Android devours Apple’s lunch

The Android operating system powered nearly three out of four smartphones shipped worldwide in the recently ended quarter as the mobile platform dominated the market, according to industry trackers at International Data Corporation (IDC).

"Android has been one of the primary growth engines of the smartphone market since it was launched in 2008," said IDC's mobile phones research manager Ramon Llamas.

"In every year since then, Android has effectively outpaced the market and taken market share from the competition."

In tablets, Apple's market share has fallen to just over 50% from 65% in the second quarter as Android devices gain ground, according to IDC figures.

"Having a lot of people building a lot of things covering a lot of price points with multiple brands in multiple places makes a big difference," said NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker.

"Variety is strength when it comes to moving units."

Best-selling smartphone
Android smartphones shipments surged to 136-million, topping those in the same three-month period last year by slightly more than 90%, IDC reported.

Samsung's Galaxy S3 overtook Apple's iPhone 4S in the third quarter to give the South Korean firm the world's best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

"The pace of innovation in Android is faster than Apple," said Gartner vice president of mobile computing Ken Dulaney. "They are just trying harder; Apple is way behind in that area."

Android is benefiting from being an "open-source" platform that gadget makers use free of charge and improve as they deem fit, providing Google with insights along the way.


Apple tightly controls its products from the software to the hardware and even the online shop for music, books, games or other content.

"What you get with Android is this incredible feedback loop with developers, equipment makers, customers, and designers," Dulaney said.

"At Apple, as long as they have a great vision internally it is fine but they don't have the feedback Android does."

Market share
Having thousands of different Android devices vying for consumers' cash is a strength when it comes to market share but puts hardware makers into a fiercely competitive arena, Baker noted.

"Other than Samsung, I don't know if other Android guys are making money," the analyst said.

Google gives Android away free, but the platform is crafted to make it easy for people to use the California Internet titan's money-making services such as search and maps, and get content at its online Google Play shop.

Forrester analyst Charles Golvin said that forces powering Android momentum include changing demographics of smartphone buyers.

Early adopters of smartphones focused more on new technology than on price, but the devices have gone mainstream with cost increasingly important to shoppers, according to Golvin.

"People are more inclined toward the Android platform because there is more choice and most of that choice is low price," Golvin said.

The open nature of Android and the myriad models offered by gadget makers serve as a "double-edged sword," warned the analyst.

Improving the 'ecosystem'Apple pushes annual updates of iOS mobile operating system out to its devices, while new versions of Android hit more often but must get through hardware makers and telecom services to get onto people's handsets.

"You have this lengthy chain of intermediaries who are delaying the delivery of that new software and its innovations to existing devices in the market," Golvin said.

He backed his point by noting that many Android devices in use still run on generations-old versions of the operating system.

Android gadget variety can also make it tough to design accessories or even "apps" that can be used across the array of devices.

For its part, Google has done an excellent job of improving the "ecosystem" of music, films, apps, books and more available for Android-powered devices, according to analysts.

In the red-hot tablet market effectively created by the iPad, strong growth is being seen by Android rivals including Amazon's popular Kindle Fire and Nook devices from Barnes & Noble, which run custom versions of the software.

Analysts believe that the Google-backed operating system is likely to spread to typically "dumb" gizmos like appliances.

"These platforms are becoming the molecule elements for building all kinds of hybrid devices," Dulaney said. Sapa-AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Sapa Afp
Guest Author
Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Lockdown relief scheme payouts to employees tops R14-billion

Now employers and employees can apply to the Unemployment Insurance Fund for relief scheme payments
Advertising

Press Releases

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday