Android is kicking Ass taking Names


ComScore released its May numbers for U.S. smartphone owners over the age of 13 yesterday. According to comScore, 49.1 million Americans owned a smartphone from February to the end of May, which is an 8.1 percent increase from the previous three-month period ending in February.

All other major smartphone OS platforms, including Palm, Microsoft, RIM, and Apple, dipped while Android has grown significantly – rose 4 points from February to 13 percent.

RIM retains its lion’s share of the market with a 41.7 percent share that saw a small drop of 0.4 points from February. Apple slipped 1 point to 24.4 percent while Microsoft dropped 1.9 points to 13.2 percent. Rounding out the top five was Palm, which dropped 0.6 points to 4.8 percent.

One has to take into account that these numbers are relative; most smartphone platforms actually gained subscribers as the smartphone market overall grew 8.1%, with 49.1 million people in the U.S. owning smartphones during this period. Still, Android is growing faster – much faster – than its competitors at this point.

As far as top mobile manufacturers go, Samsung grabbed the first place, growing from 21.4% to 22.4% market share. It was followed by LG, RIM, Motorola and Nokia, all of which lost a small chunk of their share, with the exception of RIM which grew from 8.2% to 8.7%.

As an Android owner I like that my phone type is growing, but they need more in apps. iPhone still rules in apps, and I’ve mentioned before that an Android still can’t replace iPhone right now in terms of apps. Hopefully we’ll see growth in that dept in the coming year.

I also think Android has become the choice for many who want an iPhone, but hate AT&T that much that they will never get one. It makes me wonder what would happen if the exclusivity were taken out and you could get an iPhone on several carriers.

It’s also interesting that the overall market rose, all devices declined but Android. This indicates people are choosing to switch from an iPhone, Blackberry, etc. Will this trend continue if Android offers more apps and music choices? Is it the device or the carrier that people are most interested?

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and telezoo.com that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @ awesomize.me

16 Responses to Android is kicking Ass taking Names

  1. Carl Whalley says:

    There are more countries than the US! However, as the pattern is being repeated everywhere that’s a contributing factor but not the whole story. Bear in mind the average handset user changes handset every 14 months. I think more and more iPhone users think that’s all there is in the world until they actually see a decent Android handset, and then they start to think…

  2. Also the article specifically states that the data does not include that fact that apple had a pending launch of a new iPhone in June. A 1 point dip while customers wait for a new version of a phone does’t seem like an ass kicking to me. It would be interesting to see the same numbers run though June as I would assume apple grew after that and likely more than the Android for the same period.

  3. Ron Bernaldo says:

    Andriod overtaking iPhone – really? The last statistic I saw showed about 50 million iPhones sold worldwide, with over 220,000 apps developed for it. Just how many Androids have been sold? Personally, whatever traction Android enjoys today is only because not everyone in the world can or wants to use AT&T, so an iPhone alternative is the only option for them. Once the exclusivity agreement between the iPhone and AT&T is over, so will the Android.

  4. Bill Atwood says:

    Global smartphone sales overall are growing so looking at relative month over month sales in the US market does not tell the whole story. Here we simple see that Android sales are growing while iphone is possibly flattening out. Notice industry leading Symbian does not even register in the US…

    When you do look at the global market share. this is evident where Apple is #3 behind Symbian and RIM. All you need to do is look at Microsoft or Palm to see how quickly a mobile phone OS can drop out of sight. That can happen to Apple just as easily if iphone does not keep up with Android, RIM, Nokia and other players in the market (possibly a rejuvenated HP/Palm for one and don’t count out Microsoft I am pretty sure they haven’t given up) .

    If you are waiting for Apple to fail, don’t hold your breath, the latest iphone came out with problems ( http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/24/apple-responds-over-iphone-4-reception-issues-youre-holding-th/ ) and had a typical consumer unfriendly response (“just avoid holding that way”). They are now behind in several key areas in terms of features and are still saddled with an AT&T exclusive in the US at least until 2011. Still the iphone phenomenon continues to keep their sales numbers up there, it is unlikely that Mr. Jobs will ever make a mistake big enough to take iphone out of the top 3. However, it is inevitable that improved competition will eat away at Apple’s position gained with the genius launch of iphone in 2007.

    As far as the AT&T network, AT&T’s limited network has definitely stunted iphone sales in the US, the launch on VZ will help Apple in the US market, but by the time it launches there will be some great alternatives on the shelves it may serve to just keep them even. In many ways the AT&T exclusive has been a benefit for Apple, not having to manage designs and software across multiple carriers allowed them to focus on doing things right at AT&T. This experience will lead to a smoother expansion to the other carriers.

    As for Android, phones like the HTC EVO, Motorola Droid and others have blown past the iphone with 4G service, faster processors, better UI, better ID and an equivalent number of applications, many of which are free and you don’t have to deal with Apple…. which for a lot of people is a big selling factor.

    RIM’s domination of the corporate liable market will be tough for any competitor to overcome. Apple and others have done little to make inroads into the B2B market where Apple for one has been lagging Microsoft forever. This is a channel where Microsoft could make a big charge if they ever get the coordination between Exchange and Windows Mobile right. Apple’s itunes based connectivity is a non-starter for mission critical business applications.

    At the end of today, Apple is doing great, the ipad is a successful product which must have consumed some of their bandwidth that would have been available to iphone development. This trade off looks like a good decision on Apple’s part with the pad off to a great start.

    I don’t believe iphone is going away and you can count on it to continually improve and become more widely available. At the same time, there will be better and better alternatives which will limit iphone’s growth. With the overall smartphone market growing as fast as it is, there is room for competition, innovation and alternatives. There should be several winners as things evolve with Apple and Google being among them.

    • Elias Shams says:

      Thanks Bill. I think you provided us an awesome and comprehensive response. I should have added your comment to my article :-) perhaps my next coverage of Android

  5. Bill Atwood says:

    Just had too much coffee this morning… had to put that energy into something…

  6. Bill Atwood says:

    One comment on apps… strictly counting the number of apps in the store is somewhat deceiving… many are duplicative i.e. there might be 1000 calculator apps for iphone and only 500 for Android… how many calculators do you need?

    I haven’t seen anyone parse the lists and I certainly am not going to do it, but my guess is if you distill it down to categories the two are pretty equal. The must have apps are pretty ubiquitous across platforms, they may debut on one or the other but developers with a hot app would be foolish to limit themselves to only one OS. I suppose some do, but I don’t have any trouble getting what I want on Android and I don’t think iphone users have trouble getting what they want. If anything, sometimes I feel like there are too many apps (my calculator example). Often I am introduced to an app someone is running on a Palm device or an iphone, anecdotally it seems like 9 times out of 10 it is available on Android too.

    One stat I am curious about is the ratio of free -vs- paid apps for the platforms. I haven’t looked for it and don’t really have a guess as to which ecosystem has more free apps but it would be an interesting observation.

    Apple’s advantage is having one platform and more control over application platform compatibility. Android has the advantage of many form factors but compatibility can be an issue, some apps work well on certain handsets and not so well on others.

    There are arguments about the developer ecosystems with Apple exerting more control and Google being laissez faire. I am not a software geek, so I will reserve judgement on which is better saying this is just a point of differentiation, it is good to have choices.

  7. Android could overtake the iPhone regardless of service quality. The iPhone OS is only available on one device and one network. Android’s OS is more readily available with a variety of form factors as well as network choices. If you limit options and availablity, you limit growth.

  8. Sandra Goble says:

    There is an application on the iPhone, etc. called Globalinx. with this app ($4.99 and $14.95 mo.)
    you can use less cell minutes by using your internet. Possibly enabling you to go to a lower cell plan. When it asks for RIN# just insert 253070.

  9. Bill Atwood says:

    There are quite a few mobile VoIP apps… Skype, Fring, Mig, Nimbuzz, truphone, Tivi, etc… all of them route your voice calls over your internet connection instead of the voice connection avoiding the use of voice minutes… check them all out to get the one that suits your needs.

  10. Ron Bernaldo says:

    Vonage has its own iPhone app that allows you to make domestic calls absolutely free. The app is free too. They hope you’ll use it for international calls which cost a few cents a minute on a prepaid basis.

    As far as how many calculators one needs – only the best one, of course. More choices make it more likely you’ll find it. :-)

  11. Jay Kreizer says:

    Robert Nissenbaum is correct in his assessment from the customers point of view. As an agent for the 4 major carriers I say that there is another factor as well. AT&T and Apple have a stranglehold as to who can and cannot sell the iPhone. No carrier or manufacturer places restrictions as to who can sell their Android devices. Therefore there are a lot more sales outlets for Android devices.

  12. Reggie Grant says:

    For me, Verizon is the only Cell Phone service provider. AT&T does not work, everywhere I go.
    The last Smartphone I purchased, I paid full price – cash, and no contract. When Verizon get’s IPhone, I planned on making the move. I’ve got an Ipad for the time being, along withya Blackberry Storm.
    But, the Droid-X is looking pretty darn good!
    Iphone has an incredible amount of APPS.

  13. Carl Whalley says:

    @Bill Apple caught lying this way isn’t great news at all.
    The single handset strategy is often seen as a strength of the iPhone and a weakness of Android, which is beaten with the fragmentation stick. But in this instance it’s a strength. What would have happened if one particular Android model had been made with such a glaring flaw? Not much – it gets withdrawn and fixed later whilst consumers just buy a different one. With the iPhone, as the article points out:

    “Consumer Reports can not recommend the iPhone 4 due to the antenna/signal issues that are obviously and apparent”.

    that’s the whole range of 1 gone.

  14. Ron Gastrock says:

    Easy to see why if you use the Samsung Galaxy S device. I just switched after two years of frustration with getting contacts hosed up by MobileMe and iTunes. The AT&T Captivate is the only way to go this year. An unbelievable phone without the Apple nonsense.

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