For the first time, Android phones are the most popular smartphones amongst U.S. mobile consumers, according to a survey Nielsen released last month.
In a succession of monthly surveys between January 2011 and March 2011, 31% of consumers who were planning on getting a new smartphone indicated that Android was their favoured OS, compared to 30% who preferred the iPhone.
The same surveys in July and September 2010 showed that 26% of these consumers wanted an Android phone while 33% wanted an iPhone.
So who is winning the war and why. The conventional view seems to be that Apple and Android will both manage to be successful in 2011, as they continue to diverge in the roles that they play. While Apple will continue to go it alone by inscribing their own – well developed and highly refined – little world onto the larger playing field, Android are likely to win more market share through being more flexible and open.
This is a view predicted by Microsoft start-up evangelist Don Dodge, who wrote in his blog this week about this very issue: “Both will win because they are playing different games. Android will win the market share battle, but Apple will generate bigger profits.” He then goes on to explain this opinion by saying that “Apple develops and controls the hardware and software on all their devices.”
“The Mac has never had more than 10% market share, but has been extremely profitable for Apple. Apple goes for the high end of the market where they can charge high prices and enjoy great profit margins. Apple has been successful with this strategy multiple times, and will do it again with iPhone. Google has a very different strategy with Android.”
Dodge continues to say that “Google provides software (Android) for free, and makes Google search, Google Voice, Gmail, Contacts, Maps, Places, and other services work seamlessly with Android. Mobile search and advertising are the revenue streams for Google. The advertising revenues are certainly lower versus selling hardware, but the profit margins are very good.”
However, Tim Bray from Google sees things a little differently saying “Anyhow, what do I think? I think Apple will sell a ton of devices because they’re good, and superbly marketed. I think a bunch of people will sell a ton of Android devices because they’re good and there are so many options for different needs and networks and price-points.”
So – once again…after carefully studying all of the facts we’re probably more confused than before as to who is the market leader, hence why, to be safe, web-based mobile browsing trumps all.