Android vs. iPhone, who’s the fairest?11/20/2013
For all of its hip commercials and excellent word-of-mouth buzz, Apple’s iPhone is still second-best. Market analysis from this past quarter revealed four-fifths of the world’s smartphone users are Android users, Google’s mobile operating system. As dominant as 80 percent sounds, why does it feel like Google’s stronghold is an outright lie?
Android’s quiet climb to the top of the smartphone world wasn’t about marketing or innovation but pure and simple undercutting the competition and providing the alternative. While the iPhone was undoubtedly the best smartphone for four or five years after its release, it was expensive at first and only available to AT&T customers. Since it first hit the market, Android has been available on practically every carrier, offered extremely similar functionality, and it practically reset the scale for what smartphones should cost.
One of the major differences between Android phones and iPhones is the manufacturing. Apple designs and produces all of its phones whereas Google licenses Android to manufacturers, meaning there are dozens of Android options on the market at any time. In fact there are four major producers currently making Androids, and that is where the trouble lies.
As much as we all like to believe that variety is the spice of life, it is poison to the market. Samsung, considered to be one of the Android frontrunners, produces phones practically indistinguishable from its competitors. So while the Android user base, as a whole, comprises 80 percent of the smartphone market, four different manufactures split that pie, and it is really affecting their bottom line. The HTC flagship Android phone tanked so bad with its most recent release the company is considering leaving the smartphone race entirely. For all its advertising and online buzz, Motorola’s Moto X has only sold a paltry 500,000 units in three months. Both LG and Samsung are profitable in their Android ventures, but Samsung is rumored to be disappointed in its smartphone returns.
While I don’t foresee Android’s market share collapsing like a house of cards, it can’t be a good sign when your manufacturers aren’t reaping the benefits of Google’s success. CV
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. For more tech insights, follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.