iPhone Versus Android: Who's Winning the Smartphone Smackdown?
But Google's (GOOG) Android operating system is gaining ground and activating 160,000 phones a day. It certainly helps that Android is free, which can boost the bottom line for mobile carriers. Just look at a recent report from HTC. In June, the company saw a stunning 63% increase in revenues. Yes, HTC is the largest developer of Android phones.
No doubt, there are a slew of industry reports that are gauging the race between the iPhone and Android. So what do they show right now?
App Developers: Appcelerator surveyed more than 2,700 mobile developers. When it comes to operating system features and capabilities, Android has an edge: It's preferred by 55% of respondents. This seems reasonable in light of Google's engineering focus.
But when it comes to revenue opportunities, Apple is the clear winner -- with a whopping 89% of the survey respondents calling it the better platform. Android got only 10% and RIMM (RIMM) showed a meager 1%.
Of course, monetization is likely to be the primary factor in attracting top-notch developers. This creates a network-effect that is likely to ensure the iPhone remains a viable platform for the long term.
But that's is not to suggest this is a winner-takes-all situation. It's certainly possible to have several platforms in a market -- after all, the PC market has no difficulty supporting Windows, Linux and Mac. A report from VisionMobile shows that mobile developers create apps on an average of 2.8 platforms.
Operating Systems: A report from the NPD Group shows that the Android OS surpassed Apple's iOS for the first quarter, in terms of market share in the U.S. Its penetration went from 20% in December to 28%, while Apple's iOS remained at roughly 21%. The biggest chunk, though, is still held by RIMM's BlackBerry, with a 36% share.
A key driver for Android was the Verizon (VZ) Droid. However, if AT&T (T) loses its U.S. exclusivity and Verizon eventually begins offering iPhones, the result is likely to be take a bite out of Android's market share growth.
Ad Market: AdMob, which operates a network of 23,000 websites and mobile apps, publishes a widely read survey on mobile ad marketing. While Apple's iOS is the clear leader in ad requests, Android has been gaining lots of ground. Its share went from 5% to 26% over the past year. As for the iOS, its penetration fell from 50% to 40%. (It should be noted, of course, that AdMob was recently acquired by Google.)
In light of the strong volume gains for Android-based phones, the momentum is likely to continue. Keep in mind that it took 14 phones to account for 92% of Android sales, compared to just one phone a year ago. The Motorola (MOT) Droid is the most popular this year.