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The Androids are Attacking, World Domination in Sight

Queue the fireworks ladies and gentlemen, a debate has begun. Our guest poster, Shep McAllister wrote the article Will Any Android Phone Ever Beat The iPhone? and already users from both sides of the Mobile space are weighing in, namely myself and some others on Facebook. With users from both sides of the coin (Android and iOS) respectively being highly passionate about their mobile devices, it’s only expected that each side will have something to say.

Now, if you haven’t guessed or don’t know, I’ll come out and say it. I’m an Android user and wholeheartedly enjoy my Android device (HTC EVO), the Android platform, and the community as a whole (which I develop for). I’ve always believed in the Open Source culture and Android is an extension of it. As such, it’s only natural that I’ve come to embrace everything Android.

To paraphrase Shep’s post, here’s the direct comment he made on Facebook:

I don’t argue which OS is more powerful, easier to use, or customizable. I simply argue that in the minds of consumers, the iPhone is the model smartphone, much as the iPod was the model mp3 player, and that there will probably not be an Android phone in the near future that can change that.
While this comment is somewhat valid, it does not hold true today, especially in 2011. The original iPhone, the one that was first introduced in 2007 has direct correlation with this statement. However, today’s iPhone, as impressive as it is, does not hold
any of the same sentiments and nor is it a model for the smartphones we see today. Both the iPhone and iPod were revolutionary for its time, but that time ended about a year and a half ago, mainly for the iOS. In this last year, Android has overtaken RIM, Nokia, and Apple to become the number one smartphone OS (Sources: here, here, and here).

However, even though Android is now the dominant platform, Shep’s argument isn’t based on Android’s OS growth, but specifically the devices themselves compared to the iPhone. And in that regard, he is right in saying that the iPhone is still the phone to beat. I may be an Android user, but I also understand that if it were not for the iPhone, we wouldn’t have the selection of devices that we do today. The iPhone definitely has lead the way and according J.D. Power and Associates it’s still the number one phone.

For a fifth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction with a score of 795 and performs particularly well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design. Motorola (763) and HTC (762) follow Apple in the smartphone rankings.

However, for Android and Google as a whole, this doesn’t matter all that much. Android wasn’t designed or developed to be on one single device. Like Microsoft Windows, the Android platform is versatile and able to be used with any number of devices (even the iPhone, though not natively). As such, it’s easy to compare the iPhone among the many devices manufactured by HTC, Samsung, or Motorola and say that the Android devices aren’t as popular, but that’s not what’s really going on. See picture below.

Dave Robson - manufacture-os-share
Dave Robson - manufacture-os-share

As you can see, the iPhone is extremely popular and being the only device for the iOS, it better be. What’s interesting to note is that,

Android and iPhone sales reached equilibrium in January 2011 according to reports by a major supermarket leader (Smith, T. 2011). The number of Android platforms in the domain has increased dramatically since its inception and figures will continue to grow.

This statement tells me that the number of Android devices being sold between all the manufacturers as of now has caught up with the iPhone and quite frankly, it’s inevitable that Android devices will eventually outsell iPhones within a couple of years, even with rumors of an iPhone 5 supposed in the works. At the present moment, no single Android device outsells the iPhone, yet.

However, one would be foolish to think that the iPhone will continue to hold onto the one number spot, we’ve seen Android can grow tremendously in one year and over take all the other Mobile platforms. It’s not hard to think that within another year or possibly even two, that an Android device will reign supreme in the mobile world.

As they say, never say never.