Platform vs Device

Platform vs Device

According to data from Kantar WorldPanel ComTech, in October Apple sold more than three times as many iPhones as they had in any three previous months.  Out of all UK smartphone sales in October, Apple took 42.8% of the market overshadowing Google’s Android which took 35% in the same period.  So, what’s the explanation for this jump in sales for Apple?  The answer is that these figures are linked with the release of the iPhone 4S.  The pent up demand that Apple users had for the updated device resulted in this surge in sales.

The bigger picture though is that in the 12 weeks to the end of October, Apple’s market share of UK smartphones was 27.8% (compared to 25% in the same period in the previous year) while Android’s figure was 46% (compared to 34.2% in the 12 week period a year ago).  In brief, Android has more market share and is still growing faster.

Even more interesting is that 75% of the customers who bought the iPhone 4S in the period did so via upgrade.  The majority of those sales were to existing iPhone owners.  In a previous blog (http://www.firstapp.com/the-future-is-mobile) I wrote about how Android is the dominating OS in the market progression towards smartphones.  I think the explanation for this success is straightforward.  The iPhone is a single line of products produced solely by one manufacturer, namely Apple.  Android in contrast is a mobile operating system, a software platform.  Android phones are produced by many manufacturers who have clearly seen the benefits of adopting a free open platform – they don’t after all have the option of using iOS which is only available for Apple devices.

The ‘Android Phone’ is in fact a family of disparate hardware devices that run a common OS.  Given the platform’s impressive adoption figures it’s worth remembering that when comparing with the iPhone.  A truer comparison would set Android against iOS although such a comparison would beg the question: “Why pitch an OS built for a single line of devices against the rest of the market?”