Understanding Android Activations

on March 11, 2013

There are some questions that are worth spending the time to understand. Part of this lure may be due to the elusive nature of how Google reports Android. They make it sound like the game is over, they have already won, they are the new Microsoft. Now there is nothing wrong with that even if it is true. There is no question Android is the current market share leader and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem that I have and the reason I scour for data on the subject is because by not operating within the mantra of full disclosure, I feel as though there is a level of disingenuousness when data is not accurately reported. This forces many to guess and often speculate and in often not so helpful ways. Especially when many in the mass media fail to ask critical questions about the data they are reporting.

There are two articles I highly recommend, especially if getting to the bottom of this puzzle is interesting to you.

Benedict Evans is on the same hunt and wrestles with the same questions as I do related to Android. His post here makes some relevant observations. Horace Deidu of Asymco also is on this quest and posted a great article today looking at the question of “Where are the Android users?”

Horace makes the following point:

My suspicion is that it has something to do with the fact that the US is one of the few (but largest) market where the iPhone is available as a “low end” offering. At a minimum price of $0 (with a contract) many consumers are finding the iPhone attractive relative to a $0 (with a contract) Android phone. This price parity (illusory as it may be) allows iPhone to grow even faster than Android in this particular market.

One wonders what would happen if such price parity were present globally.

As I pointed out last week with regards to the clear application usage and engagement times of Android vs. iOS users, Apple’s growth in the low end is what is interesting. I have a hunch similar to Horace’s that the US could be a sign post of what could happen world wide as Apple extends their aggressive offerings there as well.