Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

Summary: Buh-Bye BlackBerry...Hello Android (and iOS)


I'll admit it...I was a CrackBerry addict. I used my old Curve until the little letters were all rubbed off and the trackball was a big gummy mess.  I could thumb-type with the best of them. And then I got my Droid Incredible. Buh-Bye BlackBerry. There was, quite frankly, no comparison. It appears that significant numbers of the smartphone users in the US felt the same way, according to new Nielsen research released yesterday.

Before the flames from devoted iPhone users start, though, let me throw out this nugget from the Silicon Valley Mercury News:

"Android and iPhone are eating into both Microsoft and RIM," [Roger Entner, head of telecom research for Nielsen] said in an interview Monday. "There isn't really a lot of (consumer) movement going on between Android and Apple. They are both just eating away at the competition."

While Android phones sold faster than iPhones in the second quarter of 2010, iPhones sales are severely handicapped by single-vendor sales; Android phones are available on all major carriers in the US, making direct comparisons difficult and leaving a whole lot of marketing ahead of Android.  However, what isn't difficult to see is that once users experience either Android or iOS, it becomes mighty difficult to go back to the BlackBerry.

Of course, many businesses have built expensive communications infrastructure around BlackBerry Enterprise Server, making other phones a tough sell to these companies. Ultimately, though, user demand and compelling features will drive business devision-making. In smaller businesses, where BES is far less likely to be deployed, there aren't many reasons to stick with RIM's products when Android and iOS devices do so much more, so much better.

The real takeaway from the Nielsen research is that Google was right. Mobile is the future of the Web, Android will be at the center of mobile (along with iOS), and Google is going to make another fortune. I'll let others debate whether RIM can compete in this new smartphone landscape. What I do know is that there is probably no better example of the consumerization of IT than the explosion of Android (and iOS...can't forget iOS) phones in the enterprise and the willingness of diehard BlackBerry users to dump their phones in favor of slick devices with Cupertino and Mountainview seals of approval.

Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Hardware, iPhone, Mobile OS, BlackBerry, Smartphones

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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  • DroidBerry?

    I think it was Jason Perlow who suggested some time ago that an Android device integrated into the BlackBerry network would be a pretty formidable mobile offering - and might be the only way for RIM to stay in the game.

    Having recently moved from BlackBerry to an Android device myself I have to agree with him. I really liked my BlackBerry and was going to upgrade to the BB handset, but wasn't convinced that BB was going to be able to match Android (or IOS) in terms of OS development (or availability of apps) over the 2 yr term of my new contract.

    Android and IOS are the future of mobile device platforms - but nothing matches RIM's network for instant email/msg notification and security.

    I'm happy with my move to Android, but ideally... I want both!
    • What do you mean by instant email?


      I have never used a Blackberry, and since you have used both, perhaps you can tell me what you mean by instant email. I get instant email from gmail. I assume I would get the same from my work email although I have never tried it. How does Blackberry defer from this? I know it's secure and encrypted, but how does it defer in the instantaneous delivery?
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

        @os2baba well on an Android phone u don't get your emails instantly unless you are on WiFi or you have your 3g always connected. Which would mean bad battery life overall. Blackberries get your email as soon as it comes in via blackberry servers. And u don't even have to be online to get it.
      • BB vs gmail

        @os2baba <br>On gmail it only seems instant. Actually, your phone has to use battery to establish a connection to the web and gmail servers. It then has to send a request to check the inbox. It does this at regular intervals (5min-2hr) depending on your settings. That can eat a lot of battery throughout the day. <br>On blackberry, the server pushes a message, like a text message, as soon as the mail arrives. Then the phone checks and downloads the message.
        Im on the computer a lot so I just check mine manually every couple of days.

        I love my Droid!!
        2.2coming this week XD
  • business model

    Almost any entity can attain huge market share if they start giving goods away for next to nothing or for free. Huge market share, no profits. Since when has this money-losing business model been so sought after and so highly praised?<br><br>not only is google losing money with any android phone that is sold (they must have invested 100 of millions already), but also most of the hardware makers. the mobile divisions of motorola, lg and sony ericccson are all deep in the red. only htc is making money and even they refuse to give unit numbers.<br><br>so what kind of ridiculous, non sustainable business model and ecosystem is that where almost all of the players are losing money in the name of os unit market share? and why do tech blogs praise it that much? <br><br>only out of utter apple hatred?
    banned from zdnet
    • Business Model seems to be working

      @banned from zdnet

      Motorola turned its loss making mobile division into a profit making one in a year pretty much on a couple of Android phones and they apparently have a hit on their hands with Droid X and Droid 2.

      HTC is making millions of dollars in record profits with their army of Android phones

      Samsung has got the awesome Galaxy S phones that have got rave reviews and are selling like hot cakes world wide. I wouldn't be surprised to see this as being possibly the hottest selling Android phone this year.

      Sony Ericson has a couple of good Android phones. LG is coming out with a bunch of Android smart phones. Acer has a few. Dell has the Streak. Presumably, they all think they can make money as well.

      As far as Google is concerned, it's obviously turned out to be a very very wise decision for them. Since they no longer have to depend on Steve Job's mood to decide their future. And in fact are probably contributing rather heavily in him pretty much losing it these days. You don't think that Google is benefiting by not having their long term future decided by an unpredictable megalomaniac?
      • agreed

        it may be a good strategic idea to loosen their dependency on apple. so that may make sense for google though it is a costly ride.

        but most of the hardware makers (besides htc) are losing money with their android strategy. sure, all of them hope that this will change sometime in the future. but hope is not a good strategy.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone


        You are entirely right.

        Android's purpose was preventing one phone from dominating the market and locking out rival advertisers like Google (Apple already did that with iAds).

        And Google succeeded. Now if Apple or RIM decide they don't want to let Google advertise on their phones, Google won't care - they're dominating the market with their own phones.

        And perhaps more importantly, they plan to sell content, like music and books, on Android. If there are a lot more Android users than iPhone users, obviously more people will buy music from Google than from Apple.

        With a billion Android users, Google will make tens of billions from the content and the ads that they sell on those phones. Giving the OS away for free was a pretty smart idea.
      • motorola

        and no, motorola's mobile division (their phone business) is still deep in the red. you may refer to motorola's earnings last quarter. the company as a whole made a profit, their phone division (which will be a separate unit at the beginning of next year) is losing money. their android strategy didn't help here.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

        @banned from zdnet While I agree to a certain extent that you can't continue to compete while not making a profit, I suspect there is a lot more there than we know. First Google has made a huge investment in something they are giving away but they will make huge profits in the long run from ad revenue.

        @os2baba How exactly was Google's future dependent on Apple/Steve Jobs' mood? I have an iPhone and the default search engine is Google.

        @drphysx The purpose of Android (at least after Google purchased it) was to off a mobile OS that they could have deep root in, not to make sure their was more than on dominant OS. Do you really think they would be upset if all competition all of the sudden went away leaving them the only OS in the market?
    • Not a money losing business model

      @banned from zdnet The carriers are either giving away or charging very low prices for phones but that doesn't have anything to do with the manufacturer or the carrier making money. The carrier is subsidizing the cost of the phone to you so that they can get you to sign that two year contract. They will then make back the loss on the phone from your monthly bill.<br><br>It is a similar model to HP's very successful ink-jet printer strategy where they practically give away their low end printers because they are going to nail you when you buy replacement ink cartridges.

      Apple hatred? Get real dude. Apple/AT&T do the same thing - like the iPhone 3gs currently available for $99 (when signing a contract of course).
      • no

        i am not referring to the subsidization model of the carriers. the carriers pay the full handset price to the hardware makers. they subsidize the cost for the end user and make it back in monthly fees.

        i am referring to the latest quarterly reports of motorola, lg, sony ericsson and samsung. all of their mobile divisions (phone divisions) are losing money.
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

        @banned from zdnet<br><br>Is this true? With the momentum of Android, you would think everyone is banking off Google's strategy. What I fear happening is, with so much competition within the Android universe, companies will have to find ways to cut cost/and cut conners on their products just to stay competitive. Like we've seen with Windows PC OEMs, offering cheaply built and unstable hardware with added junkware/bloatware as they race to the bottom. We're already seeing such similarities with the included Blockbuster junkware app on Droid X phones. An App that can't be removed btw.
    • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

      @banned from zdnet

      Not sure where you heard all those companies were losing money? Sony Ericsson is, but I heard that all the others were going strong. Samsung just reported record earnings, and they claimed that part of that was from the mobile division.

      The reality is that there is a love/hate relationship between the phone companies and Apple/RIM. Both companies get subsidies and/or revenue sharing, so the phone company make less money (on average) per user, than on a smartphone user running Android or Windows Mobile or Symbian. With those OS', any licensing is between the phone manufacturer and the OS owner. The rest is all gravy to the phone company.
  • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

    Canalys' numbers are more accurate than Nielsen's, because they are for the last three months and include the iPhone 4.

    According to Canalys, 2Q 2010 U.S. market share numbers are:

    Android 34%
    RIM 32.1%
    Apple 21.7%

    Worldwide numbers are:

    Nokia 38%
    RIM 18%
    Android 17%
    Apple 13%


    At its current growth rate, which doesn't seem to be slowing, Android might even overtake Symbian (Nokia) within a year and take the number one spot worldwide.

    It's "Windows vs. Macintosh" all over again, but this time Google is Apple's competitor. And we all know how the story ends.

    Apple will be the highly profitable niche player, making boatloads of money with a very tiny market share.
    • iphone 4

      @drphysx <br>these numbers include only 3 days of iphone 4 availability. this quarter apple will probably sell around 12 million iphones. let's see these market share numbers then.<br><br>and your worldwide numbers are bogus. the canalys study doesn't give worldwide numbers for android. you pulled them out of your a**?<br><br>by the way. the windows vs. mac analogy doesn't make much sense. microsoft sold their os and made and makes a lot of money with it. <br><br>here for the sake of meaningless unit market share numbers most players of the ecosystem (os provider and hardware makers) are losing money. every android phone sold is costing google, lg, motorola and sony ericcsson money. what an accomplishment!
      banned from zdnet
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

        @banned from zdnet

        Apple sold 130,000 iPhones per dayfrom the iPhone 4 launch until today.

        In the same time period, over 160,000 Android phones were sold per day.

        This quarter, about 20 million Android phones will be sold. That's quite a few more than your 12 million iPhones.
      • I suspect...

        @banned from zdnet ...that many of the iPhone 4's sold will be to people who previously owned an iPhone and are now upgrading...meaning that their purchase does not increase overall Apple market share
      • numbers

        that very well maybe, though i doubt it. let's see then.

        and your android worldwide number? where does it come from? a dark place where ... ;-)
        banned from zdnet
      • RE: Google's Android overtaking BlackBerry and iPhone

        @banned from zdnet

        It's from Adrian's blog post and it makes sense if you do a the maths.

        Worldwide Android sales grew 886% from last year, overall smartphone sales grew 64%.

        Now if Android was at 3% last year... maths tells me it's now at 16.2%. Pretty close to Adrian's 17% so I guess it's correct.