The Android Love Continues: Analyst Expects it to Pass Apple by 2012


Google’s mobile strategy is firing on all cylinders, as numbers released today by analyst firm iSuppli demonstrate. Its analysis shows the Android smartphone platform passing Apple’s iOS by 2012. The projection has Android powering 75 million phones in 2012, compared to 62 million running iOS. This would give Android a 19.4 percent global market share in 2012, with iOS garnering only 15.9 percent.

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt is in a happy place, with his Android smartphone platform hitting 200,000 activations a day. Android shows no signs of slowing down its phenomenal growth, having increased from a respectable 100,000 daily activations in May to the current position. Schmidt credits the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint, Droid X on Verizon and the Samsung Galaxy S line available on all U.S. carriers as big factors contributing to the popularity of the platform.

Given the high number of daily Android activations it is not surprising that Android sales have outpaced that of the iPhone recently. Some may feel it’s not a fair comparison, as the iPhone is a single handset, while Android currently has many handsets factoring into the numbers. It is still a great accomplishment for Google, as the rapid evolution of the platform is a primary factor behind consumer adoption.

Smartphone statistics are best tracked on a quarterly basis, given the rapidly changing nature of the business. The Android adoption rate takes on particular significance, as it is now on a pace for 18 million activations a quarter. That a newcomer to this highly competitive business can reach this level in just a couple of years is outstanding, and proves that Google is a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone space.

The original iPhone changed the smartphone industry, but Google has risen to provide undeniable competition to Apple. The Internet company has taken the totally new business model of giving the platform away in exchange for revenue sharing and mobile search opportunities, and left the long-time industry players like Microsoft in the dust. The model has proven successful beyond anyone’s expectations, and it is significant that companies formerly partnering with competitors are now firmly entrenched in the Android camp.

Android’s domination of the smartphone world is only the tip of the iceberg. This strong position is soon to spill over into the mobile computing space, as many companies are preparing to bring tablets to market running on the Android platform. This will put Google in even greater competition with Apple and its iOS platform. The iPhone’s OS runs Apple’s successful iPads and iPods, making iOS a significant force beyond smartphones. Once you factor Android tablets into the mix, Google will be taking it right to Apple in mobile computing.

There will be more to this showdown between Apple and Google as Android tablets hit the market in numbers. Major players in the global mobile computing space, LG, Acer and ASUS, have already declared their intentions to produce tablets running Android, and many other companies are working on products. The Android platform is going to explode when these tablets arrive, making Google a force for Apple to reckon with on an ongoing basis.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d): To Ship or Not to Ship — Product Launch in the Smartphone Era

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