23 Comments

Summary:

Eric Schmidt is in a happy place, with his Android smartphone platform hitting 200,000 activations a day. This puts Android on a pace for 18 million activations in the quarter. While already a top smartphone competitor, Android is poised to hit tablets and be even bigger.

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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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  1. Unless of course the android manufacturers decide they don’t want to be the next Dell, totally fragment the OS and decide (along with carriers) that they also want the mobile ad revenue. Then, the android OS becomes meaningless because there isn’t “one”.

    The manufacturers/carriers were caught totally off-guard by iPhone. At first, there was nothing to use to compete, then came android, it was their “only” option. It bought them time. But now, since android is open-source, they can do what they want/need.

    I’m betting they eventually follow the money and morph android into what they “each” individually need. The gig (and trends) are far from up.

    1. If they morph, they will have to keep up with the rapid pace of innovation set by Google or miss out on all the latest and greatest features and since google releases every 5-6 months, it becomes a significant cost overhead and if they change android too much, google may not give them access to market. I believe ophone platform has no access to android market. But the biggest player in Android already has Bada(Samsung), instead of morphing Android and playing catch up all the time were not worth, so they went and developed a separate OS. Interesting to see them support basically 3 OS Android, WinPhone7, Bada. Smaller players will stick to either android and/or WinPhone7, this is where Android wins as it has momentum. OEMs have actually a good time this around, because of Android being free, Microsoft cannot charge too much and will have to treat OEMs with much more respect. I believe the windows licensing cost for OEMs is ever increasing. Microsoft is the biggest loser in all this, unless it can outinnovate Android rapidly. But the phone market is so vast that it will take a long time to settle down and innovation rate will keep on increasing, atleast for another 2 years before it settles down. I am not sure if MSFT can innovate rapidly enough.

      1. Yes, the iterations are coming fast and furious now but even Google has said that will slow once they get caught up, one or two more releases. At that point, the manufacturers/carriers could split. They’re somewhat split right now with Sense, etc. and can’t update as rapidly as Google.

  2. Question: do the iOS numbers include iPads and iPod touches?

    1. It says “smartphone platform” so like most of these stats, I’m betting not.

    2. no they don’t. There not outpacing iOS, just the iphone.

  3. On the question of, “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.”

    Apple could have released multiple handsets on multiple networks, or even single handsets. Apple could have a much larger piece of the pie but they seem to like small highly profitable pies even when they could have a had a large highly profitable one…

    All these # about future OS, yes the open sourced Android OS will get forked and at some point you may see Android phones with other search services (in China, India, and other places..).

    1. You have to factor in that many android users would have preferred iPhone had the option been there on other carriers. Even after froyo, android still has a long way to go in regards to UI. There is know doubt in regards to marketshare android is closing in its just a matter what will frustrate people more a semi workable UI or a draconian app approval process for developers.

      1. They are doing an UI overhaul for Android 3.0 which will launch in a few months on phones with new generation of dual core CPU’s, better graphics and higher resolutions.All these should create even higher growth for Android.

        The redesign is led by the WebOS designer. I think we can expect some great things from him. WebOS is very intuitive and slick.

      2. Lucian – It’s yet to be seen if the new design guru will be able to fight it out with the left-brainers. The last one left in frustration. Google can hire anyone they want, doesn’t mean they’ll let him/her succeed.

      3. @PXLATED – Just ask the folks who worked on Google Wave now that it has washed up!

        –Ken

    2. It will fork, there’s too much hardware out there.

      have fun downloading apps your phone can’t run!

  4. Apple innovated the mobile experience, then single-handedly killed themselves by doing an exclusive deal with AT&T.

    Sure the platform and the UI are clearly ahead of the pack, but Steve Jobs, and his lack of humility, will put Apple in a solid second place for marketshare.

    Not to say that second place won’t be bad, in fact it will be in the billions, as Apple rakes in the dollars.

    But in the end, the sum of Androids diverse relationships with carriers and manufacturers will absolutely crush Apple.

    Apple took the same strategy they took with licensing the Mac OS in the mid-90’s that got them killed in 1995. Here we are 15 years later and they still haven’t learned their lesson.

    Either platform will give a great experience, just Google will be the bigger winner here.

    1. That’s a bit of revisionist history. Apple could ONLY do a deal with Cingular (now AT&T) because nobody else would allow them to be the OS designer. Verizon told them to go pound sand.

      1. i’m glad someone brought this up. In general, the US Mobile networks have us by the balls.

        Do you remember Verizon’s “Get it now?” or Verizon’s GPS? yeah, well I remember them wanting $15/month forever for the same service navigon/tom tom provide for $50 or less lifetime.

        iPhone 100% destroyed that entire infrastructure, and allowed your coveted android phone’s to enter the market, let me be clear,

        no iphone = no android.

  5. All true. Just humorously mentioning that the only company not to agree fully with you would be … Google – with its competing Chrome OS for tablets and netbooks ;)

  6. Actually if you add up the numbers android could hit 75,000,000 by the end of the year where as iOS is losing market share. Why would it take Android 2 years to catch up to iOS when they are already on track to sell more this year than the estimated iOS base in 2 years?

    Who does the math around here?

  7. Ishwinder Singh Friday, August 6, 2010

    Apple’s strategy is still the same as mid 90s. To me Android vs iPhone is a pattern similar to windows vs MAC OS at that point of time. Apple to me is still doing the same strategy(tying their software to a particular hardware(iPhone this time)). They lost out the last time around when Bill Gates’ Microsoft went ahead with support for multiple vendors. Same is the strategy with google this time(Open source the OS, tie up with the vendors and share revenues).

    Not to say here that Apple is going to hear the music this time as well, as one can easily argue here that mobile market is very much about the looks and the device aesthetics (much more prominent factors in the mobile industry than the computer industry) and Apple would know the game much better this time.

    1. Ars on Apple and the Mobile Market… http://bit.ly/cp3RvQ
      Not like before – Tons of comments

    2. Having actually lived through that period, here’s my view of history…

      Back then (intro of IBM-PC), there were two types of users, business or hobbyist. Outside of those, computers were almost nonexistent. IBM “was” business computing – period. Businesses were going to buy IBM no matter what. When I bought my computer (31st sold in MN) I asked them which I should buy, Apple or IBM, they liked Apple better but recommended IBM because businesses were just going to automatically choose IBM so in my case, that was a better choice. Once IBM handed the OS to Microsoft and Phoenix system reverse engineered the ROM the rest was history. Until recently, people didn’t buy computers, their employers did. And if they did, they bought what they had at work (IBM/Microsoft). No matter what Apple did, they weren’t going to be the dominate system.

      So, the open/closed argument has absolutely no bearing, a myth.

      Another point is the potential for total fragmentation of the android operating system as manufacturers/carriers fight to NOT become the next Dell. Right now they have no choice, android is the only competitive OS to iOS. As the smartphone matures (happening real fast), new features/tech will slow (even Google says this) and the manufactures/carriers can fork to their hearts content (for differentiation) as the very low-level OS will remain stable and basically unchanged.

      It’s way too early in the smartphone space (say nothing of mobile overall) to predict winners/losers or even what will happen.

  8. Regardless of which side of the fanboy fence you fall on…

    You have to appreciate the stunning pace of innovation that Apple and Google are driving in this space.

    Good for all of us. Not good for Nokia, RIM, MSFT, Sony-Ericsson (remember them?).

    1. GARYD, if you are speaking “USA”, you are probably right.
      If you are speaking “WORLD”, the story is “somewhat” different.
      Consider reading the following article. It’s long but very informational.
      http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2010/07/att-cto-claims-us-leads-in-mobile-paging-truth-police.html

      By the way, Nokia (remember them ..?) went up from 37% world smartphone marketshare to 41% during the last 4 quarters while Apple went down from 17% to 14% …
      And yes, we are speaking SMARTphone market, not phone market.

  9. Isn’t Android already forked on the Chinese OPhone?
    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/2010/07/androids-ascent-in-china-is-not-elevating-google.ars

    Some version of Android may be in widespread use by 2012, but if they’re using Baidu for search and a custom app market, it’s not exactly great news for Google’s profits.

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