Android Is Popular Because It's Cheap, Not Because It's Good

The story goes like this: The iPhone comes out, and it's the only smartphone anyone wants, because there's never been anything like it. It is the smartphone. Step forward a few years, and Apple is losing to Google — at least in sheer numbers of phones being sold. What happened?

Giz AU editor's note: This post focuses heavily on the US market.

People without money happened.

The split between the ever-pricey, ever-coveted, newly chamfered iPhone and everything else is glaring: The iPhone is universally considered good. A lot more Android phones are considered good enough — or, more to the point, good enough for what they cost. And it's that trait more than any new feature that's guaranteeing Google its role as Phonemaker of The People, a democratic gadget, while Apple succeeds only in cementing its grandfathered slot in the gilded pockets of the overly-discerning overclass.

From the day it slipped out of Steve Jobs' womb and onto credit card bills, the iPhone was a dearly coveted bourgeois object. It was expensive, fancy without ostentation, and semi-affluent white people loved it like their own progeny. It is the phone of actors, models, rappers, academics and graphic designers living beyond their means. There's never in history been an electronic class beacon so clear as the iPhone — remember how expensive it was when it launched?

In the US, a measly 4GB model set you back $US500 and the 8GB version was $US600 — with a two-year contract. That didn't stop Apple from selling hundreds of thousands of them out of the gate — so many that AT&T's servers crashed under activation pressures.

Then Google sold its own touchscreen smartphone for around $US200, the first Android handset of all time, and no one except geeks of the tightest niche gave a damn.

But today the tables aren't just turned — they've been flipped over and turned into firewood. Android phones dominate Apple across the world — earlier this month, the San Francisco Chronicle reported the trouncing:

In the third quarter of 2012, worldwide manufacturers - among them Apple, Samsung, HTC and Research in Motion - shipped 181.1 million smartphones, according to market analytics group IDC. Google's Android operating system was installed on 75 per cent of them, says IDC; Apple's system, iOS, was on about 15 per cent. That market share for Android was a 91 per cent jump from the previous year's third quarter.

That's monster success. That's a routing. And while Android has finally come into its own as a sophisticated, refined mobile OS that deserves to be purchased in large numbers, Android isn't winning just on merit. Phones like the Nexus 4 and Galaxy SIII are tremendous as both pieces of hardware and containers for smart, thoughtful software. Each is a pleasure to use, but that's not Android's sharpest knife.

Android's success isn't really about these phones. It's about the ZTE Warp, LG Motion, and Samsung Captivate — which retail for $US100, $US50 and a penny, respectively. It's about these marginal, middling phones that can be sold like bags of Doritos or bargain-bin sweaters — they're priced to move, not priced to be ogled at or aspired towards. And it's working.

The last study conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project shows that Android is the chosen smartphone of people without money. Among respondents, 22 per cent of those with annual incomes below $US30,000 were Android owners, as opposed to just 12 per cent for iPhone. With those towards the lower-middle class, the trend holds: Android owns 23 per cent of incomes up to $US50,000, with iPhones at 18. The data makes it clear: the less money you have, the more likely you are to opt for an Android phone over something more expensive.

And it's not purely an income game — other socioeconomic factors that correlate heavily with the amount of money you've got in your pocket line up perfectly. US census data pegs black and hispanic households at median income (and ergo spending) levels tens of thousands of dollars below their white peers — and statistically, those same households are going Android at higher rates. A full 12 per cent more black and hispanic smartphone users are Android users compared to Apple customers, and owners of any race with a high school diploma or less made up 38 per cent of Android owners, over iPhone's 31 per cent mark in that cohort.

This is no accident. Check out the flyers or sidewalk storefronts of Boost Mobile or MetroPCS — two US carriers that cater to lower-income customers — and all you'll see is Android. Even Asian corporate giants like Samsung are trying to lure more lower-earning buyers. As NBC's Griot news site pointed out late last year,

[Samsung's] new commercial, titled "Family Photo," features a mostly African-American family attempting to take a holiday portrait with the new Samsung's Galaxy Note II..."Family Photo" isn't the first attempt that Samsung has made to showcase African-Americans in their ads. Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsman of the Year LeBron James was featured in a series of Galaxy Note II commercials in November that gave a snapshot into Miami's black urban community. With his Galaxy II in hand, LeBron gives a tour of his day-to-day activities in the ad, which include breakfast in his lavish Miami home, a stop at an urban street food truck, a haircut at the local black barber shop and finally a Miami Heat's game.

Indeed, Samsung may have the right idea to target African-Americans, who happen to be one of the fastest growing demographic within the smart phone market.

In the meantime, Apple's closest stabs at diversity star the universally beloved Samuel L. Jackson eating gazpacho and the Williams sisters playing ping pong. Black people, but massively wealthy black people. Beyond that, it's a nebula of pale-handed closeups and consummate white human being Zooey Deschanel.

Apple won't play this game. Partly because it's too stubborn (or too smart) to undercut the likes of HTC and Motorola and hit buyers for whom the price of entry matters more than almost anything. Maybe it's what keeps up the iPhone Mystique. Maybe it's good business. Maybe it's both. But iPhones have always been the expensive alternative to an Android, and there's no reason to think the company will tack away from that status.

Android makers aren't beholden like that. Manufacturers are free to use Android, pay nothing to Google, and then pass on that massive savings to consumers in the form of cheap-o handsets. Most of them are pretty chintzy, slow and generally bad, but they're still smartphones. For millions upon millions, that's more than good enough; not everyone needs top-of-the-line. Cheap Android will still run Instagram, still check Twitter, still play music and read email. We might turn our nose up at this — who would ever get anything but the best phone with the biggest screen? You use a handset with fewer than two cores? But that's a low echo from the nerdy silicon tower: a lot of people can't afford a $US200 or $US300 phone, and won't ever be able to. A lot of people just want the basics — no need for the spiff of retina display or LTE — and only want to put up what it costs to get in the door.

This isn't just a good strategy for Google, it's a diabolical strategy for Google: carpet bomb the phone world with as many easy ways to use Google products as possible. Forget prestige. Just get people signed up. Apple might remain the most valuable company in the entire hoary history of capitalism, but Google's playing the slow con. As long as Android can keep feeding itself to companies and drive budget electronics, it'll have its foot on the iPhone's throat as a populist standby — and the Zooey Deschanels among us will start to feel like the real minority they are.

Picture: ianfogg42/Flickr


Comments

    That and some people would rather get AIDS than own an overpriced/underperforming Apple piece of crap.

      The article is entertaining and quotes a lot of numbers...
      I've had all the platforms, and currently have a 4S - which unfortunately is my employers - so I can't give it away. (the 4 was a better 'phone').
      I'm waiting for RiM to show the TEN, then it will be a choice of that or a top-end Android offering.

      iPhone was a good gadget for a year or two, but everyone has caught up and improved on what was a good idea - without the apple potholes. RiM's challenge is to make a good phone that hosts an intuitive and unlocked gadget. p.s. Microsoft missed completely

      Wow, what a well thought out comment. Your parents must be so proud.

        You've provided us with a lot of valuable information on this topic also, well done.

        What I am saying, because clearly you need it spelled out due to some sort of reading comprehension/learning difficulty is that I own an Android phone, not because I am poor, but because I think they are a far better platform.

        Let me know if there is anything else you need help reading/understanding, I've always got time to help those less fortunate.

        Last edited 23/01/13 12:27 pm

          For what I read, you would rather get AIDS then an Apple phone. Fair enough, that's you're choice, I doubt many other people would follow suit, good luck to ya either way... That was the value of your original post... As for the article, they sell a lot, because it's targeted at all markets. You can pick up an android phone for $50, probably less and that's a +1 for Android phones. Obviously, they're not talking about.... So no, given the choice, many people who purchased a $50 android phone may very well have opted for a $50 iOS phone... The only real winner here is resistors, diodes and capacitors, they're in 100% of phones.

            Problems with the world #1952 - Everybody takes things too literally.

            I thought it was fairly obvious why Android has the current market share, I never disagreed with it.

            Let me know if there is anything else you need help reading/understanding, I've always got time to help those less fortunate. That thing I said there, I lied. I'm sick of spelling things out to people, so I'm not going to bother.

            You may take some enjoyment out of the fact that I will probably start seriously damaging myself soon from all the face-palming.

      That's a rude thing and pretty insulting to say about aids victims. Probably you wouldn't be an insensitive bigot if you had aids or another such affliction

        Doesn't matter what you say these days, somebody is going to take offense, so you might as well say what's on your mind.

        If you get offended by something somebody said on the internet then you are really battling with life and I feel sorry for you.

        This article is a pretty rude thing to say about Android users.
        But who cares?

        If I could tell everybody on earth one thing that would stick in their minds for the rest of their lives it would be 'Get over it'.

        **EDIT**
        I also like how this place has turned into a slander match, as opposed to discussing the articles and the tech behind them.
        You post something, and somebody has to pick at the spelling or at something completely irrelevant to the article itself.
        So to you Tech Guy, I'll continue to post what I want, when I want, and if you or somebody else gets offended then bad luck.

        Last edited 23/01/13 12:42 pm

          I'm with you Nick, the writer of this article might as well have said only the homeless and illegals living in the US buy Android phones.. I feel insulted. I wouldn't trade my N4 for anything (ok, maybe a Sony Z or Moto X). At least there is a variety of Android handsets in the market to choose from. Not all of us can afford a grand for a 64gb iPhone that costs $182 to make, but I certainly can buy an Android phone that has just as many features for $182.. All you Apple isheep feel slightly conned yet?

        You can't be so HIV negative all the time.

        AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS AIDS

        I hope you're offended, ya douche.

          Take your Ritalin and calm down.

            Get aids and die GIRLS NAME.

            Does that hurt? Having a GIRLS NAME? I bet it does.

            Have fun Claire.... I mean Ashley.

              Better take your Avanza, too.

              Last edited 24/01/13 12:49 pm

      I recently bought an Android tablet. It is one of the cheaper ones, though at original its full price (which I did not pay), It would have been a lower mid-range. The tablet runs Android ICS - straight ICS with no extras added. There are certain features that are quite alright, not bad at all, and in some ways it provides a positive insight into Android.

      However, it is singularly the most damaging and unstable OS that I have ever used on any computer or mobile device . . . bar none! I installed a very simple app, Solitaire. It ran without problems. I moved the app to the SD card and ran it. It crashed the system and wrecked every other app on the SD card. It also made the OS completely unstable. A very simple app used in a way it was intended to be used wreaked havoc right across the tablet. The easiest way to fix the issue was to reset and re-install the OS.

      Nothing even remotely like that has ever happened on the four iPads and four iPhones that my wife and I have owned. In reality, we had nothing but the very rarest of extremely minor problems.

      So, when you say that Apple makes crap, you understand that I have no belief in you, whatsoever!

        I don't disagree with you that Android is unstable on low end platforms (maybe even mid-range), and really, anything before ICS really isn't up to standard.
        Now with Jellybean 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 devices like the HTC One XL and Samsung GSIII are far better products in the same price bracket, in my opinion.

        For a start, in your example you moved an app to the SD card, some things really don't like this.

        Anyway, all that aside, I think the Apple App store is a great thing, because they screen all of the apps first and make sure they'll work on their devices.
        I just think their devices under-perform in their price bracket, and thus, to me, they are crap.

        The Apple App store is what makes Apple, I'm sure of it.

        Don't know what you did man but I've been using Android for 3 years now and never had a problem like that on stock software or custom ROM (even on "unstable" test builds, there are bugs but nothing catastrophic). Which manufacturer was this tablet from? It is more likely their failing than a failing of Android as a whole IMO.

        No app on ICS is intended to be run via the SD card. All you have proved there is that the person who wrote your app is an idiot.

          @ Masonite "No app on ICS is intended to be run via the SD card"

          What are you talking about? ICS includes the ability to transfer apps to the SD card to run those app from the card. It is built-into the OS. If it is not supposed to be used, then why is it built into the OS?

          @Rossco I did not intend to imply that Android as a whole is a failure. As I said, there are characteristics of it that are quite good. I simply pointed-out the difference in my experiences. As for YOUR 3 years of experience - that is your experience, not mine. Mine is as I detailed above. Android is okay, but not great. For my needs, it is not a patch on iOS

        The reason apple hasn't acted up on you is coz it doesn't have SD cards for you to transfer things onto.

          Which, seemingly, proves that Apple made the right decision.

            By your logic, all Apple needs to do to make the perfectly stable smartphone is to just not include any components. No screen, no battery, no antenna, no way for it to screw up.

            Fortunately, your logic isn't founded in reality.

              They call it the iRock. And it's good, for a rock. It's a bit expensive, but it comes in great packaging.

              Last edited 24/01/13 11:06 am

        "I bought a PC the other day, and downloaded and installed a program called DRIVEFUCKER2000, and now my PC is brokened!"

        Poor app design != OS problems

          Drivefucker 2013 is out... It's called "Windows 8".

            Got a good laugh out of that one. Thanks...

        My first smartphone was a Samsung Galaxy Y (AUD 120), and i never had any sort of problems with it!
        I recently bought an Android Tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1. The 16 GB tablet with a 32Gb memory card and a 3g Sim cost me 599 AUD, the nearest iPad would cost me 816 AUD. I recently upgraded it to Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2, which, running quality wise, should be renamed 'Orgasm' ( Funny right??)

        Here's why i like it. I can have an online uni quiz opened with a note taker which i use to scribble down calculations and notes, while also using a calculator ( I can actually have 16 apps open on the same screen). Sometimes when i don't go to uni, i can watch a re-sizable video of the lecture while taking notes on s-note with the s-pen. I know they make styluses for the ipad, but none of them come close to the s-pen! because i can rest my palm on the screen and write! It sounds petty but try writing with a stylus while trying to maintain your handwriting and keep the palm above the screen, you'll know what i mean!
        Now which of these things can your 4 iPhones and 4 iPads do?

        I've never said apple products are crap. If anything I've found them to be extremely smooth in operation. But nothing they are able to do justifies their outrageous price-tag!

        Buy an android tablet from a reputable brand, not a Chinese sweat shop and you'll be laughing. I've had Moto and Samsung tablets for a while now, and never had a crash.

          a reputable brand, not a Chinese sweat shop

          I know what you mean, but still... they're one and the same.

      Nickmorgan, perhaps I can put some words together to better explain your point...

      What I like about this article is it is busting the Apple aura! Apple has lived on the myth that it was the uber-phone for the cognizati. Nothing like fact and actual reality to help destroy a popular myth!

      Now there is one operating system that is bigger than iOS, as well as other up and comers, albeit with a way to go. So there is a growing range of alternatives at various price points for consumers.

      The coup d'état is the investment community has realised this before the fans. Apple's share price has recently fallen as there is no longer a built in premium for growth, despite apple still being quite profitable. This outcome is driven by the primary fact that android phones are now outselling iOS phones. A secondary fact is Apple have lost most of their patent cases around the world except in the US, so they cannot use international legal system(s) to artificially maintain international market share and growth.

      So regardless of whether iOS is better than android, or visa-versa, the market competition facts say the iOS business model is coming up towards its growth limits and android is now on the ascendancy.

      This doesn't mean apple won't release a killer iPhone feature or another market challenging iPod or iPhone-like product in the future, but doing so will help tilt the market back in their favour.

      But right now, android is the most popular operating system in the world and is on a higher growth trajectory than iOS.

      Last edited 27/01/13 12:53 pm

    your an idiot i hope know one takes you seriously

      You're the idiot, you can't spell at all.

    Haha looks like GizAU is covering their a** coz they know Sammy boy is gonna get a belting for this one.

    Meanwhile, Windows Phone is only for the elite.

    I look down my nose at all you peasants while I go into my settings menu to check my battery percentage.

    My phone operating system makes me work for it's love. Much like a pet cat.

      So what OS have you got in your phone? What phone ?
      It can't be IOS or MS8 - and Android is entirely dependent on the vendor implementation.

      OTOH - if it acts like your pet cat - it could be either of the above. Aloof and knows that it's your master

        He has Windows Phone, to see the battery percentage you have to go in to the settings menu. Not a big deal since there is a battery bar at the top of the screen.

        I have a Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8.

        Like I said, much like a pet cat, Windows Phone makes you work for love. Windows PHone is the supermodel you date that treats you like shit, but you hang around because of how hot she looks and the looks you get with her on your arm.

          You're a virgin aren't you?...

          get a battery status live tile man. i have the same phone as you and never go into the settings for anything other than setting up the background tasks.

            I'd rather wait for the software update that includes it on the screen a la iOS. The tiles don't update in real time.

            @Greg. lol.

          I find the battery indicator is good enough for me. I know I should probably plug in sometime in the next 6 hours if my battery has a heart over it (Battery Saver).

      "... I go into my settings menu to check my battery percentage. "
      Why would you do that? Mine is displayed on the lock-screen. But even if I pay it no heed, Battery Saver will look after things when the charge gets low. Even on the 3rd day of a charge I never have to stress about it, WinPhone takes care of it for me.

      Last edited 23/01/13 12:43 pm

        What phone MM? All I see these days is people moaning they can't get more than one day of charge of of their Smartphones. I'm not questioning your claim, I really am intrigued what phone it is.

        Last edited 23/01/13 12:56 pm

        3 days from a charge?? That's really good. Which phone? I'd only be able to get more than 2 days on my Lumia 800 if I really limited my usage - I've already turned off most background tasks. Having said that, I can certainly imagine getting a solid 2.5 days of standby if I just used it to check the time every now and again.

          FYI: I get 72 hrs from my Samsung galaxy note 2 :) Its amazing! That was with about 40 min talk time, regular texting, Basic map usage, Facebook, Twitter, basic gaming, Wifi and GPS Off.

          Last edited 23/01/13 2:15 pm

            agreed

            and thats with the stock battery...the 4100 items I have ordered should last even longer

    >inb4 s*it storm

    Is this guy going to right a story on Eugenics next? Is he inferring that all Hispanics and African Americans are poor and can't afford an iPhone? What a load of trash. This isn't an 'Android is cheap' problem, it's an 'Apple is expensive' problem. Andoird phone manufacturers have cornered the mass market, iPhone relied on brand, that brand is fading... fast.

    Last edited 23/01/13 11:22 am

      How does this article have anything to do with Eugenics?

        By inventing artificial class distinction based on invented factors and creative interpretation. The relationship is pretty clear.

          not at all.
          Eugenics (noun)
          "The science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics"

          How you gleaned eugenics from this article leads me to believe you're a poor, uneducated Android user. I pity you.

          Sent from my iPhone

            Not at all X2:
            Eugenics is definitely not a science I'm afraid, the theory was developed to justify racist and classist attitudes in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was what lead famously such notable historical tragedies as the holocaust.
            You really, really need to look a lot further than silly dictionary definitions of very complex and highly weighted concepts such as this.
            If the world was simple enough to be contained in the first listing of every dictionary definition it'd be a pretty 2 dimensional cardboard cut-out sort of place ;)

            Last edited 23/01/13 8:42 pm

            I like how you got that definition of eugenics from Nazipedia.

            You use a definition of eugenics that calls it a science? Bloody hell mate.

            Last edited 24/01/13 8:27 pm

        It's quite clear it's not, and neither did I state it was. I was inferring the author is saying 'Black poeple buy more androids because they are poor and don't know better', which is getting into that kind of territory.

          DId you bother to read the article properly? He gives stats on the socio-economic status of blacks and Hispanics to explain his comments. It is completely rational and more than reasonable.

            The Nazis, Stalin and Khmer Rouge would have had "socio-economic status of blacks and Hispanics" as well as Jews, Homosexuals, Gypsies and many others.

            Last edited 24/01/13 8:33 pm

          'Black poeple buy more androids because they are poor and don't know better'

          "US census data pegs black and hispanic households at median income (and ergo spending) levels tens of thousands of dollars below their white peers"

          Therefore because they earn less, they are more inclined to buy a cheaper phone, and not live beyond their means.

    So Andriod phone are available at varying degrees of sophistication and at multiple price point, While iphone aren't, pretty obvious really.

    It was nothing to do with the fact the iPhone is practically a rehash every year. OMG Thinner and sleeker and and and... who gives a shit?

    FirefoxOS is where it's at.

      Don't forget that the headphone jack is at the bottom now too hahahaha, I still remember an iPhone Fan telling me that it is great to see logic being used for the headphone jack. I couldn't stop laughing at him but everyone is like that with their phone these days. Even I am with the WP8 Phone

        iPhone4 has the headphone jack up the top. This has been a source of annoyance for me for a long time. When I check the time with my phone, I don't really care to remove it from my pocket. It's easier to check if the phone is upside down because the home button is more accessible than the lock button.

        I have no time for Apple-Fanboys either. But at least after owning the phone I don't laugh at them needlessly for not understanding the tribulations associated with ownership...

      FirefoxOS is geek-only territory, ergo it will not ever be "where it's at", unless by "it" you mean "vanishingly small pool of OSS enthusiasts and privacy evangelists", i.e. people like you and me ;)

        It is hard to imagine Firefox ever getting a remotely decent app ecosystem, which will doom it to failure.

          Sounds like something I should invest my time in making then. Since it should be possible. ;)

    Google Just knows how to make a better more widespread OS. This article is trashy and biased.
    Even if I were a billionaire I still wouldn't buy an iPhone it's not about cost it's about the fact I like to have control over my devices and that iTunes is more of a virus then an application. So sluggish and annoying updates.

      No, Google gives their OS away, so any idiots can get it for free and put it in their device. I think MS and Apple both understand that if they gave their OS away, it could be more widespread than it is, they just prefer to take you money up-front, not underhandedly in the back-end.

    Ask yourself this question. Why do you think you see more Toyota or Mazda on the street than Ferrari and Aston?

      And ask another question - if you ask EVERYONE if they'd prefer a Toyota/Mazda or a Ferrari/Aston which would they choose?

        I'd probably go Toyota honestly. I'm not really into cars, so I want something that requires minimal attention/maintenance, as well as economical.

          Horsepies.

        Well that depends do I need a sports car or do I need a family car or a ute? if the later of the two then I want the Toyota or Mazda, if I want a luxury sports car without the room to move then i'd opt for the over priced tiny sports car!

        Neither are comparable with phones though.

        Last edited 23/01/13 12:15 pm

        "And ask another question - if you ask EVERYONE if they'd prefer a Toyota/Mazda or a Ferrari/Aston which would they choose?""

        Whilst you can be sure that most would take the Ferrari/Aston route initially, they would soon discover that these cars are not exactly practical and they are amongst the least reliable cars money can buy. They are incredibly expensive to run and maintain, so after a few months I reckon most would sell them to buy a practical, reliable, cheap to run 4 door sedan/wagon/truck.

        To put it another way, any well informed pragmatic consumer might be tempted by the cachet and general allure of a supercar but would understand the absolute horror of the actual ownership experience and make the sensible choice to go with a car that actually suits their needs. It is actually an excellent ananlogy to iPhone ownership, don't you think?

          Here's a little analogy I like to use to compare Android and iOS. iOS is a Japanese bullet train- it's very fast and smooth but it cannot deviate from its track or set path, and you can only go to certain destinations.
          Android is like a Lambo, it is very fast and powerful as well, but it can hit the occasional speed bump or pothole. The main benefit though is you can drive it wherever you want with no restrictions, and it gives you the control.
          (Not taking into account efficiency in this scenario)

            I'm sorry but that's a ridiculous analogy. A better one would be two largely identical cars where one has just a single model to choose from (iOS), while the other has a range of engines, body styles and accessories you can get factory fitted (Android). To pick two cars to illustrate the point, I'd go with Corolla as the iOS - just a hatchback with a 1.8 petrol engine and an undeserved reputation - with Android being the Holden Cruze - sedan, hatch or wagon with 1.8 or 1.4 turbo petrol and 2.0 disiesel engines available. To complete the scene, we'll make WInPhone the Mazda3 - a much better ofering that dominates once they get their strategy right.

              I was speaking functionality-wise, not in terms of product offerings. I think you missed the point. Oh well.

                Then it fails even more. There is not a single thing you can do with an Android phone that you can't do with any other phone.

                  Mr MotorMouth - Touche' to you sir.

                  However, I would compare an iPhone to a Volvo rather than an Ferrari/Aston. Nice and safe, conservative, built like a box, all options are expensive, sold at a premium price for what it is and driven by hat drivers!

                  And even Volvo knows they sell unsexy cars and try to sex up their image!

                  Give me the Mazda!

                  Oh, and I'm sure some unkind bloggers would say they they are ass-hat drivers, but I would not do that! ; )

      The comparison makes no sense. No smartphone is the equivalent of a prestige car. They're just silly phones. They're all pretty much the same when you buy them at the same price bracket, with the biggest distinction coming from fannish craziness rather than brand or OS differences.

        Well said.

        I find it ridiculous that this association is made. Some people perceive the IPhone and Apple products in general as being 'luxury' items when it's more a case of people buying into aggressive and well executed advertising. (Just because someone tells you that it's fantastic and marks their price up doesn't mean it is).

        However, the current ad on TV with Do Not Disturb really misses the mark for me - it's the same Apple tone, crisp white etc. but there's nothing new about it - nothing adventurous, which I think is going to become a problem for them.

        I appreciate that Apple have (had?) distinguished themselves as focusing on well designed products with a focus on a good user experience - but now so has just about everyone else.

          "... it's more a case of people buying into aggressive and well executed advertising"

          This ia a really good point. The current iPhone ad with the Williams sisters touts a feature Nokia phones had at the turn of the century, years before anyone had even coined the term "smartphone", much less made one. It cracks me up every time I see it that Apple can spend millions on a campaign to show off somethign so old hat and mundane.

          I like that it is an ad about the same "Feature" that was bugged, and would turn people's Iphones onto DND, and not turn them back off.. ever.

            That was a bug from the 31st of December to the 7th of January. But yeah, I think of that every time I see that piss-poor ad.

      I love when people compare smartphones to cars and apple is always the porsche/ferrari/lamborghini

      it would be like owning an exotic car you do not drive, cannot modify and cant open the bonnet on

      you simply get in the passenger seat and the automated driver takes you there, albeit the wrong way because of its poorly designed mapping system

    They may have been the first 'super easy' smart phones, but I'd had windows phones prior to the iphone. Listened to music, watched movies, and read books on them too. While not as user friendly, I generally used a shell over the top that made it more finger friendly.

    What a complete fool. The tech is not outstanding, the OS is horrible, and it's marketed at people who don't adapt well to change. What a read though. I bet he voted for Bush. I don't think he liked the reports of Apple slowing iPhone 5 production and this is his justification.

    What a foolish article. The iphone became popular precisely because it was a cheaper, not so great, mass-mass-market smartphone, with the buzz ad shock value of some gimicky features and the Apple name, as opposed to people who were on the higher end of the market with Blackberry at the time, with extremely functional smartphone devices. The original iphone was not very good.

    The smartphone market is the mass-market. Apple understands that and so does Google, Google is just playing the game better and brand loyalists are having a hard time with that.

    Last edited 23/01/13 11:59 am

    Sorry mr biddle, but even saying 'android wins because cheap' means nothing, since the high end androids aren't just expensive, but are just as good, many cases better, than iPhones.

    What about all the phones that are a similar price point to an iPhone that are selling like hot cakes. The fact is, Android is a better OS and its cheaper.

    I'm kind of offended on behalf of all the smartphones that were available on the market before the iphone came along. Apple didn't invent the smartphone, but they saw smartphones getting more and more popular and decided they wanted to get in on the action. Sure, they made smartphones mainstream, but iphones weren't the first smartphones, not by a long shot. In fact, before iphones, the number 1 choice in smartphones were windows phones.

      I agree with everything you're saying except the implication that they just decided to muscle in on the market for the sake of it. The iPod was a key brand for them and they saw that it would soon become irrelevant. It also had nowhere to grow as just a music player. It was pretty clear that even if smartphones didn't take off Nokia would have killed the iPod off as soon as the tech reached a point where you could make a decent music player with reasonable storage on a (then) standard phone.
      They were essentially forced into making phones.

    "Android Is Popular Because It’s Cheap, Not Because It’s Good"
    Exactly what Ive been saying for years.

    This really just seems like click-bait to me, purposely written to provoke a flamewar between fanboys all while increasing traffic to Giz. Such a shame.

      Of course. It couldn't be more obvious baiting for reactions - and we're all here for the drama.

      *Grabs popcorn*

    Apart from the ridiculous click-bait headline, this article is rubbish. If Google are dominating the market by flooding it with cheap phones, why was the world's top selling smartphone (up until the end of Q3 last year, Q4 numbers not available yet) the Galaxy S3 - a flagship phone, not a budget model? The fall in popularity Apple probably has more to do with 2 lacklustre iPhone releases and the growing perception that they abuse / exploit the patent process to stifle competition than Google's 'carpet-bombing' of the budget handset market.

    gotta laugh at the utter fanboism displayed in this article. the argument used to be "iphones were the most popular because they were the best, obviously. consumers know it." now it's turned to "well just because something is popular doesn't mean it's the best. obviously android is cheap." lol. the argument will change (yet again) when Apple eventually releases the cheaper iphone model. then all praise will be heaped on Apple for their amazing business sense. lol lol lol

    I still remember telling my girlfriend how crap Apple products were and how bad the OS is and shee wouldn't believe me and didn't know why I disliked them so much. Then she used an iphone for the first time and went to make an song one of her ringtones and I just pissed myself laughing at her as she said "WTF Why won't it let me , even my old Nokia let me do it?".

    "Android Is Popular Because It’s Cheap, Not Because It’s Good"

    What utter Rubbish!

    Android can do things that iOS can't and won't. I have several good examples:
    Flash - WHo care really though?
    Video regardless of format AND without having to deal with iTunes
    Torrent direct to phone. Nuff said

    Did I mention the complete lack of iTunes and the ability to register on a PC as a device and copy/paste media directly to your phone?

    Oh! and not delete all of your content whenever you plug your phone into any other pc bar your own??

    Did I hear someone in the background mention Widgets too??

    Android FTW!!

      Haha yes, this and so much more.

      I also think there's a massive flaw in this entire article though, Thats the fact that ALL MOBILE OPERATING SYSTEMS ARE TECHNICALLY FREE. There is no such thing as an expensive or cheap as they all come with the operating system as part of the hardware. By this logic they are all as 'cheap' as each other because the OS cost $0.

      Greg, someone summed up iTunes in a previous post by claiming it was like a virus and lets be honest, it's actually worse than some of those browser takeover toolbars that companies try to install.

      I would never consider an iPhone because you must run iTunes and as you pointed out, it doesn't appear as a device on a PC. Does Apple think users so daft they can't navigate Explorer or Finder?

      Android has marketshare because it is cheap. Certain models with Android are popular because they are good. If we looked at just high end android vs iOS the numbers would skew much more towards iOS (though not necessarily have iOS as the bulk of marketshare).

      Now about what iOS can't do - Flash is a null point, neither have flash (anymore) and as you say no one cares.

      iTunes works fine for me and with VLC i can put any format of video on that I want, but converting it all to one format makes it play nice with every single device in the house rather than the smallest screen I have.

      torrents are for people who don't want to pay for things ;) not really, but I don't think ive ever desired to torrent from my phone.

      I havent connected my device to a computer for months. I just add music to iTunes (I listen to music on my computer anyway) and when i decide I want it on my phone, it's sitting on there already waiting to download from iCloud.

      I've never had my stuff delete when plugging in another computer.

      My lockscreen is far more functional and relevant and immediate than widgets that stay stuck on a home screen. I don't need widgets because the information comes up on my lockscreen when it happens.

      Different strokes for different folks bro. I want a phone that works without any hassle and works with one of my (admittedly smaller than average) hands. That and Airplay.

        Before I sold my iPhone 4 to get the SIII Galaxy, (I was a die hard fanboy till I got the S3!) I noticed that the VLC app had been removed from the App store. There was another video player on there that could do other codecs (poor frame rates and all), but was only really useful for the short porn email videos that your mates'd send you as you can't transfer content to your phone via iTunes without changing the codec

        One day Apple will realise that there is moe then one way to skin a cat.
        Maybe on the same day they will start to innovate again.

      iOS is more "Popular" with teens for some reason, but their parents won't necessarily shell out the money for it, so they get the cheaper alternative which is usually a Samsung that runs android. If you work with mobile phone sales, you would know this. So by price difference, android becomes more popular. Especially when android phones go for less that $100...

      Just because android has more/better features than the iPhone and because you believe it's a better phone, doesn't mean that it's the one that most people would prefer to have in their hands. There is a lot of truth to this article.

    Answer the Question!!

    "You use a handset with fewer than two cores?"
    Such an "Apple" thing to say... I'm more like, you use a handset with fewer than four cores?

    Sam Biddle? More like Sam Spittle because I imagined him frothing at the mouth and gesticulating wildly as he wrote this.

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