back to article Android surges past iPhone in smartphone sales

Sales of Android-based smartphones are surging, tearing chunks of market share out of Apple, RIM, and Windows Mobile's hides. According to a report released Monday by the analysts at The Nielsen Company, although RIM and Apple still hold their number one and two positions as the top two suppliers of smartphones in the US, …

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Oh yes...

Wonderfully distorted US figures... Honestly the US market is so out of kilter with the rest of the planet it's a joke.

Next you'll be saying the nobody uses SMS messages because you've just dragged out some US study.

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Coat

I agree

Everyone I know has at least one Symbian phone. Likewise I'm the only one in the family who owns a WinMo device and at work, Symbian devices outnumber WinMo devices 3:1.

And yet WinMo has a more respectable 15%? Wha?

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WTF?

rather open statement.....

without any argument or proof behind it. Care to explain and demonstrate?

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Stop

Symbian

Not all Symbian phones are smartphones. Also, this study is an American one, where Nokia (where the OS of choice is Symbian) doesn't have a great uptake. We need global figures to show what you want.

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Answer lies in ...

1. Article is about US

2. Symbian (mainly Nokia) never had a strong presence in the US.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

The last qarter global sales figures had Nokia Symbian smartphones at 41% given that other vendors are also still shipping a few as well, you have to that would put Symbian's global share at about 50%?. Given that this shows Symbian at 2% in the US market, what is the real rest of the world share of Symbian?

The big question: Is the US marketplace now a leading indicator for the rest of the world? When it comes to mobile it never has been in the past.

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WTF?

Symbian

The most bizarre feature is that both charts show Linux selling more phones than Symbian.

I'd love to think that's true, but I seriously doubt it. Even allowing for Nokia's low penetration of the US market, it seems wildly improbable.

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FAIL

Not all Symbian phones are smartphones?

Oh yes they are.

What else would you call them?

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I wouldn't be so sure.

Over here in Canada, Android is seeing massive advertising on the TV and (unlike GUN/Linux) people on the street have heard of it.

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FAIL

RE: Not all Symbian phones are smartphones?

Reverse FAIL.

No, not all Symbain phones are smartphones. For instance, the Nokia 3310 runs a Symbian OS, would you class this as a smartphone? I certainly wouldn't. What would I call it? Probably just a phone.

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Intrigued...

Which Symbian phones aren't smartphones, then, by any broadly accepted criteria?

I'm struggling to think of any, unless you pick some fairly arbitrary rules.

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Umm, no...

The 3310 certainly doesn't run Symbian.

It's not a smartphone, was never sold as one, and doesn't even really qualify as having the Series 40 interface, as far as I can see.

Even if it did, that still wouldn't make it a "not-smartphone -but-Symbian" device, because Series 40 isn't Symbian either.

Series 60 is Symbian, and I still can't think of any phone that's powered by Symbian that doesn't qualify as a smartphone, certainly not in the range today, nor indeed in past years.

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Anonymous Coward

Walkman

Anyone know when the updated Android powered X Series Walkman will be out?

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Deja Vu ?

"Thats a nice computer, who makes it?"

Answer 1. "Dunno but it runs Windows"

Answer 2, "Apple"

We all know who won that round and with the emergence of Android Apple will most probably wind up in a niche again simply because they insist on binding hardware and software so tightly. Licence IOS ? No chance ! Licence OSX ? No chance !

Perhaps the rise of Android will make Apple think about their obsession with the 'experience' but somehow I doubt it.

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Badgers

Here we go again:

Apple WANT to be a "niche" company. They've never been interested in corporate sales, or selling to techies, or selling to anyone *other* than those who appreciate good design.

This is why Apple's "total market share" tends to hover around the 10% mark in every market they enter.

Apple don't care about stuffing office buildings with iMacs because corporate IT buyers don't give a gnat's chuff about design or quality: they're only ever interested in corner-cutting and discounts. Apple don't sell to this sector as it can only ever be a race to the bottom. As Microsoft, Dell, HP, Compaq and many others have found to their cost.

And that's also why Apple won't give a damn if iOS tends to bumble around the 10-20% mark. As long as it's the 10-20% of the market that's willing to pay more for quality design—occasional slip-ups notwithstanding—Apple will get along just fine. Why would they care if Nokia or Motorola or RIM are selling devices by the millions when they're barely making pennies in profit off each one?

Say a £50 phone sells ten million units worldwide. If the cost to build and support it is £49, that's £10 million in profit. Not bad, but not brilliant either. But at the low end of the market, price is *everything*, and customers are more than willing to sacrifice design and usability if it means they can pay less.

At the higher end of the market, the design *is* important, as is its usability: if you're paying that much money for something, you bloody well expect it to work well and look good.

So, let's say your up-market £500 phone sells just *one* million units worldwide. But it only costs you £200 to make. £300 million in profit = Cha-CHING!

That is what Apple's business plan is all about. Big *margins* are what matter.

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WTF?

Quality design, great joke...

I was shown something interesting on my iPhone 3G yesterday by a colleague (who also has a 3G). A big fat crack in the black plastic where the connector is. Why is it there? Because Apple in their infinite money grabbing wisdom decided that a micro USB connection (which is much smaller) would not allow them to rake the money in so they use their own massive connector. The plastic on the iPhone is of such shocking quality that it flexes at this point in the middle. And so has cracked. His has also gone in the same place (admittedly far worse than mine as he did drop his, something I have not done)

This, along with Antenna gate, is why a Desire (or something similar) will be replacing it and not an iPhone 4.

Reasonable looks; I don't think the iPhone is a looker personally, I just got it as it had the best OS - for me - for a smartphone when I was buying. But I wasn't expecting such cheap materials in a shoddily designed product though.

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Troll

Excuse me? Quality?

Antennagate. Nuff said.

Troll. Reason is clear.

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What about...

...the iPod - Apple have pretty large share in that market, and seem very interested in keeping it.

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Corrected that bit for you

"or selling to anyone *other* than those who appreciate form over function design."

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Horseshit

"Apple WANT to be a "niche" company. They've never been interested in corporate sales, or selling to techies, or selling to anyone *other* than those who appreciate good design."

Pure unadulterated horseshit. Apple have been doing everything in their power to increase their market share as evidenced by the near continuous mainstream advertisments for iPhones, iPads etc. They have transformed themselves from a computer manufacturer to a media device & services provider precisely because they are making little headway vs Microsoft. These days they make their money from selling media and the devices you play media on. The more people who own these devices the more media they sell. It is quite obvious that they would like as much market share as they possibly can.

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Flame

Fanboi ?

There is so much I would love to say to you but it would waste my time.

How about about you are an idiot.

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i read your first paragraph

And then i loled !!!

they will whore themselves out quicker than you can say iphone.

the latest round of product glitches is evidence of that they really dont give a fuck and that profit = Win

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Making money

> Perhaps the rise of Android will make Apple think about their obsession with the 'experience' but somehow I doubt it.

Apple is making money hand over fist, they're more profitable than anyone else in their market, their cap is ludicrously high.

Why would they want to think?

Ever since they stopped making the Apple II they've stopped wanting to be open and play nicely with anyone else.

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@Stacy

You won't regret getting a Desire. I've had mine for 3 months and I still can't help fiddling with it! The screen is great, it's fast and I haven't found a single thing that I want to do with it that there isn't an app for so far.

Go for the black one though; the mucky purple-ish one doesn't look as good. And battery life is a bit low, but no worse than my friend's iPhone or my old HTC HD2.

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@Arkasha - Thankyou

Thanks for the info, it's always nice to get feedback from someone who has been using one.

Oddly enough of all the techies in the office who had a 3G or 3GS not a single one is looking at going for another iPhone when the contract is up...

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I've got a desire too

I moved from an iPhone 3G. Generally I like the Desire better because it is so much more open (no more iTunes FTW!) and it treats you like an adult. Some things you may want to consider though:

- The battery life is much worse than my 3G was (which was poor to begin with). I pretty much have to charge it every day and this weekend I was using GPS a lot and the battery died by 3pm. Someone did point out to me that at least you can switch out the battery super easily but it's still a pain.

- It's a lot rougher around the edges in some ways than the iPhone. The iPodeque elements (movie watching / music listening) in particular are weaker.

That said, I gave my 3G to my fiancée and every now and then she asked for help with something on it and I shudder as Apple's total obsession with keeping the thing as tightly closed as possible comes flooding back to me. Then I use my Desire to wake my pc on lan and noodle around the network share with eStrongs File Explorer for some movies to watch while I wait for iTunes to get itself in gear :O)

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Is this American sales again?

How does this work out in the rest of the world?

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rest of the world

hard to say but there's some dirt-cheap Android phones out there even on PAYG. The lower price was always going to be a bigger seller than RIM's "we're very serious" and Apple's "so cool it doesn't even make calls" thing.

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Check this out ...

The following provides Q1 figures from IDC and Gartner. (Usually I would post the links to the original source and not the engadget spin doctoring and shilling, but this is more convenient!)

http://www.engadget.com/2010/05/19/idc-and-gartner-award-smartphone-growth-prizes-to-apple-and-goog/

NB - the differences in accounting for this ... units shipped vs actual sales.

For info, here is IDC Q2 figures for all mobiles ... don't seem to have released Q2 for smartphone segment yet ... and not necessarily OS specific ...

http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS22441510

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@Dazed and Confused

Anecdotal I know, but Apple brand loyalty is MUCH higher in the US. If the iPhone is suffering against Android in the US, it's going to me MUCH worse elsewhere.

This sorta bears out, I know WAY more people with Android smartphones than iPhones. I know of at least 10 Android owners that picked them up this year. I know one person that bought a iPhone4 (he has since returned it anyway).

If you think that graph looks bad for Apple, wait till you see the global picture... In particular emerging markets, where Android can sweep up due to it's low entry level prices that Apple can't compete with.

This really isn't unexpected anyway, as phones like the HTC Desire totally blow the iPhone4 away on features, design, flexibility and price.

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FAIL

Re: @Dazed and Confused

Yes because people you know are a good gauge of the market at large. I only know one person with an Android phone and I know 5 iPhone owners. So that means iPhone is winning in the UK doesn't it? (That's sarcasm in case you decide I'm being an Apple fanboy).

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but which android?

I have looked at android phones... and ttere are some really great 'droids out there... but my biggest issue is which android? 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2.... and can I rely on updates???

It seems that the telcos (and manufacturers) are proving a huge stumbling block to updating of 'droid phones and unless you are willing to "root" the phone you get stuck with whichever version of android came with the phone.

That has to change, The telcos and manufacturers need to sort that out asap!

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FAIL

answer: It doesn't matter.

The SDK hasn't changed that much since 1.6.

If you have a device running 1.5, there will be a couple of high profile marketplace apps not available to you, otherwise anything newer will be just fine.

This fragmentation is a figment of Apple's imagination. Sure there are plenty of different versions of AndroidOS out there, but they all run the same apps on the marketplace, and that's what matters.

The reality is, the vast majority of phones, and almost all new phones are 2.1/2.2

http://developer.android.com/resources/dashboard/platform-versions.html

As a developer myself, I target API Level3 (Android 1.5 or later), unless there is a very good reason not to. I have yet to find a reason not to.

Apple also have the same problem, iOS3, iOS4....

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Jobs Horns

Title

Agree.

I've got an HTC Desire, great phone apart from a few niggles (but every phone I've ever had has had some things I would improve).

But it runs HTC's SenseUI shell thing which I believe will cause delays in Android updates being available.

I don't want to rely on HTC providing updates for my phone just in case they decide the Desire is discontinued in 18 months and stop providing updates, conveniently at the end of my contract!

However I would still rather rely on the hardware manufacturer for updates than the bloomin' network provider!

Some things I want Android to sort out:

1) tethering over bluetooth, it can do USB but with my previous few phones it's been so convenient to not have to carry a wire around.

2) FLAC (not for quality, just for laziness purposes so I don't have to re-encode to MP3 from my music server) and cue sheet support in the default music player, and ability to choose a root music folder as otherwise the auto-scan picks up loads of other sound files on the SD card.

3) Separate sync accounts for gmail, google calendar and google contacts, and disable automatic contact linking

4) Better control over outgoing data, anything that wishes to sync data should be listed in the "sync accounts" menu so it can be disabled. A sort of outbound software firewall.

5) Improvements to the default Mail program, have refresh and foders buttons in view rather than having to press the menu button to access

6) Ditch threaded SMS view and give me inbox/sent/drafts. Or at least give me the option to choose. It's annoying having threads of a few hundred messages.

So there we go!

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HTC Desire upgrade

The news around the internet is that the 2.2 upgrade for the Desire has just been released.

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Troll

...and a full 89 per cent of iPhone owners planned to remain loyal...

Why? It sucks, I read this all the time!

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App investment lock-in?

If your app investment (in both money and time) exceeds the value of your phone you're going to stick with that platform - even if you don't upgrade every time.

And then there's perceived status and brand loyalty which is something Apple really understands.

It will take a lot to get iPhone users to switch to another platform - probably not worth trying at the moment when there's lower-hanging fruit elsewhere.

Not that I am calling iPhone users highly-strung fruits.

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Stickiness

"Why? It sucks, I read this all the time!"

Stickiness. The reason Apple ties its music, video & apps to the iPhone is because they are tied to the platform. People are not being "loyal" to the platform in the traditional sense, they're stuck with it.

Which is why if anyone has any sense at all they won't build up a paid for collection in the first place. Use the free apps and be free to get the hell out of something better comes along. As it has.

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Boffin

Interesting graphs, they are

It seems that the Android crowd is feeding mostly from iPhone to Android switchers, and a couple of Blackberry to Android switchers; but the increase in % seems to show that it isn't just switchers that are swelling the Android toters; it is also first-time smartphone buyers as well.

One thing that RIM should do is get out a combo touchscreen/keyboard device. I would definitely want one of those,as I like touchscreens but I wouldn't sacrifice my physical keyboard for a touchscreen. Hm... maybe HP should bring out something like the Palm Pre as well...

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Jumping (from windows) for joy

Remember those crybaby Chinese who were committing suicide at a regular clip having been forced to work 10x7 ? The Americans thought this might, just might reflect badly, so Apple, Dell, HP and some others pointed out they have a code of conduct for suppliers.

http://www.eicc.info/MEMBERSHIP.htm Happen to notice who doesn't belong ? Like maybe Google and Motorola ?

Pity. Just when those lazy slackers were getting used to the 10x6 schedule ...

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ceebee

I got my Desire the day it launched, and in 'a few weeks', my telco will be giving me 2.2

What other phone have you ever had, where you could rely on updates?

In the past I 'upgraded' WinMo phones using ROMs from the telco and forums.

In other words, you'll most likely get one upgrade from the telco, then it's down to you, but you'll be due an upgrade by then anyway.

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Anonymous Coward

Yes for your new phone

Of course your four month old phone will get a 2.2 update, question is will you get the next one? somehow I think not, speak to all the android users who aren't getting updates on a 9 month old phone..

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What other phone have you ever had, where you could rely on updates?

Erm, my iPhone...

*lights blue touchpaper*

*runs away*

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iPhone has it right to some extent

Android device support is all over the shop. Part of the problem is that Samsung, HTC want people to buy a new device, not support an old one. At the same time, manufacturers have some duty of care to keep their device popular, especially when its still selling. Therefore I think HTC Desire owners are lucky that 2.2 turned up so soon because HTC were inclined in their own interests to update to it.

Apple have better upgrades IMO, but it's not entirely altruistic. They operate a golden cage that people are trying to escape from. They have to keep patching the OS to stop that happening.

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Jobs Horns

Root me...

This is true, however there is a very strong modding community with Android. Even the first android dive, the G1, can now have 2.2 (Froyo) if you're willing to root it.

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Who wants another Microsoft phone?

That figure wasn't reported in the article, but based on my own experiences with a phone using a Microsoft so-called OS, the only way you'd get me to buy another is by including a second phone--and NOT a Microsoft-based phone, either. (Then again, Apple seems bound and determined to become the new Microsoft, as measured on the evil scale.)

By the way, I've been in the market for a new phone for six months, and leaning towards Android, but the Japanese market situation is rather confused and out of sync. I'm pretty sure that Brew is dominant here, but not even mentioned in the article. The company with the best position in Android phones has a terrible contract as regards data... Last time I had to wait about 4 years for anyone to offer what I wanted to buy.

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Linux

why are android and linux shown in different lines?

please forgive my ignorance, but really, isn't android running on linux?

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I think they mean native

I think the difference is that with an Android phone, you can't actually get down to the Linux bit - everything runs on a layer above it.

Whereas on a native Linux device - something running Maemo, say - you can hold CTRL+SHIFT+X on the keyboard, and a bash terminal pops up. It literally is a Debian distro, and you can screw with it as such.

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Not really

Android is a Linux kernel with a BSD derived user space and a kernel extension for BSD / proprietary drivers. So it's Linux + BSD. Furthermore, the kernel & userspace are cut to the bone and primarily there to serve a Java derived runtime platform called Dalvik. Most apps run on Dalvik and are OS neutral so in theory Android could dump Linux entirely if it so wished without affecting most apps.

So you wouldn't find busybox there for example, or most of the other standard Unix commands for that matter.

I don't know why Linux is listed separately, but perhaps a bunch of purer Linux implementations have been lumped together separate to Android to be more measureable.

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