Android Slowly Gaining Popularity

Some interesting statistics and surveys about the US smartphone and tablet markets have been released in the past month. The Android operating system is still trailing behind iOS in overall userbase, but Android handsets are becoming more and more desirable compared to all other devices: Blackberry, Windows, and, yes, even iPhones.

comScore Reports: “iOS Outreaches Android by 59 Percent”

comScore, Inc. published a press release of data gathered about the US media device market, based on what they’d discovered through their MobiLens service.

It’s easy to forget that the iPod Touch runs iOS, and is essentially an iPhone without the ‘phone. Yet, according to comScore’s data, almost as many people in the US own an iPod Touch as own an iPhone, which in turn is roughly twice as many people as own an iPad. This means that iOS, as a platform, has a much greater reach than the Android platform — just look at the pie charts below:

What a difference an iPod Touch makes

If we compare the reach of Android to that of iOS across just phones and tablets, Android actually comes out slightly ahead; however, comparing Android’s reach to that of all portable iOS devices shows that there are far more devices running iOS apps than running Android apps. Could this be part of the reason why so many developers are still much more interested in creating apps for iOS than for Android?

Also interesting to note is that 14.2% of iPad users also owned an Android phone. As comScore put it, this indicates that iPad users aren’t all “Apple fanboys”. I wonder whether that percentage will change as we see more and more Honeycomb tablets released…

Nielsen says: Android Becoming More Desirable

The Nielsen Company have also released some interesting statistics, this time based on surveying US smartphone consumers to see which OS platform they prefer, compared to six months ago. (No tablets or iPods in this data.)

In their previous survey spanning July-September 2010, they found that 26% of US consumers wanted an Android phone, 33% wanted an iPhone, 13% wanted a BlackBerry, only 7% wanted a Windows mobile, and 18% weren’t sure what they wanted.

What phone did people want in Q3 2010?

Their most recent survey, spanning January-March this year, shows a few differences: 31% want Android, 30% want an iPhone, 11% want BlackBerry, 6% want Windows, and 20% aren’t sure.

What phone do people want now?

Of course, just because someone says they want something, that doesn’t mean they’ll go for it. Nielsen also researched what smartphones consumers had actually bought, highlighting those purchased in the previous six months:

What smartphones people own

All three of these images show a clear increase in the popularity of Android. However, iPhone usage has only dropped slightly, while BlackBerry, Windows, Palm, and Symbian usage has dropped a huge amount. My guess is that Android is gaining more and more traction in the entry-level section of the smartphone market — which Apple seems to have no interest in — while not gaining too much of Apple’s share in the higher end.

However, the information might not indicate a general trend; the iPhone 4 was released in April 2010, several months before the data shown in the right-hand pie chart of the last image. It’s possible that the majority of iOS users bought their iPhone more than six months before the survey, and are waiting for the iPhone 5 to be released before upgrading — so perhaps the results released in six months time will show a massive swing back in the direction of iOS.