Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

Moderated by Jason Hiner | October 10, 2011 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Can Google's Android operating system continue its push toward mobile domination? James Kendrick and Larry Dignan debate.

James Kendrick

James Kendrick

Android Growth

or

Stagnation

Lawrence Dignan

Lawrence Dignan

Best Argument: Android Growth

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Snowball rolling down a steep hill

James Kendrick: Google doesn't always do the expected with the Android platform, and while at times it seems the development is a bit disorganized, it is going to remain a major player in mobile for some time. The platform has taken the smartphone space by brute force, and is so big it would be difficult for Google to screw it up enough to knock it down.

The latest figures have a mind-boggling 550,000 Android activations happening daily. These are not shipments of phones hoping to be sold; these are activations. Over half a million actual users are setting up a new Android phone or tablet each day.

Android is like a snowball rolling down a steep hill. It's already huge so it rolls over all comers that get in its way. It is already so big in the smartphone space it will continue to dominate for the foreseeable future, even if Google starts screwing things up.

 

Widely successful - but vulnerable

Lawrence Dignan:  It's hard to argue that Android has been widely successful. Android has come from nowhere to owning 41.8 percent of the phone market in the U.S., according to comScore. Gartner puts global Android market share at 43.4 percent as of the second quarter.  On the tablet front, Android has 17 percent of the market, according to IDC.

How can I argue that Android is vulnerable? For starters, there are other operating systems that will take some share going forward. Microsoft Windows Phone 7 will grab share simply based on Nokia distribution. RIM has smartphones just good enough to retain customers. And on the tablet front, Android has been a disappointment. The tablet-specific apps are missing and good luck trying to get integration similar to what Apple has.

And finally, Android is clunky. As an Android customer, I feel like I'm using the mobile version of Windows 3.1. Android is OK, but if something better comes I could bolt.

Talkback

170 comments
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  • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

    while Android has it's issues.. i believe the growth will go on
    Lone Goat
    Reply Vote I'm for Android Growth
    • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

      @Lone Goat There are more: 1)Phone choices with Android! 2) More carrier choices with Android. 3) More free APPS with Android 4) More customization with Android. 5) More updates on OS with Android than with iOs and Windows. 6) More newer phones around with top brands as Samsung and HTC! Go Android!!!
      petite_kj
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

        Android growth is already stagnating.<br><br>Androids global sales growth rate dropped to 3 percent in the March 2011 quarter from 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter 2010 and 9.5 percent in the September 2010 quarter. <br><br>CommScore reports Android growth in US smartphone marketshare (where Android growth has been strongest in the developed world to-date) has dropped to 1.9 percent July through to August.<br><br>Android tablet marketshare has already dropped from 34% in Q1 to 26.8% in Q2 are projected to hit 23.0% this quarter according to IDC.<br><br>Kevin, that 550,000 Android smartphone, tablet and other device activations per day sounds great until you realise Apple sold 622,000 iOS devices per day in the 45 days up to October 4th this year - and that was with the year-old iPhone 4.
        marthill
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

          Android is still missing in action in the mini-tablet market where vendors such as Archos and Samsung with tablets ranging from 2.7" up to 4" have been unable to make a dent in the complete dominance of the iPod touch which in the Dec 2010 quarter when Apple sold a third as many units as all Android smartphones, tablets and other devices from all manufacturers combined.

          The iOS installed base at 250 million is far larger than Android's 135 million. ComScore reports iOS has 43.1% of the active installed base in the USA in August 2011 versus only 34.1% for Android. The numbers in Europe are even more in favour of Apple with iOS 116% larger than Android.

          All these numbers are however useless if those Android users don't buy more apps and browse more sites and ads than iOS users. The data says they don't. The iPad had 97% web browser share and iOS as a whole had 58.5% browser share in August compared to Android at only 31.9% according to ComScore.
          marthill
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
        • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

          Nielsen reports that iOS users have 27% more apps than Android users and use them 13% more than Android users. iOS app developers make 18x more income than Android devs according to ABI Research etc. MobClix reports that iOS users are up to 2x more valuable to advertisers than Android users.

          Apple is now capturing 61% of the profit share of the entire cell phone industry.

          All things considered, it is obvious that although Android will maintain a large share of smartphone market unit sales, further growth *is* stagnating and those numbers are not translating into overall platform market share or manufacturer profit share or developer profit share.
          marthill
          Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

        @petite_kj There are also more PROBLEMS with Android. For the end user, that will be the final product of the whole equation on each unique device. Too many PROBLEMS breeds disloyalty. Ask Microsoft about how its still hurting in being trustworthy due to the problems it had with Windows Mobile. While that's mainly a matter of perception, as Windows Phone seemed nice for the short time I used it, it's still a result of the PROBLEMS that were present. Google has to manhandle control of Android back in-house if it wants to keep gaining marketshare. Android is capturing the ignorant right now. Developers like the open feel of it, but can see the light at the end of that tunnel beginning to flicker. While that control should result in fewer crap apps, it will constrain the sense of freedom developers feel they gained by developing for Android. Having used all the major OS's, Android proves to be the most disappointing in the user experience, with Apple and webOS being the least worrisome.
        trollCall
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

        @petite_kj More free apps? I am sure you are one of those haters that assumes every apps for iOS costs an arm and a leg but they don't. Do you have any stats to prove this claim or are those irrelevant? More updates? Does an update count if nobody gets it? On iOS devices you are guaranteed to get the updates for at least two years, not so on Android. Number of updates isn't always a good thing either. If you need an update every month that's probably a sign there are numerous issues that are being worked out month by month.<br><br>I will give you the others but more is not always better.
        non-biased
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
    • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

      @Lone Goat Larry Dignan nailed it. Monopolies always provide better technical service when motivated. Diversity of hardware models is bad for software apps. Single hardware models with few optional hardware features means more and better software at lower costs. The closest Android can come is to create a public database of hardware IDs under GOOGLE administration for universal device/hardware platform description and API registration. Even then software has to read IDs or category code and adapt - far more work than simply using the single hardware solution option Apple provides. In hardware less variety is better.
      wellduh
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Growth and Refinement

    I agree with Larry that Android does feel rough a times and could use some refinement.
    My concern is that without the growth of an OS like Android or WP we will see a serious stagnation in the mobile world driven by the tenants of Apple.
    With their mindset of "family consumerism" and "Apple Moral Values" we need an area where the "wild west" is open to those who want to expand and have choice - the pioneer spirit if you will.
    Android: let's see where it leads us. It allows me choice.
    rhonin
    Reply Vote I'm for Android Growth
  • RE: Great Debate: More growth ahead for Android, or is it stagnation time?

    The fact that Sprint is adding an iPhone should blunt Android growth just a little in the U.S. (but just a little... this is, after all, Sprint we're talking about here). But still, I just don't see the Android juggernaut slowing down all that much. In the past, Microsoft could leverage its dominance in the enterprise market to push Windows Mobile adoption, but more and more corporate IT departments are allowing users to choose their own Android or iOS phones for work. It remains to be seen whether consumers will choose Windows phones absent a push from IT once said phones become widely available. My suspicions are that Windows Phone will never be a major player in the phone arena. RIM is dying a slow death, gliding irreveribly into irrelevance as smart phones handle e-mail as seamlessly as the Blackberry's of old. And iOS will command a strong, but very gradually diminishing following as users warm up to the much wider range hardware options that Android presents. I can't see iOS dipping below 25% or so of the market in the next 10 years, but I don't see the platform overcoming Android either. And I predict that Android's dominance in the phone market will eventually pave the way for success in the tablet market, too... albeit at a much slower rate than originally predicted.
    dsf3g
    Reply Vote I'm for Android Growth