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back to article Apple takes smartphone lead

Apple topped the US smartphone chart in the final three months of 2011, pushing past all its Android rivals. Well, just - and it's losing ground in the tablet arena. Ask Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a market watcher, how much of the US smartphone market Apple took in Q4 2011, and it'll put the figure at 44.9 per cent, Reuters …

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting Statistic

The most interesting quote for me was:

"Indeed, as Nielsen, another market watcher, revealed last week, among new smartphone owners, Android retained the top slot in Q4 2011."

I wonder what this tells us? On the one hand it could be that the overwhelming majority of iPhone 4S sales were upgrades to existing iPhones (not unlikely at all, given iUsers propensity to upgrade) or that an element of Android users are switching to iOS (equally likely given the customer satisfaction figures for all the major handset manufacturers).

I'm not suggesting it's one way or the other (and it's probably a bit of both) so Q1 and 2 2012 will be interesting to watch. I wonder in the long run how "sticky" each platform will be?

I guess the main learns for Apple will be a need to further compete at the bottom end if they choose to, for Google to chamfer the edges of Android as quickly as they can and for Android OEMs to do a better job around version upgrades to keep improving the user experience.

I wonder who'll execute best?

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Switch from Android to iOS happens

I did it last year. I wanted to get a more premium smartphone (my OSF is still fine as a second phone but I wanted something significantly faster because I was doing more mobile browsing) and when stacked up against premium Android sets there wasn't that much to choose until I checked the re-sale values (I use PAYG so I can upgrade when I like). £500 Android handsets rapidly diminish in value to £200 or so. An iPhone, sold just before the next one is announced, will still fetch 80% of its original price easily. Especially unlocked ones like I buy.

Not really a problem with Android phones themselves but it the market they've created. New Android models come out every week. Nobody wants old models.

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Anonymous Coward

36% ?

If this report is to be believed then 36% of iPhone 4S buyers moved from another platform

(http://www.cirpllc.com/)

Sadly no figures for movement in other directions, so I would take it with a pinch of salt

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Holmes

Moving goal posts

Used to a time where you measured one companies products against another. IBM sold X boxes, Gateway sold Y boxes, Apple sold Z boxes. The fact that the first two ran the same OS wasn't really part of the headline.

Yet now Apple is so dominant in the smartphone sector the only reasonable comparison is to compare them against the mulititude of companies offering Android devices. These aren't small business's either - Samsing, HTC, Motorola, et al are all giant, multi-billion dollar enterprises. Yet Apple still has close to half the global market, and the only meaningful measure is to compare them against all the rest combined (fast-sinking ships like RIM and Nokia excepted). Amazing.

(btw, before I get called a fanboi, I don't like Apple, and I don't own a single Apple product, but I think they're a remarkable company)

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Facepalm

re: .... IBM sold X boxes....

Er, no. Thats Microsoft that sell them.

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Conversely, the story has been Mac v PC for a couple of decades, so boiling hardware stats down by software isn't unprecedented. It's also quite reasonable when you consider the popularity of apps and the various other related markets that divide into iOS and Android camps irrespective of manufacturer.

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Anonymous Coward

Parochial? Not us.

"US, the UK, Australia and much of Western Europe"

Just love the parochialism - rather a lot of small countries, like Germany, France, Italy, Spain ... lumped together under "Western Europe"; UK, not even the biggest or richest in Western Europe, Australia, not that vast and does NOT include NZ (I assume it was subsumed into "Australia") get individual mentions. As for poor old Canada, wonder if that was included (bit bigger than Australia and a slightly different accent plus extra language from USA.

How about, "N. America, Western Europe and Australasia"? Then again, what happened to little areas, like India, Southern Asia, Japan? Even a small part of their population buying something can dwarf somewhere like UK and even more so, Australia. Does all those S. American couintries not use mobiles?

Anyway, as someone else pointed out, Apple is one firm, Android is any number of firms and (mostly out of date) versions. Nokia mobiles are rather wide spread and one can reasonably argue that any S60 and even the later S40s are as "smart" as Android or IOS.and still being sold in large numbers around the world.

As for tablets: if one maker has got almost 100% of the wider market, it takes very few sales of a new make to reduce its market share.

Who pays for these surveys? How tdo the surveyors make their money? Can any of them count? Thez would do better to walk up and down busy streets, trains, trams and buses and count what they see. Who on earth believes manufacturers or sellers with their rather strong interests?

It is like taking the commentators on The Register as representative. Ugh.

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Flame

In other words...

One company (Apple) is still selling more smartphones in the US than all the companies selling Android smartphones put together.

That's sort of impressive.

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It's about platforms not companies

On the other hand, that's also because Apple won't let anyone else sell an iOS based phone. Why? Because they would eat into Apple's market share rather than Android's. So whilst it is true that it is one company against many companies, the issue is really about platforms and therefore about Apple vs Google.

Google are doing to Apple in the smartphone business what Microsoft did to IBM in the desktop business. The difference in this battle is not Google/Microsoft. But Apple/IBM. Apple has a large enough consumer fan base to be able to stay the course. I firmly believe Apple will loose quite a chunk of their market share in the coming years, whilst still growing and increasing profits. The market is still in its infancy.

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Anonymous Coward

> Google are doing to Apple in the smartphone business what Microsoft did to IBM in the desktop business.

That's oversimplification. Google is also not Microsoft is this case since they don't get paid for each copy of Android sold, Google only profits from Android in a very indirect way by leveraging the natural lock-in to Google's services where they sell advertising.

That's not as stable grounding as Microsoft had with MS-DOS. As Google showed recently when ad money tightens up (or they have to compete with things like Facebook for eyeballs) they tend to do stupid things. How long can they keep adding more sponsored links and social rubbish to their first results page without users moving away?

Keeping all those dishes spinning in the face of increased competition will take some effort.

Microsoft on the other hand just had to wait for cheques from Compaq, Dell, IBM et al to come in. As they still do with Windows Mobile.

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Revenue Streams

Comparing platforms rather than companies hides the revenue stream. A company needs a revenue stream in order to survive and also to innovate. The revenue stream for IOS devices is clear .. Apple gets all of it. The revenue stream for Android is split between Google (who gets revenue from apps running on Android, not from Android itself) and the phone suppliers (who are a very broad bunch so the revenue stream is watered down).

So if you were to ask "who gets the largest amount of money to pay for development" it would be Apple

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm, selective PR.

US-Only figures, which means Apple are getting caned globally...

Microsoft pull this cherry-picking stat stunt all the time. Reporting news when they can twist something to sound favourable, keep quiet when they can't. The stupid press lap it up and never question the gaps in data.

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Trollface

Most Android phones are banned in the U.S by the ITC.

Guess who got them banned?

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Name one phone that was banned for sale in the US during the period covered by the figures.

Apple failed against Samsung (and Samsung aren't pursuing Apple in the US), won against HTC but with that ruling not to come into effect until the 19th of April this year and even then only if HTC don't disable some minor interface features, and Microsoft's attempts to get Motorola handsets banned are still ongoing.

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FAIL

Nonsense...

... there are dozens of Android phones, on every carrier, in the USA. I just bought a Samsung Galaxy Nexus last month on Verizon. If you didn't like that, there were several others that exceeded the iPhone's capabilities in most ways, all with 4G radios and most with larger 1280x720 screens.

There are a few reasons to expect Android dropped off a bit. The new Motorola phone, the RAZR, was quite nice, but also the first with a fixed Li-ion cell from Motorola. And not enough capacity for a fixed cell on 4G. They're revising that soon, with the RAZR MAXX and a 3000+mAhr cell.

But there's a bit of FUD and anticipation at the high end. Everyone knows that Android 4.0 (ICS) is out, but it's only on the Nexus so far. If the Nexus isn't for you, you might well wait for other devices shipping with ICS, rather than counting on OEMs to update in a timely fashion. Second thing: 4 core phones are coming Real Soon Now.

And also, it's the lack of pent-up demand. The iPhone always rockets to the top in the quarter after its released, because that happens just once a year. There's a new Android phone every month... or three. Plus, Apple's now magnifying that effect with their tiered pricing. Everyone knew the iPhone 4 would be kept, and dropped dramatically in price, once the new thing came out. That dampens sales even more leading up to the new device introduction, and it boosts sales, as now iPhones 4 cost $100, and (on AT&T only) the 3GS is now "free".

And, as other folks mentioned, this is the USA. People here are crazier about Apple than anywhere else. We don't always make good decisions... look at our tax and healthcare policies :-( But 4G does indeed rock... the one thing Apple can't yet compete against. Though curiously, Verizon's using 4G to improve the iPhone experience -- they gave LTE buyers (whch extended down to "free" now) double the data allowance per month, to drop pressure on the 3G network.

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US != World

Another US-centric piece.

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Angel

Google was hit relatively likely?

That spelling was unlikely, though.

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Comparing Apple to pears

Journalists, when comparing statistics of marketshare of smartphones (and tablets) and trying to belittle Apple should bear in mind the following when referring to Apple.

1) As stated elsewhere IOS is only one company Apple whereas Android is lots of major companies such as Samsung, HTC etc

2) Apple are only in the "luxury" smartphone/tablet market ie prices over $400.

Its like producing an article belittelling Mercedes for only have a small share of the overall car market. That would be a misleading statistic and unfair comparison. If writing about Mercedes market share journalists are wise enough to know they should only compare Mercedes sales in the "luxury" car market.

Therefore, similarly I wish journalist when talking about Apple smartphones/tablets only used market share statistics to compare them to other expensive smartphones and tablets in order to compare Apple with other apples.

I bet then that the statistics would show that in the "luxury/expensive" smartphone and tablet market the Apple share is really around 90%?

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