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back to article Google's Moto move spells iPhone doom

Mergers and acquisitions used to be how a company bought revenue, customers, or cool technology. In the mobile world, it's increasingly a way to buy defensive patents. This was clear in Google's $12.5bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and it will unfortunately fuel many of the strategies Apple, Google, and others employ to …

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Anonymous Coward

Gartner???

Gartner - seriously??? Historically as accurate as S&P, particularly with regards to the mobile market.

But overall, I agree - the iPad lead is unsustainable, and falling component costs mean that someone will be able to produce an effective web browsing tablet at a fraction of the cost.

The elephant in the room, though, is software. f Apple had launched the iPad without first building the iOS development ecosystem with the iPod and iPhone, I suspect it would have been an expensive flop, or niche success. Like WebOS right now, it would have been trapped in the cycle of low of software due to low sales.

Android, of course, has massive device sales - but Google are still struggling to build a software market that can sustain a comparable level of commercial development to Apple (and like Apple's strategic errors, this one is caused by Google's own bias against paid content).

And that is what is stuffing Android tablets - a lack of 'killer' software, like Garageband or The Elements - and it is going to take a long time before device numbers become large enough to incidentally create a large enough market.

That's Apple's real runaway lead.

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FAIL

it will come around again..

what we are witnessing is the beginning of the apple slump, exactly the same as happened with pc's - cheaper, faster models flood the market and apple looks slow and expensive and their response is to increase prices - the mac mini is £549 - that's their entry level pc.

sadly apple haven't learned.

i've had 5 macs and 4 ipods and used mac os for 15 years - but i had enough when prices went up, they started selling macs in tesco and argos, they allowed windows on macs, they refused blu-ray on macs and their actual pc marketshare is flat.

i can see where this is going - it has happened before and it will happen again. give it 3 years.

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Silver badge

Predictions

People have been predicting a new apple slump since the IPod came out yet they have successfully launched an entire Eco system off the back of it transferring their halo to two different pieces of hardware.

Good luck with your prediction - I wouldn't put money on it.

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sadly

yes, I'm sure Apple are very sad they haven't taken your advice.

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Pint

An old macobserver.com motto seems appropriate here

Apple: Successfully going out of business since 1981

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Er.

Typical of the mislead by buzz dominant opinion we can see around.

iOS and its terrestrial avatars will long survive this passing news. Apple is on a whole different plane, the king of its integrated business model. It can thrive in a minority position, has done this for 35 years.

Google is in a Microsoftisation process. Low added value. Sustainable by ubiquity. Google "Open" = MS "Standard"...

Its trajectory is to collide with its true master.

Motorola is to Google what Nokia is to Microsoft. Except Microsoft had the intelligence not to acquire the whole mess... Google was desperate. Motorola too. And the latter excited the appetite of the former, by first menacing to join the WinMo cronies, then to sue for patent royalties its Android siblings.

Ubiquity is their game. By definition, there is only one place around for that.

Apple, as usual, is just the small mammal under the ferns...

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Ru

It can thrive in a minority position

No. No, it really can't, and did not. It wilted, and it took some serious management shake up to drag it kicking and screaming into relevance again.

i will say though, Google "Open" = MS "Standard" is an excellent observation. I shall steal it.

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Bronze badge

I take it that Mr. Asay hasn't bothered to shop for Phines then

In other words implying that Android is cheep. LOL WHAT A RIOT!

Any decent Droid Phone HTC Desire (HD) or Galaxy S / S2 is gonna set you back as much as any iCrap device.

And I'm not about to be dictated to by some iDork in a Turtleneck about the thing I can AND CAN NOT DO on my device.

Can your iCrap play Matroska, how about ogg and the Daddy of 'em all Adobe Flash?

I didn't chose Droid cause it was cheeper, I chose is cause IT IS BETTER!

Mores the pity that Nokia sold out to the like of Redmond, cause the N9 could have been the Device that saved Nokia, As a Consumer I would love to have such a device, and assuming that Nokia did there Homework before hand, then it's unlikely that MeeGo would be so gimped by all the BS that Crapple are throwing around right now.

Hopefully when Samy meet Crapple in Court the Judge will have the decency to find in Samsungs' favor and tell his Hollyness to get stuffed!

Why U no have evil Jobs no more?

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Jailbreak or become a dev

And yes, I can play MKV files all I want on my iPad2.

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or get Buzz player

No need to jailbreak. It plays MKV and OGG fine just fine. Well, it struggles with 1080P MKV's but I think that's just the limitation of the device.

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Anonymous Coward

What's wrong with engineers being overpaid?

Still much better than lawyers being overpaid.

Why are there no Saint Bill and Saint Steve icons when you need them?

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Devil

Android is not cheap.

Android (on a comparable handset) is not cheap - a Samsung Galaxy IIS or something near-equivalent to an iPhone 4 is just under £500 SIM free - i.e. basically the same as an iPhone 4.

Sure there are cheaper Android handets but some of the 'really cheap' Android handsets are dreadful and can in-no-way be compared to an iPhone 4.

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cheap

The phones that make up the big chunk of that huge market share Android has are the cheap ones, not the iPhone level ones.

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Androids broader price range + customer inertia->long term trends

Yes, with Android you can pick almost any price and find a phone, as low as £40 for PAYG today.

With Apple you can choose between expensive, more expensive or 2nd hand (but still expensive).

Much cheaper to buy into Android, once in its such a PIA switching platforms you'll stay. Plenty of high end Android devices when or if you feel the need to move upmarket. This is the real threat to Apple, inertia will drive high end sales in the long term.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Android is not cheap

"Android (on a comparable handset) is not cheap - a Samsung Galaxy IIS or something near-equivalent to an iPhone 4 is just under £500 SIM free - i.e. basically the same as an iPhone 4."

But you can get it free on a contract - e.g. for £30 per month for 24 months. With an iPhone, you tend to have to pay for the handset (and on some contracts this would be £199-300) and over the length of a contract, an Android device, even the most expensive sime-free, is a heck of a lot cheaper.

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WTF?

Am I missing something...

Yes there are lot of cheap Android phones out there... but how does that 'doom' the iPhone exactly? It's like saying the huge take up Windows 7 dooms Mac laptop and desktops. It hasn't has it, especially over the last ten years?

Oh and like the gentleman typing his doom of iPhone using a pair (?) of Apple devices, this has been typed on a Windows 7 running HP envy 17, but I do have an iPhone 4. Like both!

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Pint

«The sooner we get back to competing on product quality, innovation, and price,

the better.» Amen, Mr Asay ! But as long as the patent and copyright situation is as fouled up as it is - primarily, but hardly exclusively in the US - the situation is most unlikely to improve. (I note that Mr Asay and/or the Reg have copyrighted his article - I only hope that my quotation from it above will be deemed «fair use» and that I shan't be dunned by «overpriced attorneys»....)

Henri

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Pint

"Android hasn't won because it's better"

"Android hasn't won because it's better, it's won because it's cheaper"

Well, in part, but I think Android is winning because:

-Yes, the hardware is cheaper and so are most of the apps.

-If there's "an app for that" on an iPhone, there's 30 apps for that on Android, and most of them are free.

-It's a (mostly) open platform, and while Google doesn't condone rooting your phone, they look the other way and don't especially discourage it.

-No iTunes. Repeat: No iTunes

-It's shameful that Apple is so worried about you monkeying with your phone and DRM that even now there's no SD card slot on iPhones or iPads.

-And yes, the younger generation will tend to keep buying Android, just like cigarette companies trying to get the young populace hooked on their particular brand.

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Gold badge

Jailbreaking

Apple doesn't care if you jailbreak your phone. But you can't expect help once you do, just like fitting a mod chip in your console is going to kill the warranty.

Much of the backlash of jailbreaking has been due to it then being used to unlock the phone or run pirate software.

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@Giles Jones

"Much of the backlash of jailbreaking has been due to it then being used to unlock the phone or run pirate software."

How is this a bad thing? For starters, I see no moral problems whatsoever with unlocking a phone.

If I were to also choose to run pirated software then that's between me and my conscience. My technology should have no say whatsoever in any moral decisions I choose to make.

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Meh

Younger people staying with the same?

Actually, by the time children/youth start to get older and get some indepence and cash, they tend to cast off childish things and want to look like a grown-up. If they associate an XYZ device with their childhood and adolescence, they will, as soon as possible, mark their newly felt maturity and wealth by moving to "grown-up" toys, whether that is a car that can go a whole week without a vist to the garage, a pair of shoes and a shirt that do not scream,"I am a 14 year old nerd" or a new model of telephone.

Youth buying things is not a promise for the future, just ask most rock bands.

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Stop

Going after Apple

First Reg article offended the Android Fan Bois, I can respect that.

Much as I would commend someone for offending the Apple Fan Bois, I can't help shake my head at the stupidity of saying something which will incur the wrath of those supercilious smug little shits.

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Unhappy

Plainly untrue.

>> If there's "an app for that" on an iPhone, there's 30 apps for that on Android, and most of them are free.

Plainly untrue - there are MORE apps by number on the Apple store than the Android Marketplace. As a percentage there may be more free apps on the Android but does anyone really mind paying less than £1 for a good app??

Free apps are often (not always) crap or ad supported. I would much rather pay something for a better quality app, that the author is being paid for (i.e. more likely to want to support) and with no ads.

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FAIL

If only.

"The sooner we get back to competing on product quality, innovation, and price"

That's the problem - Android and the other smartphone manufactuers are mainly interesting in trying to copy the iPhone / iPad. INNOVATE don't COPY.

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Devil

If only... as if.

> ...INNOVATE don't COPY.

When I buy an Android device, I don't buy it because it is some Apple clone.

I buy it specifically because of how it is NOT an Apple clone.

I buy non-Apple devices for the things that Apple refuses to do.

Fanboys are just sticking their heads in the sand here.

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Thumb Up

Exactly!

These are the main misconceptions behind the whole Apple vs Android debate:

1- people do not buy an Android because it's cheaper; the best-selling Android phones and pads are at least as expensive as the Apple ones

2- people aren't 'lured' into buying an Android in spite of an Apple 'obviously' being better; for many practical ends an Android is the better choice and people know that. Maybe 2 years ago iOS had some advantage in souplesse and screen-response but not anymore. You dont buy a 500 euro device without comparing the options.

3- people don't 'fall' for a similar but badly designed Android and give up all the good things Apple has to offer; they HATE iTunes and all what its stands for. They HATE the fact that an iOS device will always be owned by mr Jobs. They hate the fact that only once every year a not-so-big update comes to the market.

On a side-note, where does the so-called advertisement business come in? I have been on Android for almost 2 years now and have yet to see targeted adds on it, except for some in-app banners when the app is free or unregistered.

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Really, these are misconceptions?

Point 2 - the issue of lack of hardware accelerated graphical compositing system on Android is still a problem. Single core Windows Phone devices are smoother and more responsive than high end Android phones. I tried both, I noticed.

From:

http://nfarina.com/post/8239634061/ios-to-android

"Android seems to have made the decision early on that they wouldn’t force their manufacturing partners to include a GPU. This decision made total sense back in the pre-iPhone days, but now it’s causing pain, as even the new hardware acceleration in Android 3.0 is limited by the original software-based compositing system."

Point 3 are things that most people don't care about. Or if they did they would equally be concerned about:

- Android lacking any proper sync solution to get music/video onto their phones, without relying on a assortment of not very good third party tools.

- Google keeping so much information on them.

- Not getting updates at all.

An android enthusiast attacking another platform over updates is the funniest thing I've read in a while! Windows Phone Mango coming to all Windows Phones (regardless of network/geographical location) this autumn. iOS 5 coming to every iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 this autumn (regardless of network/geographical location).

Android Ice Cream sandwich - you don't know anything! Look at all the mess in the past (HTC Desire to 2.3). What on earth makes you think it is going to be any different?

Finally, Google is very much an advertising company. It is where the vast majority of their revenue and profit comes form. If you haven't seen 'targeted' advertising yet, it is only a matter of time.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Exactly!

"These are the main misconceptions behind the whole Apple vs Android debate:"

One misconception that you didn’t mention is that yer average punter doesn’t care about that Steve Jobs is running Apple. Similarly, a lot of consumers don’t give a stuff about iTunes or that Android, in theory, is open source. Another misconception you missed is that people tend to project their own opinion and prejudice as fact in these debates.

The idea that “people do not buy an Android because it's cheaper” is a false one – some folk do go with price, be it for phone, tablet, clothes, car or whatever. I have several mates who manage mobile phone stores throughout the UK and for different companies, all of who report that an awful lot of people come in for an iPhone but leave with an Android phone because the latter is more economical. That’s not to say Android is worse or that an iPhone wouldn’t better for them, but that some people’s buying decision are affected by the fact they can get a get an Android phone as an free upgrade – particularly when they didn’t know how much the iPhone costs.

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Pint

Cheap.

Android sells (to the vast majority of people) on price alone - to the (vast majority of people) if they could have an iPhone for the same price - they would.

A small number of people buy it for technical differences - in the same way a small number of people jail-break iPhones - to most people it's irrelevant.

A huge number of people buy a 'Ford' but how many of those would 'prefer' a BMW / Mercedes.

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Alert

Cars

Iphone = Audi

Blackberry = Mercedes

Nokia = BMW

Android = all the other brands together (including Lexus, Volvo etc..)

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WTF?

Nokia = BMW

what!?!!

Nokia = the biggest POS I can think of

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Anonymous Coward

Anti-competitive

Ok, if all this "Apple flexing it's patent muscles to keep Android out of the tablet market" stuff is accurate; then at what point is Apple deemed to be conducting anti-competitive behaviour?

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Facepalm

Re: Anti-competitive

I guess they've become anti-competitive when they willingly forge image aspect ratios to make the Samsung galaxy tab look more like the iPad. .... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/16/apple_samsung/

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numbers and letters

So long as it is protecting it's IP within the law it will not be deemed to be being anti-competitive.

Patents by their nature are anti-competitive. Their intention is to protect the innovator.

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Mushroom

The nuclear option...?

Motorola hold the patent on the mobile phone, or so I believe.

Game over!

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"Android owns the future global mobile buyer" - really?

"Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?

Android owns the future global mobile buyer."

I remember when people said the same thing about MySpace and Bebo - "Kids use them so Facebook will die out"...

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Google is a bubble

Their whole model is based upon advertising with the perception that internet advertising and information is worth a lot of money, is the perception valid or is it a bubble, how much of this data can actually generate a sale of something real?

If it's ever realised that this isn't as high as perceived then Google will be in trouble as they don't have anything else, they don't actually sell anything that's real. Your Apples and Microsofts at least have a product you can buy.

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Bronze badge

It's valid

You only have to read Google's earnings releases to see that it is no bubble, they could hardly make more money if they were printing it, last quarter they made about 2.5 billion dollars with over 9 billion in revenue.

Of course, Facebook could start eating their lunch, who knows?

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Childcatcher

(untitled)

"kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?"

good article until i got to this statement...

it has been my experience that kids want whatever phone is fashionable. my daughter wanted an iphone because that was the phone to be seen with. Many og her friends have blackberries, but they are envious of the iphone owning friends.

I have an Android, (HTC desire) and my daughter even admits that its a better phone than her iphone, but when asked if she wants a similar handset when her contract expires was responded with a massive "hell no", she has to have another iphone to fit in with the "in crowd"

so, its my experience, that adults buy most phones, the phones kids use are fashion statements.

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Flame

Kids buying "cheap" handsets.

I find it depressing to think that anyone would want a phone just because someone else had one.

I'm an adult that tried an iPhone before I bought it. I did so because it was a compelling user experience which was unparalleled in 2007. I've also played with recent Android devices and they have caught up in experience, but 1) I don't believe any Android licensees give a crap about their customers. You cant say for sure if you buy an Android handset today that it will run an updated release next year. iPhone pretty much guaranteed. My 2007 device still runs most apps released today. 2) Resale value. In general you can buy an iPhone every 18 months funded by the sale of the last handset. You can also be fairly sure that if you look after it that it will look like new. I'm not seeing the same from any 6 month old Android handsets I've seen, the build / design is just not there. Sell it an move is the mantra for HTC and all Android device makers as far as I can see.

The last Samsung mobile phone I bought was a rip off of the Motorola Razr. There is not a lot of innovation there now that I can see. Its marketing tick boxes, quantity over quality.

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Linux

Devil's in the details...

> You cant say for sure if you buy an Android handset

> today that it will run an updated release next year

Actually, I have better chances with the Android phone because I am

far less interested in "rooting" it or "jailbreaking" it. In order to run the

latest version of PhoneOS, you have to de-jailbreak it.

Did that with my iPhone right before I got my current Android.

The experience was rather jarring. I wouldn't want to go back to a non-jailbroken iDevice.

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Thumb Down

Kids buy blackberrys not Androids

'Nuff said

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funny huh

Google lost bidding on Nortel patents. Moto's CEO talks about switching to MS, rumors about MS acquiring Moto. and now Google acquires Moto for 12+B, company which isn't profitable, sales have been declining and is 3rd behind Samsung and HTC when it comes to Android OS.

So I guess Moto was clever with those public statements about switching and suing other Android manufacturers and drove Google to spend so much money on them. very clever. Let's hope Google isn't buying a dead horse.

When it comes to patent portfolio, don't forget this is mobile division of Moto and MS obviously doesn't give a shit and sued them anyway so the patent portfolio doesn't seem to be that strong.

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Gold badge

Anti-trust won't allow it

Google's search and advertising dominance means it has to tread very carefully when trying to restrict competition.

The question that will be asked is are Google using their dominance in online services to monopolise the handset market?

Sure, Android may be free now but it may not be for much longer? after all, they haven't released the source for the latest release. Okay that may be because it isn't ready for phone handsets but it's a slightly worrying sign of what may come.

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Bronze badge
WTF?

A hundred and how many comments ?!

<rant>

<p>All these comments based upon a Shit Happens graph mislabeled as Adoption Curve or some such. What is up with that ? Don't you people have a neighborhood stores to burn down or something ?</p>

<p>Warren Buffett was absolutely correct (about taxing the wealthy) - the assumption that the 'winners' need special advantages to thrive (let alone that they actually notice, or appreciate) is crazy. They don't need fans, because they did it all themselves because they are brilliant, just ask them.</p>

</rant>

Thank you for your time. Resume misguided hero worship in 4...3...2...1...

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FAIL

User Demographics

This article is fantasy. I'll just focus on the following.

> "Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?"

Latest info I could find was a 2010 survey by AdMob. Following is the percentage of users of the particular platform in the age bracket.

Age by Platform, 17 or younger:

Android: 7%

iPhone: 13%

iPod touch: 65%

Your statement is demonstrably false. Kids are buying iPhones. (Or, parents are buying for them.)

Let's consider the 24 or younger crowd:

Android: 24%

iPhone: 25%

iPod touch: 78%

So, here things are evening out a bit, as younger tech enthusiasts are buying more Android. Yet users of Android and iPhone are roughly equal.

But still, 4 out of 5 iPod touch users are that age. You think if they had a choice they wouldn't opt for the device that supports their iPod touch apps/games, etc.?

By the way, that "soccer dad" demographic, 35-44 looks like this:

Android: 21%

iPhone: 21%

age 25-34 is:

Android: 30%

iPhone: 21%

hmmm.

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RE: User Demographics

Just where the hell did you pull these utter junk numbers from, seriously?

AdMob? Really?

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Easy come, easy go...

The barriers of entry to Android are low, but on the flip side there's virtually nothing special or unique about the platform you can't get from iOS or Windows Phone (unless you appreciate fiddling around with boot loaders and the community side of the platform - which most of the public don't know or care about).

What's to say many Android users won't leave as quickly as they came? The platform has no stickiness.

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WTF?

Adults buy iOS?

'Second, it's critical to remember who buys Android devices versus iOS devices: kids buy Android ("It's cheap!") while adults largely buy iOS ("Pricey, but it makes me cool with the other soccer dads!"). Guess which group will be buying devices long into the future?'

This works if by iOS you just mean the iPhone.

But we know that the iPod touch is also very popular, and is particularly popular amongst teenagers and younger audiences who can't afford the data plan and extra outlay of an iPhone on contract. Combined, iPod touch and iPhones outnumber Android devices. Jobs once called the iPod touch 'training wheels for the iPhone' - that's his plan, it's a gateway drug to Apple's pricier offering.

The idea that Apple doesn't care about the mass market proves less convincing as time goes on. Of course Apple prefers you buy their more 'premium' products so they can get more money out of you, but the way they try to get you hooked is with their cheaper products. The Mac Mini, for example, is often pitched as a Mac for Windows migrants because you don't need to buy a bunch of extra peripherals for it and its (comparatively) inexpensive.

Price is not the main issue. Flagship Android devices like the SGS2 and HTC Sensation are in the same price bracket as the iPhone. The HTC Desire was a great seller and that was hardly cheap. Cleaners have iPhones too, so it's not really that premium a product. A top-end phone is around £500-600 unlocked, well within the range of most people, unlike other premium goods in certain categories (e.g. cars and watches) which the bulk of the population will never be able to afford.

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Anonymous Coward

"Cleaners have iPhones too"

That's a great quote!

And very true. I used to be the only person I knew that bought high end Nokia devices ie the N93 and communicator 9200 before that. These were cool to me, but no one else I ever met. Last year I was sad enough to queue for an iPhone 4 and was among 200 other folk of who I saw at least 80% had an earlier generation iPhone. This is in a small town in the UK.

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