Superphones: iPhone vs Android...
Everyone is convinced that a war exists between Apple’s iPhone and Android phones. Headlines constantly appear exclaiming that one or the other has won based on a selection of recent stats. The truth is, its possible to find an article claiming Apple as the winner or Android as the winner after any quarter.
There is loyalty on both sides. Fans of Apple’s iconic iPhone are known for lining up hours before the release of a new device and for updating to new Apple devices no matter the cost. Android fans praise the capabilities of many Android devices and state that these devices are more powerful, more durable, and more customizable than the iPhone in particular.
The results for this year’s third quarter seem to arm Android lovers with enough fact to claim that Android is in fact leading in the game. Samsung and HTC devices are amongst the most sold Android phones and are showing outstanding results from the last quarter. HTC saw a notable 79% rise in revenue since last year, with $4.53 billion being raked in. This is just one of the many devices available with the Android OS. In fact, the market is crowded with Android phones varying in shape, size and most notably, price. Depending on rate plan selection, Android phones can be as cheap as $0. They can also be significantly more expensive than Apple’s most recent iPhone 4S, which is advertised as starting from $649 without a rate plan. This is one major flaw in the argument that Android has “won” against the iPhone. Android is an OS found on a vast array of devices while Apple’s iOS can only be found on Apple devices, which are more expensive than most Android phones. The question is, if Android phones were all in the same price range as the iPhone, which would be more popular amongst consumers? Asking this question eliminates the fact that many people buy Android devices because they are cheaper, thus targeting an answer that shows which operating system is truly preferred and desired.
Apple’s Q3 results show a decline in sales, but this fails to reflect how the iPhone is really doing. One explanation as to why less iPhones were sold in Q3 is that consumers were anticipating a new device: the recently released iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S is now selling at an incredible rate, with four million devices being sold within the first three days of its release, prompting headlines which exclaim that Apple’s iPhone sales will make up more than half of all smartphone device sales in the fourth quarter. This is reinforced by the reduced prices of Apple’s previous iPhone 4 and 3GS.
The success of Apple’s business model is in its ability to continue making profits from a customer even after they buy the device. This is all thanks to the Apple App Store, which is (technically) the only place where iPhone users can download apps. Many people stand by Android for being an open-source OS, allowing the development of an unlimited amount of free apps by even the most amateur developers. Meanwhile the numbers are showing that more Android apps are downloaded than Apple App Store apps. Yet, because of the availability of so many free apps coming from many different sources on Android devices, companies offering these devices can hardly expect to make any money off of app sales. iPhone users spend much more on applications than Android users and this serves as a huge draw for professional app developers. It also provides Apple with a consistent flow of revenue, seeing as Apple takes 30% of all paid app sales. With Apple making so much money off of the iPhone, it’s hard to say they’ve “lost” any battle.
And the Superphone Winner is...
But then again, the numbers show that Android phones sell in larger quantity.
Its hard to determine a “winner” in this situation, as it requires the comparison between an OS which is limited to devices coming from a single source and another OS which is found on devices coming from a number of different sources. Are we comparing these two mobile operating systems on their ability to deliver revenue to the companies that provide them? Or on their specific capabilities?
Is the Android phone being as widely accepted on the corporate network as the BlackBerry or iPhone? Maybe it is time to revisit your current corporate wireless policy and include the Android phone?
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