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Android Hits 73% of Global Smartphone Market 601

eldavojohn writes "Gartner's released a report on worldwide numbers of 2012 3Q phone sales and the staggering results posted from Android have caused people like IW's Eric Zeman to call for sanity. Keep in mind these are worldwide numbers, which might be less surprising when you realize that the biggest growth market of them all is China, which is more than 90% Android. It's time to face the facts and realize that Android now owns 73% of the worldwide smartphone market. While developers bicker over which platform is best for development and earnings, the people of the world may be making the choice based on just how inexpensive an Android smartphone can be. This same time last year, Gartner reported Android at 52.5% of market share and it now sits at 72.4% market share with over 122 million units sold worldwide."
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Android Hits 73% of Global Smartphone Market

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  • by Quakeulf ( 2650167 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:34PM (#41993881)
    As a developer, my first mobile product will be for Android and I'll do iOS second. My next upgrade will be from iOS to Android as I see lots of other following suit. Apple has been very accurate in shooting themselves in the foot recently with the iOS6 changes (like the new app store and the introduced artificial slowing down of the phone to make you upgrade) and a couple of minor gaffes like the maps, and at the same time charging premium for it.

    I am aware of the markets right now on the Apple app store and the Google Play one, but since the latest app store changes to Apple it seems to be harder for new developers to be known and Apple is at the same time rigid with their criteria for app releases, while it seems it is easier to launch and release for Android. It seems Google Play has momentum now and I hope more game developers will make the move over to Android.
  • free stuffs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by v1 ( 525388 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:36PM (#41993903) Homepage Journal

    Not surprising that free software is so popular. Especially when it's the greedy manufacturers doing the shopping ;)

    Not only is the software free, but the maintenance and upgrades are being handled for them too. Unless you have a big company pushing you to install their OS on it (MS) this is probably going to be your best choice.

    Looking back at the considerable difficulty that MS has getting Windows to run smoothly on a wide variety of hardware, it's impressive to see just how well Android manages to support such a large variety of kit. Kudos to them for that.

  • So? (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:36PM (#41993907)

    It's still a shitty, completely overrated platform controlled by an advertising company.

    Which is not to say I think any of the alternatives are better: iOS is like a straight jacket, WM8 is a mess, BlackBerry forgot to show up to the party at all. They're all poorly conceived conduits for advertising, data mining, and the near constant, ubiquitous harping about APPS APPS APPS APPS APPS APPS like my only reason for living is to justify some DeVry grad develop's reason for living.

    Fuck "smart" phones. Give me a fully-functional, fully-OPEN, miniature computer in the format of a phone, not tied to FUCKING Google, Apple, Microsoft, or any other multinational company of liars.

  • by the computer guy nex ( 916959 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:50PM (#41994081)
    iOS apps make me more than my Android apps. One primary reason is iOS users actually use their devices far more than Android users. []

    Fact is most Android phones are the low-price, low-margin variety that are used almost exclusively for texting.
  • by milbournosphere ( 1273186 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:51PM (#41994109)

    ...introduced artificial slowing down of the phone to make you upgrade...

    Have a source for that one? It's news to me and I'll hold off on upgrading to iOS 6 on my iPhone 4 if that is indeed the case.

  • by Anne Thwacks ( 531696 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @02:57PM (#41994195)
    I could post Facebook status updates from the bus.

    If you were a teenage girl, that would be easily worth $600 - of someone else's money!

  • iOS First (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vell0cet ( 1055494 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:01PM (#41994255)
    As a developer, I have to say that I develop for iOS first. There are many reasons for this (I actually like Android better for personal use).

    The fragmentation of the Android platform is ridiculous. Not only do you have to worry about processors, screen ratio, resolution and anything else hardware related... you also have to worry about fragmentation of the operating system. Some people might have gingerbread and haven't upgraded to ice cream sandwich yet. And perhaps their phone can't handle the newest version. On top of that users may not have enough technical knowledge to fix it.

    This results in consumers blaming your product. It doesn't work on their phone, this app sucks, the company sucks, etc.

    However, releasing on iOS... you only have to worry about a couple of configurations of phone (you can even stipulate that your app only works on 3GS or 4 and above or whatever) and a few different screen ratios/resolutions. It's even okay to force the user to upgrade to the latest version of iOS. Which is simple to do.

    This results in people (hopefully) enjoying your app and getting your company and products a fan base. Then when you port it to Android... if the app doesn't work on their phone and they do a search they'll find good reviews, testimonials, etc and blame their phone instead of the developer.
  • by danomac ( 1032160 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:03PM (#41994279)

    The problem is artificially confining yourself to (what could wind up being) only 5-10% of the marketplace doesn't seem to be wise for the long run. Look at Apple's history.

    They'll have to come out with a new iPhone every three months to keep their profits up.

  • by Andy Prough ( 2730467 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:05PM (#41994317)
    My friends in China are not "hipsters" who want the most popular item, nor are they "cheap". They want cool new functionality - the latest cutting edge stuff. Not going to find it on any other platform except Android right now.
  • by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:05PM (#41994331)
    Walmart profits on necessity spending. How many cell phone apps fall into that category?
  • by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:12PM (#41994443)

    Interesting numbers. Statcounter [], however, seems to disagree with them considerably, showing Android leading by a significant margin. Not sure what to make of that exactly, but it's pretty clear that "Fact is most Android phones are the low-price, low-margin variety that are used almost exclusively for texting" probably isn't completely true.

  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:12PM (#41994445) Homepage

    Apple cannot compete among the cheapest phones. They can't make one, and the sales won't bring enough profit to even bother. Apple traditionally focuses on the high margin, luxury market. Their 25% of smartphone market give them 10x more profit than the other 75% brings to HTC and Samsung (who sell barely above cost.)

  • by gutnor ( 872759 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:20PM (#41994539)

    The Android market is split in 2: the flagship market and the budget market. There is very limited choice on the flagship market. The budget market comes however in all shapes, form, price point, but brand support is unpredictable. You can get a phone that will be supported for years, and another that will be forgotten after a few months.

    The high end market in which Apple compete was mostly unoriginal and expensive. I said "was" because Google just crashed the party with the Nexus 4, a high end phone from a reputable brand at very competitive price. That will be interesting to see how Apple, but also HTC, Sony, Samsung, LG will manage to justify a 100% premium. Worst case scenario, they will just align the price. Personally I hope they will innovate. Since the original iPhone in 2007, there hasn't been much innovation (larger, faster, thinner, widget on the lock screen, ... are improvements, very important that you could not live without and some that required great engineering innovation, but since the original iPhone nothing has created the same wow factor )

  • by ducomputergeek ( 595742 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:38PM (#41994799)

    I've been writing mobile apps for about three years now and a lot depends on your target market. If you are creating a paid apps and a small shop then you want to go iOS first. The first two apps I did had a free version with ads and a paid version with no ads and additional features (basically version 2.0). I had more downloads on Android of the free version by about 2.5 to 1 vs iOS. But iOS made up 90% of my paid revenue. While Android provided 70% of the ad revenue at first it suddenly leveled off and began to decline. I ignored it until one app got a bad review saying the software had malware and then found 3 more knock off apps all of which were spelled similar to mine and of suspect origin. Now these were niche apps with a few thousand paid downloads each on iOS. I originally built the apps to serve some need I was looking for and thought it might be worth $.99 to others. They were enough that it was a profitable hobby/moonlighting gig. Nothing that sold a million copies or anything like that.

    Ironically I did release a couple of those apps for Amazon Kindle Fire, which is technically android, and made more money from the Kindle this year than I ever did generic android on the Google Marketplace. The app I'm working on today I'm going to release for iOS and the Kindle. I'm probably going to ignore Google Marketplace for now for my moonlighting apps.

    And that's a problem I've found with Android and the same problem I had with linux about 10 - 15 years ago as in there are many different "flavors" of android. I use that term a little more loosely than with linux, but there are minor inconstancies from the different manufactures mostly having to do with hardware vs. the location of library files that made linux such a PITA back then. I know there will be fan boys screaming, "But if you design your app right it will run on anything." at which point I figure these people have never dealt with clients who are marketing departments. On the paid app development side of the house we offer this thing called Quality Assurance as part of the contract. I know people can laugh about it as much as they want to, but it's there and some clients are looking for pixel perfect (don't worry we charge them for it). First year we tried to keep up with android and lost our shirt buying hardware for testing. Now it's "Will work on stock android for latest nexus phone & tablet".

    That's generally why when my shop charges for development it's $X for all iOS devices, $X * ($X*.15) for Kindle, and $X+($X*.75) for android, and then we charge anywhere from $1000 - $3500 per additional android device for QA.

    But the biggest annoyance I had with android on the personal projects was the fact of having to maintain different build branches for different Android versions vs 1 build branch for iOS no matter what iDevice(s) the end product would be shipping for. That's started to change now, but at one time if you "supported Android" that meant making sure it worked on 1.5, 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, and 3.0 as all were in the wild. I know that's far less today as Android's release schedule has grown a little more sane than the every six months with a new release that was going on a couple years ago.

  • Re:Suck it! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Wheely ( 2500 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @03:58PM (#41995025)

    You need to actually use a galaxy S3 before calling Samsung a copy cat. The machine they give you is so far ahead of the iPhone its unbelievable! I have had all of the iPhones except the 5 and I can tell you that the actual functionality of the S3 is at least six years ahead. The only thing the iPhone does better than Android on the S3 is sync with iTunes on a Mac. Fortunately I donneed to sync with iTunes any more. Im starting to wish Id bought an Android tablet now even though I still like my iPad.

    I do think the iPhone looks nice though,

  • by Wheely ( 2500 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:02PM (#41995065)

    You have just said that Apple and the S3 are of a similar price and that Apple make a lot more money. It seems to me that would suggest that Apple are giving you much less for the same price.

    I think that is true.

  • by ZmeiGorynych ( 1229722 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:06PM (#41995109)
    The usages of my Samsung Note 2 are:

    Play music: 70%
    Play video games while in the bus, train etc: 10%
    Record videos of my little daughter to share with relatives: 5%
    Google chat and SMS: 5%
    Read personal mail at work: 5%
    Phone calls are somewhere in the remaining 5%

    Oh, and while on holidays it's invaluable to have a GPS navigation device that allows you to click right through to the website of the hotel you found on the overlaid map and yes, call them to reserve a room for the night.

    And the GPS + satellite photo maps have saved me from getting badly lost in a forest at least once, and kept me from being late while taking a picturesque route to a rendez-vous another time. Maps-on-demand that include your location are a god-given when you're traveling, hiking, etc.

      Try any that with a brick phone.
  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:28PM (#41995319) Homepage

    Not everyone needs a $600 smartphone, and it's an oversight on Apple's part.

    Not an oversight. They chose to give up on that 47%. They will never buy Apple stuff anyway.

    Don't confuse policy/politics with business. In politics, you need to get 50% of your "market" or you lose. Plus you only get to play every 2/3/4/5 years (depending on your "market").

    Not so in business, even targeting a solid 15-20% of the market that's high-margin is often considered a solid plan. e.g.: BMW they clearly don't compete with Toyota or GM for marketshare, yet have a thriving, highly profitable business and a stellar brand. Same with Apple in desktop computing.

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:03PM (#41995679)

    Actually, no, Apple's market share rose too. The real loser was nokia again.

  • Re:Suck it! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Wheely ( 2500 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:48PM (#41996237)

    It is a measure of how far ahead it is. I would have said ten years but that would have been silly :)

    Regardless of the actual time scales involved, IOS has not really moved since it came out (nearly six years ago by the way). On IOS I have eagerly seen the introduction of cut and paste, folders, the notification bar that doesnt really do much, the ability to swap application by double pressing the home button and wading through all the apps that never closed, and tiny little changes that made minor though sometimes pleasing differences to the way it worked. Then Apple invested all their IOS resources into Siri which is almost useless outside the US (unlike both Googles and Samsungs offerings) and, of course, maps (which they already had). Jumping from IOS to Android on the S3 was like going through a hundred of Apples major updates in one go and I still keep finding little touches that surprise me that Apple hadnt thought of them first, let alone at all.

    I have lots of Apple products and I like them in the main, I wont upgrade my iPad to IOS 6.0 as it has nothing I want and takes away something I do but I doubt I will ever go back to one of their phones.

    By the way, having a low UID on Slashdot is easy. You just have to be a bit of an old twit.

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