back to article Android spanking iOS in world's BIGGEST mobile market

Android is absolutely creaming iOS in the world’s biggest mobile phone market, according to new stats from Beijing-based Analysys International, which estimate the Google platform now accounts for nearly 70 per cent of Chinese smartphones. The market watcher’s breakdown of smartphone sales by operating system for 2011 makes …


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    1. Mage Silver badge

      Stylus vs Touch

      "The iPhone is a beautiful product that revolutionised a whole industry."

      No, it didn't. It's nicely done, but it used commodity parts apart from the OS and case. The change was coming anyway. I evaluated several prototype (easy to use) touch screen phones that ran Linux before iOS or Android appeared.

      The earlier PDA Qtopia was optimised for stylus and resistive screen (win95 style WIMP) the later "Phone Edition" Qtopia was optimised for finger and capacitive screen use without stylus.

      The reason for PDA and later phone stylus input on Resistive screen was the "holy grail" of handwriting recognition and sketches / annotation. Once the emphasis was on Browsing and mostly information consumption rather than creation using finger input and capacitive screens (both nearly 30 years old too) was more logical.

      The ideal would of course be a combo screen that can do either stylus handwriting & sketches and finger gestures. Gesture based input is pre-1988 as I worked on a Mono-touch screen project then and the boss already had a list of gestures and what they should do (I think "filched" from Xerox, which before the mouse based interface was adopted had dabbled in "pen" based gesture computing.)

      iPhone was successful marketing with a very slick gui. Nothing original. No special HW either. If there was any justice and honesty and proper evaluation of Prior Art the USPO would have only awarded patents to pre-iPhone companies and only for the GSM, CDMA, 3G aspects. Everything else in all mobile phones is prior art or just "style". No SW /GUI feature should get patents ever.

      1. Audrey S. Thackeray

        Re: Stylus vs Touch

        "The ideal would of course be a combo screen that can do either stylus handwriting & sketches and finger gestures"

        The Galaxy Note does this. Not to everyone's taste due to it's huge (for a phone) size but as I have a phone for phone calls and a 'thing' for data it works well for me.

        Pressure sensitive pen input means it is genuinely usable as a drawing tool, it's great for quick handwritten notes which the fogeys amongst us still find easiest and it does all the normal smartphone stuff too with battery life that's certainly no worse than e.g. iPhones / other high end Android phones.

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Stylus vs Touch

        The ideal would of course be a combo screen that can do either stylus handwriting & sketches and finger gestures

        Sounds a bit like Samung's Note which I think is doing well in some segments. Be interesting to see figures on that.

        I'm not 100% on the handwriting recognition but you can't beat being able to scrawl stuff with a pen. I've got a Bamboo Stylus for my Galaxy 8.9 but was a little disappointed at how it handled handwritten notes.

      3. stanimir

        Re: Stylus vs Touch

        "No SW /GUI feature should get patents ever." ++!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The iPhone is a beautiful product "

      A grid of icons, inconsistent and limited user interface with a plasticky case is now a "beautiful product"

      Take a look here (and part 2 if you are too stubborn or stupid and need more convincing)

      I hate to break it to you. The iPhone is only a " beautiful product " because Apple told you it was. And just like Instagram was an app built on sand, the iPhone is a phone built on sand. The tide has come in, and the hipsters are slowly waking up.

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

        Re: "The iPhone is a beautiful product "


        I've used multiple Android devices. The problem is that each device is noticeably different. It has a different feel—often caused by different manufacturers nailing their own GUI onto the plain vanilla Android base.

        I think the real problem with Android is the same one that has hit GNU / Linux: it's not the underlying OS most consumers care about, but the individual "distributions" of it. There's the Samsung flavour, the HTC flavour, the LG flavour, and the Amazon flavour—and that latter is a good example of what I'm getting at. Android is a great platform for manufacturers, but I think they're making a mistake in trying to attract developers to "Android".

        "Google Play" is an attempt at a universal "Android" app store, but there is no such thing as a "universal Android device". And it shows in the app designs. Amazon are already headed down the same "gated community" path Apple have chosen, and I suspect this will probably help them win a lot of market share. Samsung, LG, HTC, etc. need to stop trying to sell "Android" and start selling their own damned devices. If they had the courage of their designers' convictions, they'd each produce one or two models for each market sector, and support those devices properly, with dedicated app stores that are curated to ensure said apps actually take advantage of the devices. Let Google keep their bargain bin store too for those apps that people need, but which haven't (yet) been adapted to specific device(s).

        Basically, just as the debates over GNU / Linux have morphed into debates about Ubuntu vs. Mint vs. $DISTRO, so Android debates need to move towards "Samsung-flavour Android", "LG-flavour Android", and so on. This gives the manufacturers more leeway in differentiating their devices from their rivals. Samsung aren't competing with Apple here: they're competing with LG, HTC, Motorola, Sony and every other Android device manufacturer too. And the converse is also true for those other manufacturers. The market is big, but it is not infinite, and if they're having trouble competing with Apple at the high end, they're going to need to offer a full, branded, ecosystem of their own, each with its own design style and user experience.

        Because it's the user experience that matters. Nothing else. Technical specifications are utterly irrelevant to the 99.9% of customers buying these things.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Reading through these comments...well I think I can summarise a good 90% as "stop liking what I don't like".

      Both have pro's, both have con's. I bought an iPhone because that's the one I wanted. Not because I wanted to "show it off in public" or "wave an expensive phone around and feel better better than everyone".


  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other news...

    Sales of the BMW Z4 were greater than those of the Aston Martin DB9 by over 70%

    Sales of fish fingers were greater than that of Caviar by over 70%

    Your comment on affordability hit the nail on the head, no need for a sensational headline.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news...


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In other news...

        Oh look, it's El Reg's resident "Apple Clickbait' AC troll. What took you so long?

    2. Some Beggar

      Re: In other news...

      An Aston Martin is about 100 grand or 300% more expensive than a Z4.

      An iphone is about 100 quid or 20% more expensive than a vaguely comparable Android phone.

      I've got 100 quid in my pocket. If anybody whose surname isn't Zuckerburg or Gates has 100 grand in their back pocket then I'd like to shake their hand. While emptying their back pocket.

      I think you need to open the dictionary at the entry for "analogy" and re-read it a few times.

  2. Frederick Tennant

    Fruit vrs Robot???

    Market share?, Desire?, can we remember that these are phones, you who read Reghardware are technically minded we know where to get the latest drivers, programs etc. The rest of the worlds phone users, just use them as mobile phones.

    Everybody is pointing at that fruit company as they have changed the face of mobile phones. buttons are almost dead, long live buttons.

  3. Chris Sake


    It is easier to enter Chinese characters on a Smartphone for uses such as text messaging.

    Also, as most people in the PRC do not have a credit card, it makes it rather difficult to pay for apps from an app store. Being a developer of apps for Apple's store would be limiting as well, I would imagine, due to the fee of USD99 per year that would need to be paid by credit card.

    People in China prefer to have their apps in Chinese, and there is a burgeoning cadre of developers meeting that need there, using the phone OS that currently suits both groups: Android.

    1. Mike Judge

      Re: 孔子說

      Don't forget the "mac tax" Apple force you to also buy a mac to develop for iOS

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. jubtastic1

    Chinese forks

    Dont these cheap Chinese handsets tend to use Baidu rather than Google for searching? no access to Google's app/content store, and so on. These are Android phones like the Fire is an Android tablet, great for the manufacturers but sod all use for Google.

  6. b166er

    When you look at MIUI (by Chinese), you can see why Chinese are quite happy to have an Android phone rather then playing the Apple Sukkatax.

    What really stands iOS apart from Android anyway? In my opinion Android is a much more capable system. So that leaves hardware and yes, Apple make shiny hardware, but that's not enough to get the Chinese to part with their hard-earned and fair play to them. The average Chinese saves 50% of their wages, whereas the average westerner is lucky to save even 5%.

  7. Laxman

    The way ElReg capitalises words in headlines is ANNOYING

    It was cute at first, now it's just annoying..... you guys gotta keep the novelty up!

  8. Mike Brown

    time to learn a new language?

    As a soon to be multi-million pound android app developer, i think its time i started to learn chinese. then i can be a multi-billion pound android developer. Oh, after i learn java...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: time to learn a new language?

      Except they won't be able to buy it from you, and you wont be able to get advertising revenue from it, and they don't use google.

      So what we have is huge market share that is hard to monetize, a bit like the existing google app store. Of course googles answer in the US/Europe to that is you give your app away (i.e. produce free content for them), that they then make money off, and you make a small amount from the shared ad revenue instead.

      good luck with becoming a billionaire, in terms of outright sales and profit you are currently still better with ios and the 30% tax.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: time to learn a new language?

      "...Oh, after i learn java..."

      And therein lies the rub. For all that the fandroids love to tell us that Android is "Linux", they don't seem so keen to shout about the fact that it's Linux wrapped in a shitty Java GUI.

      1. stanimir

        Re: time to learn a new language?

        java doesn't do much w/ the gui. it's not swing.

        having java on the client side is immensely better than objective c (and its horrid syntax).

  9. corcoran

    You're right, they don't want iOS products..

    Except this kid, of course..

  10. Lallabalalla


    Cheap stuff sells more than expensive stuff. who'da thunk it?

  11. the-it-slayer

    Article to bring the fandroids out...

    This article was obviously written to stur up some debate and bring the fandroids out as the "applegate" stories are starting to fizzle out once again. Once again, El Reg has spelt out the obvious. Could we have some better indepth analysis rather than bluntly saying Android is more popular in developing countries? Well duh! Even so, the percentage is still impressive for the iPhone in a country will relatively poor living standards and wages for the majority.

    Anyway; we're comparing Apples and Pears (one model vs hundreds). Fandroids don't seem to get that quality isn't in the hardware either. Time and time again, public Joe doesn't want to be ROMing the hell out of their device to improve speed/performance when it should already be optimised for speed/performance.

    My biggest question is how long Google can justify their software model until it starts to crack due to the huge fragmentation and latest middle finger up to developers/manufacturers alike. Especially from the security POV where updates have to come from either custom ROMs or manufacturers who push them out like snails with chains attached to them.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    The Chinese absolutely love their knock-off versions. Eg this "iPhone 5G" that Dr Ashens reviewed a while back:

    and that's just the tip of the iceberg. And they come with lots of odd OS choices so Android on a device that looks like aiPhone is possible.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whitebait and oysters and I can walk to get both.

    I have an iPad2 and galaxy s ii, both great in their own way.

    I love the simplicity of the iPad2. Syncing music/playlists, two email accounts, three calendars and using dejay. Galaxy does all that, some of it easy but, more often than not I spend more hours working out "how to" on the galaxy. Could never work out how to overcome syncing calendars on the galaxy from hotmail to Google. Looked easy, it wasn't. Anyway, problems with both but, apple was easier. Any one got a good dj app for Android that I can check by the way posting teck out for longer than a minute. Posting this was all over the place on this galaxy.

  14. DNDSM

    Does Apple reall care about market share?

    Apple's position shows they are not after volume, they are after high net worth customers, they don't want to get into a price war because it erodes their profit margin so they will always sell items that cost more than they should. The simplicity of the product makes them popular (my 70 year old mum has an iPhone) with those that can afford them. Android handset manufactureres are in a price war with each other, all scrabbling for pennies whilst Apple sweeps up the big profits. At the end of the day what would you rather 70% market share with minimal profit or 30% market share with massive profit, I'd take the 30% any day and be rich thank you very much!

  15. Robot

    A lot of these posts are condescending to the Chinese

    Some of the posts here assume that Chinese consumers are cheapskate and gullible (i.e. they are more stupid and tech-ignorant than Americans). That is absolutely false. I am a Canadian who has lived in China on and off for five years (2+1+1+1). Middle-class Chinese consumers are actually very careful buyers who do weeks of research (e.g. in Baidu) before buying a phone. For most middle class people, a low price is rarely the main consideration. The combination of features+price is number one, and it is widely perceived that Android smartphones are by far the best by that criterion. There is also a perception, especially in the past year, that both iOS and Android are like Coke and Pepsi when it comes to features, with perhaps a slight margin in favour of iOS (which is correctly or incorrectly perceived as a fashion gadget with no real advantage over Android in features). Fanboism exists in China but less so than in America; pragmatism is the dominant attitude (as also in China's national economic policy, which is more intelligent than America's). The meteoric rise of Android in China is not an accident of market storm and tempest, but a reflection of intelligent consumer behaviour.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Android, Nokia, Apple, MS

    As others have written, can't we just accept diversity in the technology world ? There is Linux, Windows, Mainframes, AiX, MacOS, iOS, Oracle, Teradata, Java, C++, Ada, Postgres and many, many more technologies.

    Healthy competition is very good for the consumer, application developers and even Apple. Google is doing very well financially and this is not changed by the fact that Apple is doing extremely-super-well.

    Nokia, on the other hand is hardware company and I guess they still don't understand how a software operation works. When I had a 6030 years ago I wanted to develop J2ME apps, only to discover that the implementation was highly broken. I could get an update from Nokia, bit only for 30 euros ! Of course, that update fixed next to nothing. Then they sold Linux-based devices but killed these product lines soon after the launch. Now they also destroyed Symbian, at least from a publicity POV. Why did they not "renovate" Symbian ? That would have saved their existing developer community and assured control of their future. Why do they have such a confused Qt strategy ? Because they are clueless players in the field of software.

    Microsoft is for some irrational reasons totally irked by the success of Android and iOS, despite the fact that their core business is Windows (Server and Client) and Office. MS is doing very well, but for some paranoid reasons they think they have to be a player in the phone biz.

    They made half the mistake of Nokia in killing their old phone api and bolting a new "managed" on top of the WinCE kernel. That's a stupid restriction in the name of "our old ways were bad, let's eliminate those old approaches by force". MS (and IBM) was always most successful when they had a smooth migration path from the crappy old APIs to the new one. You could run DOS apps in WINNT for very good reasons. It is expensive and time-consuming to rewrite an app against a new API and forcing developers to do so is hugely stupid. So both MS and Nokia are sitting in the business doghouse for strong reasons.

    Unix (style) has proven to be an excellent and highly economic platform (in Android and iOS) and I would not be surprised to see MS join the party in a few years. Finally, the better technology wins over the corporate contraptions of crap.


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