Apple & Google
May 18, 2011
Posted by on
Google has beaten Apple.
Android has defeated iOS.
That is the general consensus, atleast amongst the public. The Windows-Mac analogies are being bandied about & the iPhone has been declared “dead in the water“.
This post is to put things in some perspective.
Whatever the proclamations be, one thing is clear: Android was going to beat iOS in terms of marketshare. It was inevitable, with the number of handset manufacturers that are backing Android and offering a variety of price points. Android is a good OS, especially if you compare it to the late-symbian & the only worthy competitor to iOS. But marketshare does not equal profit. Google does not earn by licensing Android (as opposed to Microsoft & Windows) but via search & ads they push through it. It is the mobile phone companies that gain from the free nature of Android. You’d think they would be crushing Apple with their onslaught but there is a different story unfolding. Out of all the smartphones sold in Q1 of 2011, iPhone was at 5%(overall market share of the iPhone is approx. 23% of the smartphones) but it hogged a massive 55% of the revenue. Android activations may be 300 million but that split into the handset manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, Sony Ericsson etc) does not supersede Apple. And again Google is not earning from these licenses.
Even with the decrease in marketshare, the profits continue to pour in. & has $65.8 billion in cash reserve.If it wanted, Apple could buy Google & still be left with $26 billion!! Also it has displaced MicroSoft as the most valuable tech company in the world, in every financial aspect (Market Cap, Revenue & Profits)
So there is a long way to go before Apple or its products are “defeated”
iOS vs Android has always been a showdown between a closed & an open system.
Open has its advantages, to those who know how to work it. Apple’s (almost) fiendish control results in a good user experience both, on the Mac as well as its iOS devices. Google allowing a free run with Android has had the same result as leaving kindergarten kids unattended:Chaos.
So many kinds of hardware, running many different versions of the OS.
- Software & Hardware is very well integrated for iOS devices
- No fake/malicious apps on its app store, unlike those in the Android marketplace
- Apps look & feel awesome. A number of apps are available on both Android & iOS, the iOS version is usually more snazzier & easy to use.
- No fragmentation. iOS runs on iPhone, iPad & iPod touch. Developers need to develop for only two screen sizes (ofcourse iPhone apps scale to iPad, but it’s not appealing). Android has so many handsets & tablets that all apps cannot be guaranteed to fit properly & many a times, not run at all.
- You now need antivirus for Android.
- Apple’s product refresh cycle is fixed, they update yearly. So you can enjoy having the latest for a year. Android phones become outdated within the month.
- Apple kept updating the software of the original iPhone for three years, going from iOS 1.0 to iOS 3.1.3 . The updates stopped only when the hardware was incapable of handling them. With the number Android handsets being churned out, the manufacturers actually have less incentive to push updates. If you are stuck with an older version of the OS, the lure of a new phone is that much more.
- iOS updates are available simultaneously all around the globe. This is important since any security holes need to be patched as soon as possible. With all the location hoopla, iOS 4.3.3 was available within a week. Whereas many Android phones are still stuck on v2.2 whose security flaws have been exposed & can be easily compromised (2.3 has been out for 5 months now but only 4% phones are running it). Boasting of OTA updates is useless if there are no updates to speak of!! But I guess they should be happy & satisfied that they made it to v2.2, instead of being stuck on v2.1. Or older.
- With almost all the devices running the latest version of iOS, developers are encouraged to keep updating their apps & they can do so without worrying too much about backward compatibility. On Android they must make sure the app runs on the older versions too.
- And, it has been the App Store which has generated developers loads of money ( Rovio was rescued from the brink of bankruptcy when it developed & released “Angry Birds” on the App store) The Android Marketplace? Not so much.
Android has its advantages in the form of endless tweaks, but the average Joe does not want to tweak his device. For the same reason he does not have a Linux PC at home
[“A Linux user will spend half his life tweaking.And the other half wondering why the goddamn thing won’t work” -Anonymous ]