According to high-tech analysis firm Canalys, Google’s Android platform has moved in to the top-spot in the hotly contested SmartPhone race. At the end of 2010, Android had a 32.9% market share with Nokia at 30.6% and Apple on 16%.
In this note I look at:
- Market statistics
- The customer sentiment for choice
- The impact of Android for the enterprise
Obviously, this means Android, OMS and Tapas SmartPhones across the whole range of device (hardware) manufacturers such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG, etc. so the Apple fans might complain that it’s not a fair comparison – but I think it’s highly valid as it demonstrates what people want – CHOICE!
The overall SmartPhone market doubled when you compare Q4 in 2009’s 53.7 million devices to Q4 2010 with 101.2m (almost 300 million SmartPhones were sold in 2010). And Google’s Android saw a whopping 615% of that Q4 growth!
Probably not that surprising when you think of the standing start Google has in 2009 and I’ve got no doubt that Apple’s exclusive deal with AT&T left carrier’s like Verizon with no option but to push hard in the promotion of Android (or Droid) as shown in this poster image from Verizon.
Consumers love Choice
We don’t live in an exclusive-friendly world. In fact, it’s a principle for Richard Branson’s Virgin empire – wherever there’s a monopoly or duopoly – he sees an opportunity because no organisation does it perfectly and people like choice.
Developers (from large corporates to sole traders) want CHOICE in how they build and deploy applications and are not so fond of paying commissions on their applications – applications that increase demand for devices.
Consumers want CHOICE on where they can purchase the phone and what they can do with it and specifically whether or not they navigate to a web site with Flash content (which interestingly has never caused any issues on my HTC Desire in the months I’ve been using it).
It’ll be very interesting to see what happens as a result of the Verizon/Apple deal to sell the iPhone. Apple’s device on Verizon’s network could be very attractive to a bunch of new customers.
Anyone that’s ever been involved in a consumer business knows that people vote with their feet / wallets regarding what they want. This was evidenced by the massive popularity of the iPhone when it was released – it was practically the only game in town and broke the mould on what a mobile device (can’t really call it a phone anymore) could be. But once you’re established, you need to listen to customer feedback.
It’s like running a great restaurant where customers have to eat the food exactly as its described on the menu – no you can’t have salad instead of fries, no the steak is always cooked medium. Even if the food is great you’re limiting your audience, and customers simply like choice. Adobe ran a marketing campaign on this in 2010 entitled “We ♥ Choice” to combat the Apple position on Adobe and Flash.
Android in the ENTERPRISE
I came across a fascinating article in ZDNET by Jason Perlow (http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/android-leads-rim-recedes-heres-the-enterprise-fallout/15716) where he highlights some of the challenges Apple will face in the enterprise… namely:
- As mobile devices become more powerful and the only way to get apps on to iOS devices is the App Store (if you’re not delivering browser based solutions)…will this be an acceptable path for organisations, or will they use their existing Java, C and Adobe Flex skills to build for Android seeing this as an easier path.
- If corporate security requires the segregation of personal data from organisational data on the device, how important will VMWare’s MVP for Android become. In fact, HTC now have their HTCsense.com service whereby a lost phone can be called or wiped remotely – no MobileMe subscription fees.
There’s no doubt that this is a major fight and a fascinating one to watch. But it appears to be the Apple versus The Rest of the World. That’s a tough fight in any sport, especially when the punters in the crowd love ‘CHOICE’ and Apple’s not offering any.