“Android Dominance” Is An Oxymoron

on August 8, 2013
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Alarm Bells Should Be Ringing At Apple: It’s Getting Absolutely Creamed By Android, Which Now Controls ~80% Of The Smartphone Market ~ Jay Yarrow, Business Insider

No, it’s not.

Definition of an oxymoron:

A figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction

Fact #1: No version of Android dominates mobile OS market share.

“Android Dominance” is an oxymoron. No single “slice” of the Android “pie” is equal to the 93% of iOS users who have upgraded to iOS 6. iOS 6 is the world’s most popular mobile operating system.

iOS_Android_fragmentation-640x281
Source

Fact #2: Historically, iOS customers have been quick to update to the latest OS version. ((iOS 6 Adoption At Just Over One Week: 60% For iPhone And 41% For iPad | TechCrunch))

Fact #3: Apple’s iOS users have even more reasons to rapidly upgrade to iOS 7.

iOS_7_UpdatesiOS_7_Only

A recent developer survey revealed that 95% of developers are updating their apps for iOS 7.

More importantly, 48% of those developers intend to make their updated apps work only on iOS 7.

With so many new and updated apps working only on iOS 7, iOS users are going be strongly motivated to upgrade to iOS 7 as soon as possible.

Fact #4: OS Versions matter.

Apple, arguably, has higher-quality apps because developers still focus on iOS first. The reason they focus on the App Store is that it generates more revenue than Google’s Android store, and users are more engaged. However, there’s no reason to believe this will continue. ~ Jay Yarrow, Business Insider

[pullquote]People who look only at overall OS numbers without taking OS versions into account are missing the “trees” for the “forrest”[/pullquote]

Yes, there is.

Pundits, like Jay, can’t seem to understand why Android leads in market share but iOS leads in usage, engagement, developers, income and everything else that makes a platform strong. ((Why The iPhone's Usage Advantage Over Android Remains So Important. The latest evidence confirms it: iPhone users are far more engaged with their devices than are Android users.)) ((Why Google’s Android is Losing the Battle to Apple’s iOS)) ((Apple iPhone users use their devices 55% more than Android users)) (("Both in apps and overall smartphone usage, iPhone owners rank higher than owners of Android handsets. After surveying both U.S. and European smartphone owners, researchers not only found owners of the Apple device more frequently use apps, but conduct more tasks suitable to smartphones, such as browsing the Internet. This despite Android’s advantage both in number of handsets out there and in sales. The dichotomy just reinforces our Android in a Drawer theory, which says many owners of the Google-powered devices see their handsets as just a spiffier version of dumb feature phones, ignoring most of what makes smartphones smart.")) ((Apple’s iOS continues to dominate with nearly 60% Web usage share vs. Android’s 26%)) ((Apple Continues To Dominate Mobile Video Viewing, With 60% Occurring On iOS Vs. 32% On Android)) (("Sandvine says that the iPad accounts for more home traffic than any other device, at more than 10 percent; and it says that if you added up all of Apple’s devices (iPads, iPhones, Macs, etc.), the company ends up with more than 45 percent of home broadband usage.")) ((Why FRONTLINE Isn’t Doing Android — Yet)) ((BBC – we have an Android development team that is almost 3 times the size of the iOS team)) ((Why there aren’t more Android tablet apps, by the numbers)) ((Android’s consumer strength hasn’t translated to enterprise, where Apple still dominates)) ((Apple rules the skies with 84% in-flight share vs. Android’s 16%)) ((Apple’s iPhone may have kept 400K customers from leaving T-Mobile)) ((screen-shot-2013-07-23-at-10-21-49-amSource)) ((Google shares were down as much as 5% in after-hour trading following a report of second-quarter net income of $3.23 billion compared with $2.79 billion a year ago. The overall revenue figure came in at $14.1 billion. The main reason for Google’s perceived weakness: less-than-spectacular mobile ad sales.)) ((app-revenue-q12013 Source))

Let me help you out. There is no paradox. The latest version of Android does NOT lead the latest version of iOS in market share. People who look only at overall OS numbers without taking OS versions into account are reversing the traditional proverb – but still making the same proverbial mistake – by missing the “trees” for the “forrest.”

Fact #5: Android hardware and software is split into many, many pieces.

  • 11,868 Distinct Android devices seen this year
  • 3,997 Distinct Android devices seen last year 
  • 8 Android versions still in use
  • 37.9% Android users on Jelly Bean

“And by the way, this is the most ideal state of Android. It only includes a version of android which talk to the Google play store so it doesn’t include things like Kindles and Nooks.” ~ Tim Cook, WWDC (113:30)

android-fragmentation-3

Android, for all its popularity, remains a messy, fragmented, less-than-ideal experience for a normal consumer. ~ Jay Yarrow, Business Insider

Ah! And finally we get to the crux of the matter.

Fact #6: It is iOS 6 – not any single version of Android – that is the most dominant and monolithic mobile OS in the world.

“iOS 6 Dominance” is not an oxymoron – it’s a fact. And it is iOS 7 that promises to extend the dominance of Apple’s mobile platform into the foreseeable future.

It’s impossible to look at the landscape today and believe that developers will still be iPhone-focused in five years unless Apple does something drastic to change its competitive position. ~ Jay Yarrow, Business Insider

I sorta hafta to disagree. And reality hasta disagree too. It’s not only “possible” to believe that developers will still be iOS-focused (notice how Jay conveniently ignored iPod Touches and iPads in his OS comparison?), it’s probable too.

You don’t agree? You’re an oxymoron who says that only total OS numbers, not OS versions, really matter? Sorry, I can’t hear you. The facts are shouting you down.