Apple v. Android: Bang per watt – Apple’s massive advantage

“‘We’ve entered the age of iOS and Android penetrating beyond mobile,’ writes GroupMe’s Steve Cheney in a provocative post that introduces a benchmark I hadn’t considered before: Bang per watt,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“‘For non-mobile (plugged in) devices,’ he writes, ‘Android + ARM is ‘good enough’ and will win much of the market globally in terms of embedded OS’s,'” P.E.D. reports. “But for battery-powered systems, it’s a different story. ‘Mobile computing is not about being good enough overall, it’s about being good enough per watt of power consumption. (emphasis his) ‘Integrated [hardware and software] from Apple will likely retain a performance edge — they will be constantly optimizing multi-core chips for performance per watt and tweaking software like they have on iOS 7. Who knows if Apple will be 6 months ahead or 18 months ahead at any given time, but it’s a good bet they will be in this range. Low power needs will drive convergence in design.'”

Read more in the full article here.

Steve Cheney writes, “Fragmentation continues to crop up on Android in weird ways for devs but now is going to the next level—affecting the ecosystem. Tomorrow Apple is no longer just about integrated hardware / software, it’s about an entire integrated ecosystem. The software is built in advance while hardware is designed and spec’ed, developers have your APIs and it all just works together in tandem. To some extent Google can do this with products it controls and distributes like Glass and Chromecast (via OTA updates), but fragmentation will start to hurt Android more and more in smartphone web services which it doesn’t develop.”

“New APIs exposed in iOS7 (iBeacon, AirDrop) for local networking will be huge—these are US-centric use cases in the beginning (some Europe and Japan) and will cement Apple at the high end of the market in the US. When iOS 7 launches all APIs are backwards compatible 2 years (iPhone 4S and up). This means basically 95% of Apple users will be able to share files with each other (AirDrop) and make payments using Bluetooth / iBeacon, whereas Android will reach round 2 of its fragmentation battle—at the service layer,” Cheney writes. “Only 30% of people upgrade (or are able to upgrade) to the latest Android flavor 1 year later. Devs won’t build networking / payment services in Android apps for BTE and local WiFi sharing because only a minority of Android phones will support for the next 18 months. There are some aftermarket apps in Google Play but compatibility is a nightmare. Again, just to reiterate—yes Android 4.3 adds low power Bluetooth support, but since only about 30% of devices will be running this in a year it effectively slows adoption by 12-24 months behind iOS.”

Cheney writes, “It’s not even funny how bad fragmentation will hurt Android and Google in location based sharing and payments apps, short range sharing, and the type of things developers build on top of iBeacon (e.g. payments). Fragmentation doesn’t matter as much when you are the only one person affected, people deal with it. But when your Android phone won’t communicate with others or at POS terminals (tablets / iPads) it will be tough to rationalize.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, Cheney gets it.

Fragmandroid is a detritus magnet. It will suffocate itself in mobile computing. Vertical integration trumps horizontal integration in the hands of end users.

Apple’s way is clear – and pedal to the metal time is almost here. This is the calm before the storm.

Related articles:
Android usage in the U.S. declines for the first time – August 8, 2013
Yankee Group: iPhone ownership in the U.S. will top Android by 2015 – April 26, 2013
Yankee Group: Apple continues to eat Samsung’s lunch; customer loyalty will drive iPhone ownership past Android’s peak – April 26, 2013
Apple’s iPhone user gains again out-pace Android in the U.S. – April 5, 2013
Why Apple’s new iPhone can’t lose; as with all iPhones, next-gen likely to become best-selling smartphone of all time – April 4, 2013
Apple increases lead over Samsung, gains on Google’s Android in U.S. smartphone market share – April 4, 2013
Analyst: Apple iPhone 5 got over 5X times as many tweets as Samsung’s lackluster Galaxy S4 – March 27, 2013
Yankee Group: Apple to gain additional U.S. smartphone share over Samsung in 2013 – March 20, 2013
With 78% share, Apple’s iOS tightening its grip on the enterprise and taking share from Android – March 8, 2013
Apple rules the skies with 84% in-flight share vs. Android’s 16% – March 7, 2013
Apple iPad continues domination with over 80% usage share in U.S. and Canada – March 7, 2013
comScore: Google’s Android, Samsung continue to lose U.S. share to Apple’s iOS, iPhone – March 6, 2013
World’s best-selling smartphone: Apple iPhone 5; iPhone 4S #2, third place Samsung Galaxy 3 brings up rear – February 20, 2013
Apple iOS dominates mobile video viewing with 60% share vs. Android’s 32% – February 13, 2013
Android’s Web share down 13% since November; Apple’s iOS now over 60% – February 1, 2013
Android’s unit share growth has not hurt Apple’s profit share – February 26, 2013
Apple iOS dominates mobile video viewing with 60% share vs. Android’s 32% – February 13, 2013
Android’s Web share down 13% since November; Apple’s iOS now over 60% – February 1, 2013
IDC: Apple dominates worldwide tablet market with 43.6% unit share – January 31, 2013
The Android engagement paradox – November 26, 2012
People buy more Android phone units and do less with them vs. Apple’s revolutionary iPhone – November 14, 2012
Study: iPhone users vastly outspent Android users on apps, respond much better to ads – August 20, 2012
Apple utterly dominates mobile device market with 6% market share – and 77% of the profits – August 6, 2012


  1. Well it seems Apple recent big gains in the market must mean some people are getting clued in. Unless this is all because of the new fall product coming out which no matter what Apple does will be a “disappointment” (no Mr. Fusion yet – darn!). Stock plummets Sept. 11th… But gooooolly I hope not!

  2. Android is for the good enough crowd. They aren’t looking to upgrade services, heck they don’t even think about it. They are conditioned to buy new hardware when they want their phone to do something new. When they get a new phone and learn how to use it the first week, then they are done having to learn something new, and that’s just the way they like it.

    It’s just sad there are so many many people in the good enough crowd.

  3. Ios has a fragmentation problem. Not in the traditional sense that there are many ios devices out there but that ios has difficulty supporting various screen sizes. Ios is extremely rigid as compared to Android and Apple are having a difficult time trying to fit ios in different screen sizes and resolutions. Android was scalable in its early days but iOS is coded such that scalability is difficult.

    1. Developers had a hard time fitting their apps to
    the retina resolution of the iPhone 5’s 4 inch
    2. The iPad mini was launched with a non-retina
    3. iPhone apps look extremely horrible on the iPad
    wheras in Android they seem abit blown up.

  4. as I’ve said before many tech reviewers don’t give the truth about the bad stuff of Android.

    It’s in their own best interest to keep Android alive and well as they make money $$$ off reviews (you can’t live off ONE iPhone review a year). They give sucky Android devices glowing reviews (Gruber calls it ‘Grading on the Curve), don’t mention things like Android has 90% of the malware, you probably won’t get an OS update for the device, many apps don’t work well etc so that Android OEMs will continue to thrive and give them devices to review .

    Even Andy Iknatko had to write that he was going android (“it’s better that ioS” ) when he left Macworld for the general press..

    REVIEWS DON’T JIVE WITH REALITY ,many reviewers give various android phones 5 star ratings, Consumer reports one year had over TEN Android phones rated higher than the iPhone yet the iPhone has won the JD Powers Consumer Satisfaction Award (a poll of thousands of Actual phone USERS) 9 times in a row, i.e for 9 times over years, not one of dozens of android phones has beaten the iPhone in users opinion.

    Reviewers are terrified about another ‘iPod Event’ , they used to make money reviewing music players like Zune, Saehan, Toshiba etc, now no more… just iPod.

    They know now it’s better to screw the truth and PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE android and keep their cash cow alive. If you Read a review from a newspaper or Zdnet etc praising an Android device, add huge big pinch of salt. With hundreds of Android devices coming out constantly, this is ,as the Chinese would say, the reviewers ‘Rice Bowl’.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.