DBC Network

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Android Shipments Soar as iPhones Drop

After Apple’s new iPhone 4 found itself facing a large amount of criticism soon after it’s release, Google’s Android-based phones showed an increase in sales. Apple has gone on to claim that sales have not been deeply affected (their main complaint was reception issues) and it seems its competitor is slowly catching up.

The Android phones running open-source Linux systems have been steadily rising in sales and have a 13% take of the UK wireless phone market. This increase in sales may have more to do with customers who are ready to upgrade after nearing the end of their wireless contracts.

Of course the rise in sales of Smartphone technology has been slow at best over the last several years. Many of the early email and internet ready phones were very slow and limited in their capability. However, demand for email ready phones have increased over time despite the technology continuing to be hammered out and advanced. New software was created, such as Symbian, and introduced to the world market with much success.

As the iPhone OS and Android were slow in their introduction to the wireless market, Symbian was leading in countries such as China who mainly use Symbian and Windows Mobile. Android has yet to make a greater impact in the eastern markets.

Such is not the case in other countries, particularly in the west. The iPhone 4, despite its complaints, is still a thoroughly designed and advanced piece of wireless technology. Even so, Apple tends to be exclusive when it comes to applications, most of which must be downloaded and approved by Apple, and a large amount of which must be paid for.

Android on the other hand, while having far less applications to offer, is open sourced and many of these Android apps are free to users. This also means that users can download apps from anywhere, which appeals to those who find a large part of the appeal of owning an iPhone, or Android the applications.

Customers are offered a variety of Android based phones, more than a dozen in fact, whereas Apple offers the iPhone 4G and 3G, with the 3G likely to be obsolete as the 4G becomes the signature phone of Apple. The variety of Android phones allows customers a choice which affects their wallets in a positive way; phones range from about $100 to as much as $500, whereas the iPhone 4 is priced at one price and there are no other options.

This difference in pricing obviously favors the Android and it is showing in sales. Not to mention that even a more cheaply priced Android phone still shares features with more expensive ones, such as Google Apps and a 3.2 megapixel camera. Android is also featuring all the attributes of a true Smartphone, like the iPhone 4 and is able to cover the whole of the market from the bottom to the top of the line.

While 13% of the market is not a huge share, the Android’s rise is impressive, which is great for Google and many of the phone manufacturers that are using the software in its devices. As Android’s sales climb, a shift towards the Google software is taking place, which should create a slowing of Apple created apps and an increase in Android developed apps. Such a shift will bring the two contenders closer and even give Google’s Android the edge.

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