone is $250 in my pocket when I trade up. The sour grapes in their Apple whine are refreshing as ever.

  29. Mukti

    Poor?

    my list of Gadgets:

    Nexus One

    Nexus S

    Galaxy Nexus

    Nexus 7

    Galaxy S4

    Shield Tablet

    Yu Yureka

    iPad Air 2

    Shield Pro TV

    & I live in India ....Are calling me poor ?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WW poor men's OS?

    Not sure how such conclusion was arrived at - might as well say that Windows is also a poor men's PC.

    Remember VW is also a poor man's but it also makes Rolls Royce, Bugattis...

    FYI both Android & Windows has close to 90% of the market with handsets & PC manufactured by multiple suppliers.

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