back to article Android's UK phone sales quadruple

Sales of Android-based phones more than quadrupled in the UK during the most-recent quarter. This news comes to us in a report from GfK Retail and Technology, a self-styled "global knowledge provider" based in Nuremberg, Germany. According to GfK, Android's share of UK smartphone contract sales sales was a mere three per cent …

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Pint

Does this mean the British buyer is more astute?

Americans, seemingly demonstrating they care more about style than the function have continued to buy Version 4 telephones notwithstanding there about 11 known defects with the product.

The figures you include in your piece suggest that the British smart-phone buyer is more concerned with function, inasmuch as Version 4 has defects and RIM fewer 'flashy' features, than style. In other words value for money.

Maybe the different philosophies behind Android and Apple - open and closed - is finally being recognised by the non-technical purchaser and they are voting with their wallets.

It will be interesting to see the sales figures in other countries in August.

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Stop

Or the contrary?

Funny, I thought that, for e moment, the Android platform is much less functional from the user point of view than the iOS. could it be that Iphone 4 has availability issues and others profit of this situation instead?

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Happy

Weeell, I dunno.

Fact is that 2010 has seen the launch of some of the best kit that HTC, SE or Samsung have so far produced; many of these phones being very stylish as well. Apple's iPhone 3 didn't face particularly strong competition whilst number 4 is actually having to fight its corner. Furthermore the numbers cited in the article predate the "Judasphone" contoversy. It will be interesting to see the next quarter's figures (for example we have recenlt seen the release of HTC's "Wildfire" and SE's Xperia lineup amongst others). It also must be mention that with Android 2.1 and the upcoming v 2.2 the iOS has a really solid and credible competitor. Finally, if Winphone7 turns out to be any good it should all get very interesting, particularly in the first half of 2011.

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Except...

this is data for the quarter before the iPhone 4 came out

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Megaphone

I think it's simply due to people realizing the iphone is not the only smart phone

Early adopters have been buying all manner of smart phones for ages, but it was the iphone that made it mainstream. People (i.e. the vast majority of phone buyers) who had been quite happy with their ever smaller number-pad phones, suddenly found themselves happily coughing up for an iphone, marvelling at 'apps' and banging on to all around them who'd listen.

Gradually more and more people started to realize that maybe they too might want an iphone - and the lo the iphone sold in ridiculous volume and was written about endlessly in the popular media.

Simply the decline in Apple marketshare isn't so much due to people not wanting to buy an iphone, just the iphone has led the majority of people to consider a smart phone and with their heads around that, they're considering the choice the new market offers them.

Other reasons:

Cost. an iphone over the length of a contract is expensive. I roughly equivalent Android device can be picked up for significantly less.

Iphone is not the only phone. Couple of years back my better half 'wanted' an iphone. Vodafone didn't carry them. In the end she got a decent discount on her new contract and a very pretty little SE candybar. This time she didn't want an Iphone. She looked at it, but ended up asking me if I was happy with my phone (an N1) and then went and bought one of those. I've had various smart phones (P800, few WinMobs etc) that she's never paid any attention to before.

Iphone is no longer 'exclusive'. From the great big Apple on the back to the white earbuds, the iphone was always a little bit 'look at me'. We've now all seen an iphone. It may still be expensive, but it's no longer an aspirational product now half the school bus queue seems to be waving them about.

Other smart phones caught up. Or more specifically made an effort to not just be about the function.

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FAIL

No fanboy

"Funny, I thought that, for e moment, the Android platform is much less functional from the user point of view than the iOS. could it be that Iphone 4 has availability issues and others profit of this situation instead?"

Nope, it's the opposite.

Multitasking and freedom to download and run anything compatible are just some of the benefits if you use any phone OS other than apple's

And the android use will increase much faster because at xmas people will choose those phones over more expensive apple ones with less functionality.

Android will ease more people into the smartphone market and onto their platform

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This new learning amazes me, Sir Bedevere

Tell me once more how ios (did they do a deal with cisco on that moniker yet?) outperforms android.

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FAIL

Nope

Android is more functional than iOS. For instance, I've got Spotify playing music while I'm browsing the 'net. If I find something that I want to download to my phone, I can leave it downloading and either open another browser window or leave it running in the background and go play a game.

The iPhone, on the other hand, cannot do that. Which is retarded for an apparently consumer-oriented device.

And "Availability Issues" mean Apple built like 4 of the things before releasing it so they could claim it sold out worldwide in 45 seconds.

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Hmm

"Funny, I thought that, for e moment, the Android platform is much less functional from the user point of view than the iOS. could it be that Iphone 4 has availability issues and others profit of this situation instead?"

Well this user you speak of is wrong. Android phones in general are just as usable and functional as an iPhone. More so if you consider the ability to choose a phone that fits your budget, form factor, feature set, network provider etc. And that android by default is a far better designed OS than iOS in most respects.

The fact that sales have quadrupled would seem to be a huge frigging flashing neon sign to that effect.

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usual uninformed rubbish.

"For instance, I've got Spotify playing music while I'm browsing the 'net."

you can do that on an iPhone.

"I can leave it downloading and either open another browser window or leave it running in the background and go play a game."

you can do that on an iPhone.

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you can do that on an iPhone.

Only if you're stupid enough to buy one.

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Android isn't an open shop for you

It's an open shop for operators and mobile manufacturers. Any operator and any manufacturer can put out a phone that is more locked down than iOS 1.0 and accurately promote it as an Android handset. It's simply inaccurate to claim that being an Android handset means being an open handset.

All the Android handsets I've encountered to date have been very open, but you'd be a fool if you are willing to discount out of hand the possibility that a million no-name brands will rush completely locked Android mobiles with unending intrusive carrier concessions to the market should the brand ever become a significant consumer force. The economics of carriers versus manufacturers versus consumers hasn't changed.

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Unhappy

Can't wait....

Can't wait till my contract ends so I can ditch the iPhone! But got 18mths left to go *cries*

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Ebay it to a fanboi

</nuff>

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lol

i should feel sorry for you .... but

Serves ya bloody right for trying to bit Hip

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Thumb Up

They hold their value

Sell it on eBay or one of those phone recycling companies and you will easily be able to pick up a decent Android or BB device for the money

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That's not a bad thing

...they might have fixed the antenna by then.

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lol..

Selling on ebay won't cover the contract + new phone :p

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Coat

re: Does this mean the British buyer is more astute

I think it does demonstrate that.

Americans buy whatever crap the TV tells them to buy. Xbox, iPhone, anything else on QVC..

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Anonymous Coward

Does this mean the British buyer is more astute

The people of the USA mystify me, I can't for the life of me think why a large amount of citizens there continue to buy broken Xboxes and faulty iPhones etc.

The brand loyalty is incredible, although the word loyalty has too much of a positive connotation, maybe brand slavery would be a better phrase.

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It's just like gubbermint

No really, it isn't [brand, party] loyalty that keeps people coming back to the same old crap. It is more of a devil you think you know vs. the devil you're completely clueless about with a bit of flag waving tossed in. It's all about US vs them without really knowing who US or them really are.

Over here, MS == US and Apple == US so it's ok to buy anything they make. Note that the same was true for GM and Ford until that whole quality debacle that ran from the late 70's to about last Friday. By the way, that is why we invited Toyota and Honda to build factories here, so we could adopt them as our own. Compare that with clearly foreign brands like Nokia (sounds too Korean), HTC (Hecho en Taiwan Company) and Motorola (What are they, Canucks or something? well that's not so bad).

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Anonymous Coward

Buyer's awaiting new model?

Let's face it, most people were aware during Q2 a new iPhone was coming. What will be interesting is to see if Apple claws back their market share with the introduction of iPhone 4.

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Stop

Overload

I'm an iPhone user. I'm out of contract but in light of dodgy antennas and iAds, thought I would check out Android. Surf on over to htc.com, to be confronted by a gazillion similar-looking phones with enticing but completely uninformative names - Wildfire, Desire, Incredible. Some have 'Sense'. No idea what that means. Most are big on social networking (I'm not), but I can't for the life of me tell which one is for me. I hear people going on about the 'Evo', but I can't see that on the UK site. I make a mental note of one that simply looks nice enough (very scientific), and Google it. Apparently it's aimed at the lower end of the market, and teenagers. Stuff that. I want ease of use, powerful, diverse apps, a good display, a good media player, web browser etc etc. Guess what? If I go back over to Apple, I can tell at a glance which phone is going to do that best for me. With a bumper, granted, but hey, I use a cover anyway.

So I'm back where I started.

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Agree...

HTC does have a crap web site, but great phones.

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The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Most of the HTC phones aren't available in the UK.

If you want a relatively high end Android phone you've really got two choices.

HTC Desire - Has their 'Sense' skin which is really just a few nice weather/clock widgets etc. Nice, solid phone.

Samsung Galaxy S - Newer / slightly higher specced than the HTC but a little less solid feeling (looks a bit like an iPhone 3G).

Both are about £30/month on a stupidly long contract.

Seriously - wander into a phone shop and have a play with those two.

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WTF?

Uninformative names?

So tell me then would you drive a Ford 'Has 4 wheels, an engine, is cheap, smallish but big enough for a young family' , or would you prefer to buy a Ford Focus?

And surely iPhone implies that it's a phone (a feature that it appears to have issues with :p )

I seem to recall people also compaining when it was the HTX 253gdter3 as it was hard to remember...

I'm also an iPhone 3G user, and when the contract is up I'll be going for either a HTC Desire or a Motorola Driod X as I just don't want to be tied down to Apple a second time, and the new Andoid phones have come of age comapred to the ones availabe when I was looking 14 months ago. How did I managed to avoid the overload? I read the specs and saw which did what I want...

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WTF?

Re: Overload

Yes, choice is EVIL. There should be a law against it, or something.

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Pint

Seriously?

You find it hard to research phones from one manufacturer? How do you survive as an IT professional?

The short version is get an HTC Desire, it's the best spec phone they currently do in the UK. The long version is that the specs of each phone are published on the HTC website, so you can easily compare them.

Not sure how to get that information into your head without you reading and comparing. How do you usually do it?

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So...

not so good with choice or decision making then are we?

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htc

Is cost not also a factor? My HTC Desire makes iphone owners a little bit jealous even before I tell them that my monthly contract price is half of theirs.

FYI: sense is the theme that HTC use on their android phones. generally makes the home screen look nicer and adds some improved apps by default.

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Yeah, but no...

HTC Desire is what you want, iPhone 3GS killer and still cheaper than an iPhone 3GS is now.

I understand what you mean about it being confusing but it's no more confusing than phones have been for years... as for Apple, they have a "one device suits nobody" policy, if HTC only offered one phone would that make you happier?

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Ummmm

Yeah. Apple only give you errr... ONE to choose from.

ADHD ?

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Joke

Try reading the Reviews on Register

head on over to http://www.theregister.co.uk

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Surely...

you start at the most expensive phone and start working backwards until you find one that *doesn't* meet your needs. There you go - the previous phone is the one for you.

Call me cynical though, I somehow doubt you really wanted an alternative at all.

(From a concerned iPhone 4 user).

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FAIL

"If I go back over to Apple, I can tell at a glance which phone is going to do that best for me."

Yeah, should you choose the iPhone with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard or not? Flip or slider? Trackball or touchpad? Capacitive or Resistive? Why with iPhones, there's so much choice!

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Title? What title?

That may be because Apple only have 2 phones (soon to be 1 once they sell out of 3GS stock).

If you can't be bothered to research an expensive purchase that's your problem, don't blame the manufacturers.

Do you complain that Ford sell too many types pf car, maybe they should rationalise their lineup and only sell 2 models (large and small?) that way people won't have to exercise their brains when making a choice?

For what it's worth the HTC Desire does everything you outline in your post and it took me 20 minutes to find that out and to find out that lots of people rate it as a phone.

Seriously, there are a hundred sites on the web that will help you find the information you need. Try Which? for starters.

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WTF?

Sheep?

You realise what a sheep you sound?

When confronted with choice you basically panicked and went back to Apple as they kindly decide what is best for you without you having to trouble your poor brain?

I realise that's very patronising but that is essentially what you did! Why not read the review on this very site to find out which HTC device is best for you? My initial thought would be the Desire

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I have a desire

If you're out of contract I suggest you just unlock what you have and keep using it until it dies. If you absolutely must upgrade, then I don't understand your laziness to do a little research. Of course the HTC site lists all their models, if you want to know what model your provider sells, visit their site.

As to your questions:

Sense is the HTC user experience over the top of the default android OS. Basically they swap out some of the default components and replace them with their own - animated backgrounds, different dial pad, keyboard, and some of the apps like alarm clock. Android allows for that and it works pretty well although vanilla android would do well to improve the default apps if manufacturers keep replacing them.

The Desire & Incredible would be most analogous to an iPhone in terms of features, screen size etc. The Incredible is a US Verizon exclusive phone, the Desire is available from lots of providers worldwide and also sim free. The Wildfire is a budget phone which is offers most of the same functionality of the Desire but with a lower res screen & slower cpu for about 3/5 the price.

My experience with the Desire has been generally excellent. Screen is a bit crap in direct sunlight but otherwise its a great phone. I bought my phone from Pixmania but you can get them on contract too. It's definitely not a low end phone and anyone switching from an iPhone should find the experience pretty familiar and in many ways a lot better.

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FAIL

A clue

I think the root cause of your problem may be hinted at in your first sentence. The marketing blurb presented on the manufacturers website is not sufficient information to make an informed decision on a technology purchase, you need to do a bit more digging than that.

Unless of course, as I've suggested, you're a typical iPhone user. In which case it's more than likely you believe everything Apple tells you and you're used to getting all the "information" you need from their PR department.

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Anonymous Coward

doesnt take you much to get confused then?

You have got to be kidding with this!

You went back to Apple because "I can tell at a glance which phone is going to do that best for me."

Isn't that because essentially Apple have 1 phone in 2 colours? 4, 3 or 3GS

If you really were confused by choice, perhaps NOT buying a smartphone would be more beneficial?

By god!

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I think I'd be happy

"If HTC only offered one phone would that make you happier?"

I'd be happy if they offered one name for each model.

They don't half make it difficult to find reviews and comparisons.

I used to own a Touch Cruise. Or a P3650. Or a Polaris. Or a Dopod T4288.

Not that it really mattered, once the next new model came out it was like they had never made the one I had bought a couple of months earlier.

I don't think they ever released the fixed video drivers, either.

Do they still do that stuff? I've kind of ignored them since then, which is a shame since they're the only manufacturer throwing any serious weight behind Android at the moment.

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Ignorance is bliss

If you were to ask the average consumer if they've heard of a iphone they'd tell you they have. But ask them what a Android phone is and they'd tell you they've never head of it.

Phone manufacturers just don't sell it as a feature. Just look at the latest Argos catalogue as an example.

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Anonymous Coward

Average smartphone consumer doesn't buy a phone from the argos catalogue

They get them from their existing provider, or a phone shop, or online. Probably. Main problem I've come across is people just assuming that they'll be getting an android phone and discovering that they've actually got some symbian pos

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Availability...

So this would be the sales period when the iPhone 4 came out? Meaning that 3GS sales naturally dropped, and yet there is - even now - not enough iPhone 4 stock to supply demand. I'm not going to argue that Android phones will inevitably overtake the iPhone (but not the iOS, for considerably longer) but next quarter will be more useful to see what's really happening...

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Anonymous Coward

There is a simple way to grow Android

Make sure that *all* the code can be fully examined, and then ensure it can also work in Arabic.

The whole reason the UAE is acting against RIM is because it hauls all the data back to US locations, which is for them untrusted territory, and the (unconfirmed) suspicion exists the iPhone does the same with location data. From an objective point of view this is actually a totally correct concern, so if Android has a solution it has an opportunity to nuke RIM and iPhone sales and totally conquer a market.

I'm positive, however, that someone will screech "terrorist" and put some unsavory components in Android too, using a principle that would see cars banned because they can possibly used as getaway vehicles.. But I'm just a cynic, what do I know..

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Code for android is open source

It's on android.com. If a government so wished they could roll their own build of the phone OS, sticking whatever apps they felt like on top too just like cyanogen does now.

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really?

Do you really think that the arab people care about that kind of thing more that western types? I don't mean goverments, which may or may not care, I mean the people that go into a shop to actually buy a phone.

I mean, if they did Linux would have cornered that market years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

Not entirely open

Many of the core apps people think of as part of Android are closed source, and Google has issues takedown notices for some modified firmware that included their binaries. Many of the drivers for the phone hardware are also closed, not to mention the firmware for wifi, bluetooth and similar. The same goes for customised UIs like HTC's Sense. IIRC cyanogen gets around this by distributing only the open part, and copying in the closed bits from a backup of the original from the phone.

The particularly paranoid can worry about the trend of putting the GPS receiver and the GSM/3G transceiver in the same hardware, controlled by firmware that is very much closed. Qualcomm stick it in the same chip, while Nokia attach the gps ship to the radio chip on the n900 and maybe more. The firmware could be sending location information to a third party without it even being visible to the OS, so an open OS is of no help in this case.

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