Android outsells iPhone by 33% in Q1

6 months ago when I traded my iPhone for a Droid, I told people that this was the beginning of Android taking over the smartphone world.  I don’t think one Android phone will ever outsell the iPhone, but I don’t see how the entire Android world won’t dominate with Google’s power and so many manufacturers behind it.  I was generally scoffed for this statement, but I didn’t see how it couldn’t be true.  With an iPhone, you have a very locked down device that only has one size/featureset and is only on one carrier.  Compare that to Android that is on many devices, from 3″ to 5″ screens, has a variety of keyboard options (both physical keyboards and software keyboards), is on all carriers, and has many manufacturers using and building on it.  In another month, there will even be an Android phone on Sprint that is both faster than the iPhone 3GS and uses Sprint’s WiMAX 4G connection for speeds as fast as home broadband.

The one advantage that the iPhone has that I don’t know how Android will successfully compete with is all of the 3rd party devices that use the iPhone’s dock connector.  From alarm clocks, to cars, to stereos, to the Nike+, to TVs, and a whole host of other types of devices, 3rd party manufacturers explore addons for the iPhone.  The Android phones all have a micro-USB connector which theoretically could support devices like this, but it’s going to require a well-developed SDK on Google’s side and a lot of encouragement with 3rd party manufacturers.  On top of that, Android devices could have their micro-USB connector anywhere so it wouldn’t work to have the simple drop-in docks that the iPhone has.  So that either has to be standardized or the device will have to include a cable.

Today it was announced that Android holds 28% of the USA smartphone market to the iPhone’s 21%.  This actually surprised me.  I really didn’t think that Android would outsell the iPhone this fast… I thought it would be another year or two before this happened.  Just 6 months ago, Android market share was about 4%.

Now it is important to add that this is only comparing to the iPhone and ignores the 30 million or so iPod Touches that are out there.  So it might be another 6 months before the Android ecosystem passes the Apple ecosystem.  But that day is coming rapidly.

For you iPhone users out there, here are some reasons to switch:

  • Get the device you want. Maybe you want a physical keyboard, a bigger or better screen, expandable memory that can read cards from your digital camera, removable battery, or a cheaper device… you can find all of those things in the Android world.
  • Get the carrier you want. Maybe you don’t want AT&T’s worst value plans (same price as Verizon with noticeably worse service — even Sprint has much better 3G coverage than ATT).  If you’re going to have a device as powerful as the iPhone, why deal with so much 2G when traveling?
  • Widgets and Multitasking. The iPhone 3GS is supposed to have multitasking soon and maybe some form of widgets.  Android already has them both.  There’s nothing like lightning fast switching between apps rather than opening one and going to another then having to wait for the first one to open again.  And widgets are really cool… you don’t even have to open the app to see content you want to see (Chats/email/music control/etc)
  • Take control of your device. Maybe you don’t like the home screen… switch it out.  Maybe you want to try the new Swype style of keyboard — Android will let you.  There’s no reason your phone has to frustrate you when you decide you quickly need to be able to turn on/off wifi in order to not have the “hey, I found an access point” box pop up all the time. Or if you regularly disable the screen timeout so you can read on the device without having to touch it every minute.  There are apps/widgets to easily change those settings without having to wade through the iPhone’s screens and settings menus.  Themes, backgrounds, etc, are also available.
  • Gmail and Google Voice integration. This is just awesome.  The Gmail Android app works just like Gmail on a web browser.  The iPhone Mail app isn’t even playing the same game.  Huge difference.  And the Google Voice integration is excellent.  You can set all your outbound calls to automatically go through your Google Voice account or you can choose on a call-by-call basis whenever you make a call.  Google Voice now has notifications so whenever a new text or voicemail arrives in Google Voice, it notifies you within a few seconds just like a real text.  So now you can get unlimited texting for free, and you can get all the other advantages of Google voice, such as voicemail transcription, and multi-number call routing, and handling calls differently based on the caller ID number.  For instance, I have one friend’s number set to automatically ring to voicemail between 2am and 9am.  He calls me too frequently in the morning and wakes me up so he gets my voicemail automatically.  🙂

And that doesn’t even consider the idea of rooting the device and installing ROMs which open up even more control of the device and then you won’t be limited to the carrier’s whims for updates, either.

There are many other reasons to switch (and of course, a few reasons not to), but all in all, I don’t miss the iPhone one bit.

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9 thoughts on “Android outsells iPhone by 33% in Q1

  1. Those numbers don’t count the voiceless iPhone–I mean iPad. 🙂

    Seriously, though, I think Adroid lives or dies in the long term based on it’s ability to port iTunes functionality (including playing Apple formatted music and seamlessly downloading podcasts) more than anything else. That is why the iPod has a stranglehold on the MP3 player market.

  2. Well, the iPad has only sold a million units. That pales compared to the iPod Touch which sells about 60% of the iPhone units. I didn’t consider it relevant.

  3. I think iPad is relevant here because of the wireless plans that are sold with it. If you’re paying for AT&T wireless with your iPad, you essentially have a near replacement for an iPhone or an Adroid without voice. I’m in the camp that prefers that Android would win because it would be cheaper and more open for consumers, but I just don’t see how Android will beat out iPhone in the end based on iTunes and the fact that the iPhone (iPad, Touch, iPod) is a status symbol.

  4. The iPad is not relevant because even if you have one you still have a cellphone. I too was surprised at the speed at which android has taken the market share. I also disagree that iTunes functionality is a big deal, honestly it’s an incredibly Sluggish program. Also with free services for music and other things it’s even less of an issue. It is true that iTunes is by far the
    easiest podcast utility though.

  5. The iPhone will be a more successful Macintosh. Android will be a less successful Windows. Apple refuses to acknowledge that they aren’t all things to all people, and they are not priced for value in the market. So everyone who wants something other than what Apple provides or won’t pay Apple’s prices will turn elsewhere. Most likely, they’ll be turning to Android.

    The same will be true for tablets… soon there will be slate/keyboard Android tablets in the $200-300 range that will have more capabilities than the iPad. Together, they will outsell the iPad, though probably not in 2010.

    You can still use iTunes with Android through a connector app. I hate iTunes, but I’ve heard it works fine. I find myself using Pandora and last.fm almost exclusively thanks to Verizon’s ubiquitous 3G.

  6. The reason iTunes is important here has very little to do with the technology. It is that it is very difficult to move from iTunes once everything is set up in iTunes. I haven’t checked recently, so maybe there’s a port from iTunes to some other system, but if not, then most people already using iTunes (a very large part of the market) won’t endure the switching costs involved to move from Apple. Apple knows this and will do everything in its power to make it difficult to move your Apple music/podcasts/content to a non-Apple device. That was why they blocked the Palm Pre from iTunes about a year ago. That is also why, if there is a user-friendly app to access iTunes from Android, Apple will try to implement some means of blocking it in the near future.

  7. http://techcrunch.com/2010/03/31/doubletwist-itunes-for-android/
    That’s using an Apple-approved means of interacting with iTunes.
    There are also options like this, where you can use Winamp to manage iTunes music:
    http://mp3.about.com/b/2009/03/20/use-winamp-to-manage-your-itunes-songs.htm

    Options do exist. Microsoft’s Zune software is on the same level as iTunes, though I don’t know about migrations. When I used iTunes, it was from predefined playlists and I managed my music in those playlists.

  8. Doubletwist looks just like it has a UI similarity to iTunes rather than a true iTunes integration. Maybe I’m reading that wrong?

    All I’m saying is that Apple has built in serious switching costs to moving away from iTunes and has actively blocked other devices from accessing iTunes (Palm Pre), and that will have a serious impact on the success of non-Apple devices.

  9. Doubletwist integrates with the iTunes library so it complements iTunes (though it doesn’t require iTunes in order to work). You use iTunes to buy/organize music and doubletwist to transfer audio to the device.

    The Palm Pre is a unique situation because Palm made the Pre identify itself as an iPod to iTunes. It’s doubtful that any other manufacturer will ever do that.
    BTW, there are more software options than just doubleTwist for syncing iTunes with other devices.
    http://www.aboutonlinetips.com/sync-mp3-players-with-itunes/

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