A new report from research firm IDC estimates that between January and March this year, Apple grabbed 40 per cent of local smartphone sales, besting Nokia’s craptacular Symbian death-march for the first time. Android phones came in second with 30 per cent share. Yet with over 500,000 Android devices now activated everyday (albeit globally), it can’t be long until Android takes top spot.
Android already has edged ahead at various times over in the States, though that’s wavered a bit since Verizon picked up the iPhone. And I guess it’s something of a testament to Apple’s engineering/marketing that a single phone even became so dominant. But here’s the thing: Android is to phones what Windows has been to PCs – stay with me here – it’s an open box approach that runs on a variety of phones, in all shapes and sizes, built by a range of makers. Apple eventually killed off whitebox Macs to the detriment of its marketshare, and I wonder if history will ultimately repeat itself.
Or is the App Store, iTunes and Cupertino’s whole shrewdly crafted ecosystem strong enough of a lure to keep the crowds coming back for ‘just one more thing’? Who knows – if market share is a worrying Apple, maybe the iPhone 5 will arrive alongside a little brother in September, despite the track record of premium pricing.
Regardless, the numbers game is stacked in Android’s favour. Just look at the influx of tablets and smartphones Gizmodo covers every day. Android has delivered competition. This is exactly why Google made Android. Well, that and ensuring its online services and search remained relevant in the post PC era. I’m a fan of Android, and I mostly use an iPhone 4. I’m just calling it how I see it.
Then there’s BlackBerry and Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS (soon with Nokia in tow). While storm clouds are brewing for RIM (see 10 Reasons Why BlackBerry Is Screwed), we’re actually quietly impressed with Windows Phone 7 Mango. WP7 has struggled to gain any real traction to date, but Microsoft’s incremental improvements – and handset partners like Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Dell – are all positive signs. The excellent webOS is still kicking around too: Most notably on the HP TouchPad, though there are also rumours of talks with Samsung.
Competition is a good thing, and we’ll be encouraging more of it here at Giz.