Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

Summary: Market researchers produce tons of statistics, and quite often come up with conflicting results. But in the battle between Android and iPhone, which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

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Market researchers produce tons of statistics, and quite often come up with conflicting results. But in the battle between Android and iPhone, which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

There's plenty of data to chew on. For example, an NPD study showed that Google's Android was comfortably beating iPhone, with Q1 2010 unit sales of 28% against 21%. This data was enough to prompt Apple, a company that is usually tight-lipped in the face of any study to piece of market research, to dispute the numbers.

Then came a Gartner study that showed that Android was closing the gap on the iPhone in terms of market share, but still had a way to go, with 9.6% global market share for Google versus 15.4% for Apple.

Now Nielsen enters the fray, claiming that the iPhone has three times the operating system market compared to Android, with Apple holding 28% compared to Google's 9%. The Nielsen study goes on to say that 80% of iPhone owners plan on buying another iPhone (with only 7% planning a switch to Android), compared to Android which sees 70% of customers planning to re-buy an Android handset and 14% eyeing an iPhone.

Another interesting aspect of the Nielsen study was income levels of handset owners. According to the study around 40% of iPhone users earn over $100,000, while only 28% of Android users earn that much.  On the flipside, 36% of Android users earn less than $50,000, while only 18% of iPhone users earn below that level.

What does all this mean? Well, I think the take away is that it's hard to pin down the smartphone market. I'm tempted to feel that the initial NPD study that put Android ahead of iPhone was flawed and that while Android is catching up with iPhone, it's not overtaken it ... yet.

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

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47 comments
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  • Apple is not about any number other than $

    There's really no way Apple can take the lead in market share. It's just not possible with their one Phone one carrier model. Even if they open to other carriers, it's still one company versus twenty other throwing Android phones (many of them quite amazing) at the market.

    Apple is still probably going to make more money at it than anyone else though. They've never needed market dominance to be the halo company and deeply profitable.
    ArtInvent
    • Good point, iPhone OS may be better than Android, but, the one carrier

      thing is hurting them. Though, with competion on Hardware, we are seeing better actual hardware for Android, and a lot more options including low end options that we do not see from Apple.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

        @DonnieBoy

        The problem with the Nielson study is that they are including the iPod touch as well since it runs the iPhone OS. When you include those numbers, of course the iPhone OS is going to be more.
        Yax_to_the_Max
      • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

        @Yax_to_the_Max
        Correct, but Android itself is not phone, it is just OS, so OS to OS comparison, thus Nielson study makes sense.
        Ram U
    • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

      @ArtInvent ? they managed to do it with one iPod model.

      You're a bit behind the times. Jobs has publicly lambasted the old Apple's monopoly pricing when (during his hiatus) Windows was finally competitive. They NEED volume to afford the sort of innovation they've been banging out and they offer features and pricing accordingly.
      WaltFrench@...
    • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

      @ArtInvent

      Just not possible, like how the iPod hasn't been able to beat off the likes of Creative, Zune, iRiver, etc. for the the last 9 years.
      Vitaminpower
  • That study also says that Android users are younger...

    ... hence the lower incomes.

    P.S. Adrian, please make an effort to add some depth to your articles, even if in very small doses. As they are coming out these days your 'analysis' are so shallow as to be pretty much worthless.
    OS Reload
  • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

    There is a difference between the sets of figures. NPD is products sold in Q1, whereas the other two are usage statistics which also take account of phones sold pre Q1 as long as they are still being used. At an extreme level if every phone sold in Q1 2010 was an Android NPD would show 100% Android usage but Nielsen, Gartner etc would probably still show iPhone as higher than Android because of all the iPhones sold in 2008, 2009 etc. Therefore there is likely to be a lag between the NPD data and Nielsen.
    Bristolboy
    • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

      @Bristolboy

      There's also the issue of when Nielson conducted their study. Anybody that have used an Incredible or the newly released Evo will not be switching to the iPhone.
      Yax_to_the_Max
      • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

        @Yax_to_the_Max.

        Tho they might long for an iPhone 4, with its superior display, a front-facing camera that actually comes with software to use it (fancy that!) and waaay better battery life. Or not.
        WaltFrench@...
  • An interesting consequence from that research is...

    in <b>absolute numbers</b> there are more iPhone users willing to purchase Android next than there are Android users willing to buy an iPhone next.
    OS Reload
    • Give Apple credit where credit is due. They do an excellent job with the

      combination of user interface, and hardware. Second to none. But, Google is on all carriers, there is a wider variety of hardware, and the best hardware is head and shoulder above iPhone. And, in the coming years, there will be little difference between iPhone and Android in terms of ease of use of the user interface.
      DonnieBoy
      • @DonnieBoy: Maybe... maybe not

        I'm betting on the second possibility because Apple's closed hardware and walled garden approach leads to a boring world of sameness. Add to that the fact that the iPhone is no longer a distinctive of membership to the cool group and you can foresee a rougher road ahead.
        OS Reload
    • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

      @OS Reload

      Yes, maybe interesting. But how would Apple even notice if 20% of current Android users switched? It'd be a pimple on their total sales.
      WaltFrench@...
  • Another great article from Adrian.

    Clearly the Nielsen Report is more comprehensive than the Gartner "study" so I'm incline to believe that the iPhone is kicking the crap out of Android. It also makes sense since Apple has been doing this way before Google and focus on the user experience where Google is more focus on copying Apple.
    iPad-awan
    • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of owners?

      @iPad-awan More accurately, the Nielson "Report" closely matches the ideological bias you admit to in your name, whereas the Gartner study throws rocks at your glass walled garden.
      rtk
      • Not necessarily...

        @rtk Both studies still put the iPhone ahead of Android. The difference is the Nielson Report used all of the iDevices that use the iPhone OS (which is proper considering this is an OS vs OS thing so including the iPod Touches and iPad is legit) where the Gartner Study usues just the iPhone... which is still pretty impressive considering there is two models of iPhone (3G and 3GS) vs around 20 models of Android phones. Just thought I'd put this all in perspective for you.
        athynz
    • "kicking the crap out of Android" is not true. Android is on virtually ALL

      carriers, a huge advantage. Next, there is a wider variety of Android phones, both low and high end, with the best Android phones (hardware wise) being head and shoulders above iPhone. And, as Android matures, the difference in the OS will be minimal.

      So, YES, Apple has the biggest installed base, but, Android is looming. Microsoft not even in the picture.
      DonnieBoy
      • RE: Android vs. iPhone - Which handset is winning the hearts and minds of o

        @DonnieBoy
        Why shouldn't we flag you this time? You did very good until Android is looming. But after that you mentioned Microsoft. Can't you just breathe without calling Microsoft? I don't think so, you virtually breathe Microsoft even in your dreams.
        --Ram--
        Ram U
  • The first thing to notice, is that Windows Mobile or what every the latest

    marketing name from MS, is not even mentioned, not even in the running.
    DonnieBoy