“More than a billion Android devices were sold in 2014, according to the research firm Gartner. That’s about five times the number of Apple iOS devices sold, and about three times the number of Windows machines sold,” Farhad Manjoo reports for The New York Times. “In other words: About one of every two computers sold today is running Android.”
“Yet all is not well on planet Android,” Manjoo reports. “On the eve of Google IO, the company’s annual developer conference that starts Thursday, where Android will once again be a primary topic of discussion, there are cracks emerging in Google’s hold over the operating system. Google’s version of Android faces increasing competition from hungry rivals, including upstart smartphone makers in developing countries that are pushing their own heavily modified take of the software. There are also new threats from Apple, which has said that its recent record number of iPhone sales came, in part, thanks to people switching from Android.”
“Despite surging sales, profits in the Android smartphone business declined 44 percent in 2014, according to the independent analyst Chetan Sharma,” Manjoo reports. “Over the holidays last year, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple vacuumed up nearly 90 percent of the profits in the smartphone business.”
“Android has so far been an ad dud compared with Apple’s iOS, whose users tend to have more money and spend a lot more time using their phones (and are, thus, more valuable to advertisers),” Manjoo reports. “Because Google pays billions to Apple to make its search engine the default search provider for iOS devices, the company collects much more from ads placed on Apple devices than from ads on Android devices. A recent analysis by Goldman Sachs estimated that Google collected about $11.8 billion on mobile search ads in 2014, with about 75 percent coming from ads on iPhones and iPads.”
“The final threat for Google’s Android may be the most pernicious: What if a significant number of the people who adopted Android as their first smartphone move on to something else as they become power users? In Apple’s last two earnings calls, Timothy D. Cook, the chief executive, reported ‘a higher rate of switchers than we’ve experienced in previous iPhone cycles,'” Manjoo reports. “Apple has not specified the rate of switching, but a survey by Cowen & Company found that 16 percent of people who bought the latest iPhones previously owned Android devices; in China, that rate was 29 percent.
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: What’s happening here is simply that the chickens are coming home to roost. We explained/predicted all of this years ago:
Android is pushed to users who are, in general:
a) confused about why they should be choosing an iPhone over an inferior knockoff and therefore might be less prone to understand/explore their devices’ capabilities or trust their devices with credit card info for shopping; and/or
b) enticed with “Buy One Get One Free,” “Buy One, Get Two or More Free,” or similar offers.
Neither type of customer is the cream of the crop when it comes to successful engagement or coveted demographics; closer to the bottom of the barrel than the top, in fact. Android can be widespread and still demographically inferior precisely because of the way in which and to whom Android devices are marketed. Unending BOGO promos attract a seemingly unending stream of cheapskates just as inane, pointless TV commercials about robots or blasting holes in concrete walls attract meatheads and dullards, not exactly the best demographics unless you’re peddling muscle-building powders or grease monkey overalls.
Google made a crucial mistake: They gave away Android to “partners” who pushed and continue to push the product into the hands of the exact opposite type of user that Google needs for Android to truly thrive. Hence, Android is a backwater of second-rate, or worse, app versions that are only downloaded when free or ad-supported – but the Android user is notoriously cheap, so the ads don’t sell for much because they don’t work very well. You’d have guessed that Google would have understood this, but you’d have guessed wrong.
Google built a platform that depends heavily on advertising support, but sold it to the very type of customer who’s the least likely to patronize ads.
iOS users are the ones who buy apps, so developers focus on iOS users. iOS users buy products, so accessory makers focus on iOS users. iOS users have money and the proven will to spend it, so vehicle makers focus on iOS users. Etcetera. Android can have the “Hee Haw” demographic. Apple doesn’t want it or need it; it’s far more trouble than it’s worth. – MacDailyNews, November 26, 2012
“All men are created equal.”
Well, not when it comes to users of smartphones and tablets…
The bottom line: Those who settle for Android devices are not equal to iOS users. The fact is that iOS users are worth significantly more than Android settlers to developers, advertisers, third-party accessory makers (speakers, cases, chargers, cables, etc.), vehicle makers, musicians, TV show producers, movie producers, book authors, carriers, retailers, podcasters… The list goes on and on.
The quality of the customer matters. A lot.
Facile “analyses” that look only at market (unit) share, equating one Android settler to one iOS user, make a fatal error by incorrectly equating users of each platform one-to-one.
When it comes to mobile operating systems, all users are simply not equal. – SteveJack, MacDailyNews, November 15, 2014
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Edward W.” for the heads up.]
Apple’s App Store widens revenue lead over Google Play – April 15, 2015
Apple’s iPhone and the minority majority – February 2, 2015
Apple iOS users spend vastly more money and time online than Android users – December 30, 2014
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Apple’s iOS dominates in richer countries, Android in poorer regions – March 25, 2014
Why Apple’s iPhone keeps raking in the majority of mobile phone profits – March 19, 2014
Apple dominates with 60% share of mobile phone profits – March 18, 2014
Android has the most unit share, but Apple dominates profit share, making more money than all Android smartphone makers combined – November 15, 2013
Android users poorer, shorter, unhealthier, less educated, far less charitable than Apple iPhone users – November 13, 2013
IDC data shows two thirds of Android’s 81% smartphone share are cheap junk phones – November 13, 2013
Android phones 3 times more likely than Apple iPhones to have been bought at discount store – August 22, 2013
CIRP: Apple iPhone users are younger, richer, and better educated than those who settle for Samsung knockoff phones – August 19, 2013
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013