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The perils of possession without utilization

[Updated with new charts including data from StatCounter and not NetMarketshare]

Generally speaking there is an equivalence drawn between iOS and Android as technologies and even as user experiences. However, as I’ve pointed out on several occasions there is a very clear nonequivalence in business models and thus the “fuel” which keeps each platform running. But does this difference in models lead to some difference in the way the products are “hired” to do what they do. Does it imply anything about how the products are likely to evolve?

I collected into one place all the data I could find about utilization (how much of a service and how often it’s used) and possession (both in terms of current ownership and new acquisitions) of iOS and Android.

Possession data comes from comScore survey data of share of US installed base of smartphones by platform at the end of June 2011 (first chart) and share of Global Smartphone Purchases as of Q2 2011 sourced from company reports and IDC (second chart).

Utilization data (vertical axes) comes from August  2011 shares of mobile browsers (from StatCounter June 2011), in-airport WiFi associations from Boingo in June 2011 (iPhone vs. Android), in-flight Wifi associations from Gogo in June 2011,  and In-app Ad impressions from Millenial Media also in June.

The charts are divided into nine sections corresponding roughly to “low”, “medium” and “high” utilization vs. possession.

The first chart compares a US-only population for possession vs. a mixture of global and US-only populations for utilization. The second chart compares a global population to the mix of US and global metrics.

What I found interesting is that if we take ad impressions (red X) and browsing (blue +) data out, the two platforms are indeed quite distinct. iPhone has a medium level of possession with a high level of utilization of data services while Android has a high level of possession with a low level of utilization. The data is also nicely clustered.

If we take just the ad impression or browser data then the platforms are quite similar: medium utilization for medium possession and high utilization for high possession. If the two platforms were to swap places in possession (i.e. market share) then they would probably also swap places in utilization (i.e. impressions).

What the data seems to suggest therefore is that for data services the iPhone is a far more popular tool than Android. But for in-app ad impressions and browsing the products are used in a similar manner.

The big difference is however that the services where iPhone utilization is high are those where users have to pay something. Most (if not all) of the ad impressions in apps are for free apps. So ad consumption scales with possession. But non-free services don’t. This data seems to support the hypothesis that Android users are disproportionately less willing to spend money (note that the data does not say that users don’t have money, but simply that they are not spending it). The other data which backs this hypothesis is that paid app sales on Android trail quite far behind the rate of purchase on iPhone. That could be due to payment problems in the Android marketplace but this data shows that there is some other effect as well.

Why is this important?

We can argue that Android is a low end product and that it disrupts and that this is consistent with that positioning. However it also indicates that the value is not in that ecosystem. And ecosystems are what sustain a platform in the long term. This debate will continue but I am reminded of other platforms which had similar patterns.

Both the Blackberry and Symbian had high possession (in terms of share) with very low utilization. There were lots of surveys which showed that browsing, app downloads and “monetization” of services after the sale of the handset were low. Much was written about it being due to poor experiences. But learned observers today insist that the experience on Android is as good as on the iPhone.

So why is there less economic participation from Android users? It’s not just about these proxy services, but all manner of activities which enrich an ecosystem. Possession without utilization implies a product that does not do its job. Its features are not being absorbed. Why would that be?

 

  • http://www.intomobile.com/ Stefan Constantinescu

    You could say people who buy the iPhone buy it because of what it can do, whereas people buy Android because it’s “the other choice”, and operators are offering fewer and fewer feature phones. Because there are more people buying an Android device because it’s simply there at the store, and their usage models don’t change despite them changing platforms, then of course they’ll be less use as a percentage of services.

    The opportunity is there for those who want to create a better ecosystem, but we’ve seen many, notoriously operators, launch an ecosystem only to see it die on the vine.

  • http://joeharris76.blogspot.com joeharris76

    This is a fantastic piece of insight, however what we really need is a way to segment Android owners into active purchasers (who wanted a smartphone) and passive purchasers who wanted a new phone and were sold a smartphone.

    Clearly this is a grey area but at perhaps you could split them but handset ASP. The hypothesis being that those who wanted a smartphone bought higher ASP models.

    • Anonymous

      We can already see that from usage. People who use their smartphone more bought iPhones.

      We already know Android ASP is a tiny fraction of iPhone ASP, even though high-end Android phones are more expensive. Therefore we know Android is almost all feature phone buyers.

  • Vincent Rice

    The relationship with the device is different. iPhone buyers have made a distinct choice and are prepared to engage with the whole Apple experience of the App Store, syncing etc. People don’t buy ‘Android’ phones. They buy HTC or Samsung or whatever. The app ecosystem is much less coherent and engaging. In a way the iPhone buyer has made a conscious buy-in.

  • Anonymous

    I’m having issues with the methodology, but maybe I understood wrong:
    - are you really using Browsers as proxies for platform ? I know I don’t use the Android browser on my Android phone, and most of my friends don’t either (Opera Mini saves a lot on data usage, Opera Mobile is just a little bit better then Andoird’s default too). OTOH, all iPhone users i know use Safari (do they even have a choice ?). So browser and OS correlate for iPhone, but not for Android.
    - Doesn’t using airports and planes (and starbucks as Sacks) heavily skew your sample to high-income ?

    • Anonymous

      Also, I find that with my Android phone I indeed spend a lot less time on-line than my iPhone frieds. I even cancelled my data plan because I just wasn’t using it. Android makes it really easy to preload stuff on your phone for off-line viewing (books, comics, videos, music…) while it seems iPhone s a lot more dependent on a permanent connexion to iTunes ?
      I’m not sure though, it may just be me vs the world on that one ?

      • Micromeme

        all the book readers (kindle, ibook, stanza) on iPhone don’t require itunes to operate (ie download or read) and dont require a live connection to read their libraries

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        You VS the world I think. Because most iOS devices, come with huge amounts of pre-installed memory, they actually excel at working off line. Books, movies, music, comics are all stored locally and can be read off line. In fact, iCloud is still centered with working with cloud data while off-line.

        Also, there are a dozen+ browsers for iOS (like Opera for example) but none of them are as good (IMO) as mobile Safari. All of my Android friends use the standard Android built in browser.

      • Anonymous

        No, you have it backwards. iPhone is an iPod. The whole point of iTunes is side-loading. iOS devices typically have more than double the local storage of an Android device. It is easy to sit at a Mac/Windows PC in your home Wi-Fi, add apps, books, movies, music, podcasts to your iTunes app, then plug in iPhone and sync over 30 gigabytes of stuff. Then you can do the same the next day, it is very easy. People have been doing it for 10 years. In fact, this is so good, Apple sells like 20 million iPhones per year that not only don’t have data plans, they don’t have 3G/4G radios at all, they are Wi-Fi only, and users get by just fine. Of course that is iPod touch. And they sell nanos and shuffles and classic as well. All with no 3G/4G.

      • Anonymous

        Yes and no.
        I had indeed missed the point about iTunes. Mostly because in my home and at my parents’ we don’t have it, so in many cases people I meet don’t have access to it and go online instead. Android users don’t have the iTunes issue though, and can get music and videos via drag and drop from any PC ?
        Also, about the memory, most Android users I know have put an 8 or 16 GB microSD card in their phones, so on average I would guess they have more storage than iPhone users.
        I don’t know anyone who does video or sound editing on their smartphone (except as a demo to show they could do it), and few who even do photo editing. But I’m getting older now, maybe that’s a young hun thing.

      • Kizedek

        Yes and no.
        Apparently SD storage cards don’t quite compare to the inboard storage of an iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. (BTW I don’t think you can get 8GB models anymore; 16 is minimum, and there are a lot of 32 and 64 models out there).

        Apparently cards work for data only, and not app installation, for example (someone correct me if I am wrong). My family and I try out tons of apps. We might have a good 300 on at one time. These take up probably 10GB with their data. The built-in memory in which apps can be installed on Android devices is apparently quite low.

        Then we have movies loaded for trips, pretty hi-res at probably 1.5 GB each…etc. Music library on the iPad, we keep quite small (compared to overall iTunes library comprised of mostly last 20 years of CDs — in the tens of thousands of songs). ITunes allows dynamic loading of selections according to any number of smart criteria: highest rated, least listened to, selected play lists, selected artists, selected albums, you name it. So there might be a cycling collection of about 2GB at any one time. It will be interesting to see what iCloud brings. Right now, keeping your whole library with you at all times is what the 120GB iPod Classic is for.

      • Anonymous

        I think iPhone 4 is 16 GB min, but they’re still selling 3GS @8GB. I don’t see any 64GB models in the French Apple Store ? Nor in the US one. Yep, 32 GB max.

        Cards have been working for apps for a long time on Android. (2.x ?)

        For movies I do the contrary:a few staples that I like to always have, I’ve re-encoded down to old iPhone quality (480×320 ?) because even though my screen is 50% bigger than an iPhone’s, I barely see any difference. They hardly take any room at all ^^

        I don’t know how easy it is to auto-juggle music on Android. I’ve got about 1,500 CDs ripped to FLAC with good tags; I filter/sort with those and either directly drag and drop if I’m in a hurry or run through an AAC converter + copy script if I have more time. I haven’t looked into automating more than that because in my experience once you start using special software to synch, you get dependent on it. I tried iTunes a handful of times way back when it came out, it choked on the quantity and format. Actually paid for MusicMatch even before that, didn’t choke but didn’t help much either… Vanilla Windows Explorer just works better for me.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        iPod and iPad go to 64GB. Android prior to 2.3 has serious issues with SD cards being easy to use (Error 505 WTHeck is that and “SD Card Busy” errors abound) and take much more effort to get working than iTunes for syncing.

        I have a library of about 500-600 CDs ripped to AAC/ALE that iTunes has no issue dealing with in a very fast fashion.

    • Anonymous

      iPhone users have a larger choice of browsers than Android. Including Opera. The thing is, iPhone has the best mobile browser preinstalled. Why replace it?

      If you are using Opera on Android, you are defeating Google’s plans for monetizing you, and therefore, proving Horace’s point.

  • http://www.jancifra.eu Jan Cifra

    I think the fundamental difference is in market segments. If you would compare the high-end Android users and compare those with the iPhone users you would come to similar results. But Android has a diverse ecosystem of devices and offers cheap simple devices for not that advanced users. I believe these types of users skew your data.

    • Anonymous

      No – they’re not skewing the data – they ARE the data.

      Look at the actual data from Boingo on airport wifi usage

      http://allthingsd.com/20110920/led-by-apples-iphone-and-ipad-mobile-devices-now-dominate-airport-wi-fi/

      Android users aren’t just using less than the iPhone, they’re not just using less than the iPad – they’re using less than the iPod Touch! Even if all the users categorized as ‘Other’ are really Android users they’re still using less than the iPod touch.

      So you’d have to claim that the average Android device is both cheaper and simpler than the iPod touch which simply isn’t true.

      Android users aren’t just using these paid services less than iPhone users on average, they’re using them less in total.

      • http://www.jancifra.eu Jan Cifra

        I understand your argument. But I still maintain that different market segments will have different usage patterns. The conclusion Horace made that the ecosystem is less important to Android users seems sound to me. My point is that it may not be a weakness of the platform but a weakness in the type of customers Android attracts. Does that make any sense?

      • http://twitter.com/GreenMtGuy Scott

        Is there really a meaningful difference between a “weak” platform and a platform that attracts “weak” customers? Windows Phone 7 & webOS are both supposedly great opperating systems, but no one seems to be adopting them, and their futures seem very much in doubt. I see the distinction you’re making, but I think the effect is the same either way.

      • Anonymous

        That doesn’t really make sense though. Aside from a few geeks and nerds people don’t buy the phone based on painstaking research, they buy what they see in the shop and what looked nice. Lots of people like the supersaturated colours on Samsung phones, or the shiny animated wall-papers on HTC.

        So the idea that Android is somehow unable to acquire potentially high spending consumers is far-fetched. They’re acquiring them, they’re just not convincing them to spend, whereas Apple is.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        This was the data that got me started. I was struck by how small Android was in that list relative to the overall market share they have. I separated out the iPhone however and then gathered all the other data I could find.

        It may be that the airport sampling skews toward more affluent. Here is some data from Nielsen (quoted from another comment thread).

        Nielsen reports that 40% of iPhone users have incomes above $100K versus Android with only 28%. 6% of iPhone users are over 55 vs 4% of Android users.4% of iPhone users are under 18 vs 6% of Android users.Comparing smartphone OS ownership, 29% of whites have iPhones vs 27% Android.15% of Blacks have iPhones vs 31% Android36% of Asians have iPhones vs 20% Android29% of Hispanics have iPhones vs 27% AndroidLots of other stats on the web

      • Anonymous

        That demographic data is pretty old isn’t it? From back when Android was still smaller than iOS? fingers crossed Nielsen give us another taste of it now that Android is more mature.

      • http://gravitationalpull.net/wp/ ampressman

        Recent demographic data shows a huge socioeconomic split between Android, which skews lower income, and iPhone, which skews upper income. I think this explains a lot of the apparent disparities. See http://theorangeview.net/2011/09/smartphone-class-warfare/

        This post needs a serious update of the browser usage data, which conflates iPod Touch and iPad usage into a supposed smartphone comparison. Android browser share exceeds iPhone browser share and the gap has been growing every month this year according to statcounter.com. Usage surveys by Nielsen show Android and iPhone users download and use apps with similar frequency and actually download more total data per month.

      • Anonymous

        Nice link! Though that demographic data is going the other way – ie. it’s not saying that 5% of Android users earn 150k+ but that 5% of people earning 150k+ use Android.

        If anything that makes it worse for Android, Apple is clearly the firm best posititioned to take Blackberry’s lunch.
        The original data set is even more interesting

        http://mashable.com/2011/09/07/consumers-smartphone/

        As for the web stats – Horace has already said he’ll update them, on a different comment.

      • http://gravitationalpull.net/wp/ ampressman

        The demographic data is going just the way I said: among smartphone owners, wealthier people are more likely to own iPhones and lower income more likely to own Android phones. This presents an opportunity for Apple to introduce cheaper models but I don’t think that’s the full explanation behind the data. iPhone also isn’t available on any prepaid plans or on very cheapest mobile networks.

        Horace’s notion that the value of Android isn’t in the ecosystem is fatally flawed. The data he presents, as noted in my previous comment, is either misleading, wrong or explained by other factors. Android owners use their smartphones as smartphones, downloading lots of apps, surfing the web, playing Angry Birds etc etc etc.

      • Anonymous

        I just meant it’s quoted the other way around from the the data Horace cited – which at least to me wasn’t immediately clear from the graph.

        It’s reasonable for us to try to build up a picture of how usage patterns of the devices differ between platforms – and unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot of data freely available.

        For example as of June Android Market had about 45 downloads per user, whereas App Store had about 75. But we don’t know how many of those Apps are still installed on the phone, never mind how many are actually getting used or for how many minutes per day.

        Does the data support Horace’s contention that Apple users are more engaged than Android? I’d say yes. Does it prove it? Certainly not – but then there just isn’t enough data outside the pay-walls to really prove anything.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        considering affluence in a vacuum?

        where’s the precious behavioral datamining?

      • John H. Frantz

        I think what Jan might be getting at is that we need to split smartphones into two categories, a high end and low end. The high end would include iPhones and some select Androids that are in the same price range as iPhones. The low end would be more or less feature phone replacements and would probably include the majority of Android phones sold in the world.

        The resulting data (if obtainable) might show the high end Androids to have similar usage patterns as iPhones and perhaps a similar market share.

        It’s like combining Toyota and Lexus together and comparing to Mercedes.

    • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

      I think there are fundamental differences between the two eco-systems and this really drives the disparities between the two systems.

      1) iTMS. This is a huge separator. Apple creates a relationship between phone owner and Apple with its iTunes account system. Purchase and billing are easy. Billing on Android is a hodgepodge of carrier billing, Google checkout, PayPal (??) and who know what. I have a friend that has never bought an Android app because it is carrier billing and the billing goes to his company and they have to do a reimbursement for app purchases.

      2) Media syncing. Apple has made getting paid media content on and off of devices smooth and easy with minimal friction. Google has made getting free media content on and off devices kinda easy (drag and drop is so 1990′s). Getting paid media on and off is a RPITA so most simply don’t.

      3) Google “Culture”. Google, as a company, has conditioned its entire product base to NOT pay for services or content. From books to AV media to music to news to photography to source code to email to calendar services, the Google model is to provide services and content “free”. In fact, they have no desire to support any model that encourages paid for content.

      These things add up to create a group mind think of people that when they are positioned to pay for a service (Airport WiFi, for example), they simply won’t. From basic users with low end phones to people using the Atrix, Android users are simply reluctant to actually pay for servies or content.

      • CP

        I agree.

        It’s a bit like going shopping at Bloomingdales, v.s. taking your chances at some flea market off the Interstate.

        There are plenty of people willing to accept the experience of one over the other, whether for personal preferences or economic reasons.

      • Anonymous

        Let’s go one step further. Let us presuppose that Android does indeed attract a higher proportion of tech-saavy people(I don’t quite buy this because of the numerous BOGO, outright free, get free phone with haircut deals), these people REALLY won’t pay even though they’ve got the cash.

        These guys take it as a challenge to figure out how to get around paying: torrents, for instance. I know a guy who roots to block ads. Rooting to steal stuff.

        This is why Linux could never make devs money. People don’t want to pay. If the hardest core supporters don’t want to pay, what chance the cheapos or money-challenged?

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        I root to block ads… but first to take BACK control of my hardware.

        But I have been blocking ads since the nefarious lot spewed ads on the interweb

        While rooted I have purchased applications. No application on my phone fetches interweb ads: I value my privacy.

        applications which render interweb ads are MALWARE

        again: I have purchased apps.

        Please do not conflate rooting with pirating.

      • Anonymous

        Does it block ads in apps? Then, you are bypassing the devs means of making a living.

        Regardless, I didn’t say they were equal. Two sentences. And people do root to steal stuff.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        why linux over windows?

        more dev money into hardware. no os/kernel licensing fees.

        I’m sure you know OSX runs atop linux.

      • Anonymous

        No – it runs over Mach. OS-X isn’t even a near cousin of Linux, OS-X is BSD derived and Linux is System V.

      • Anonymous

        iOS runs Mach, which is BSD. Not linux.

      • Michael Scrip

        Exactly.

        I know tons of people with Android phones these days…. yet none of them use their Android phone for music. They continue to use their old iPod Touch or Nano for music.

        However… my iPhone friends had their iTunes library copied onto their new iPhone from day one… and they now use their iPhone for music instead of their old iPod.

        People obviously know their Android phone can play music… they’ve seen the icon… but they don’t even wanna fool with it.

        People have a better understanding of the Apple music ecosystem… and Apple’s made a great pathway from iPod to iPhone.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        people who give money for mp3s are not the most well informed users

        You have no way to track those of us who use FLAC — other than us volunteering our preference for studio quality.

      • Michael Scrip

        Billions and billions of compressed songs have been sold on iTunes and Amazon… I think it’s safe to say it’s a hit.

        But that has nothing to do with my comment.

        My comment was more behavioral… stating what I noticed with the difference between my friends who don’t use their Android phones for music… but my iPhone friends do.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        google does not want money directly

        they want to behaviorally datamine and then profit

        once people realize how valuable privacy and THEIR [respective] information really is google’s house of cards will begin to tumble

        apple wants money directly

    • Anonymous

      He’s comparing iOS on phones and Android on phones. Breaking out high-end and low-end would be favorable to iOS, not Android, because iOS does not run on any low-end phones. The iPhone numbers would be the same, but over 90% of Android would disappear.

      I take issue with your assertion that there are simple Android phones. There are not. The only simple smartphone is iPhone. People are buying it specifically for that, because it asks no more from you technically than an iPod.

      • Anonymous

        If you say so. I would argue that it takes more sophistication to create the multitasking services than say, anything goes. Apple created a hardened app platform, while Android has one where anyone with basic skills can download an app, unzip it and add a trojan.

        Look at the tablet portions. iOS, in seven months unified iOS across iPod, iPhone and iPad. Android still has yet to accomplish this and they had the hindsight of following Apple. Apple created a mechanism to allow anyone to easy use vendor supported tools to upgrade the OS. Compare that with Android’s awful OS upgrade track record.

        We haven’t even gotten into the internals like iOS hardware superior hardware acceleration.

        It takes a rich strategy,both technical and business-wise to allow people like me, a professional developer and my 8 yr old to both enjoy the platform.

        Regardless, what difference low vs. high. Even low end phones users can afford 99 cent apps.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        trojan FUD

      • Anonymous

        Why are you here? If you do not wish to add to the discourse, can you not spend your time elsewhere?

        And read a bit? iOS is not linux.

  • http://twitter.com/rmerpes Rubén Merino

    just an idea:

    maybe the problem is that Android is not disrruptive but iOS is. Let’s keep in mind that Android’s leit motiv is just to preserve Google’s monopoly in the Ad bussiness. On the contrary iOS is a new product with all the attibutes of a disrruptive platform: new cost structure, new value network, new consumers (specially iPad), etc…

    Also, Android is a “fast-follower” in terms of innovation. Typically, disrruptors aren’t followers but pioneers…

    But, maybe I’m wrong :)

  • http://twitter.com/rmerpes Rubén Merino

    just an idea:

    maybe the problem is that Android is not disrruptive but iOS is. Let’s keep in mind that Android’s leit motiv is just to preserve Google’s monopoly in the Ad bussiness. On the contrary iOS is a new product with all the attibutes of a disrruptive platform: new cost structure, new value network, new consumers (specially iPad), etc…

    Also, Android is a “fast-follower” in terms of innovation. Typically, disrruptors aren’t followers but pioneers…

    But, maybe I’m wrong :)

  • http://twitter.com/rmerpes Rubén Merino

    just an idea:

    maybe the problem is that Android is not disrruptive but iOS is. Let’s keep in mind that Android’s leit motiv is just to preserve Google’s monopoly in the Ad bussiness. On the contrary iOS is a new product with all the attibutes of a disrruptive platform: new cost structure, new value network, new consumers (specially iPad), etc…

    Also, Android is a “fast-follower” in terms of innovation. Typically, disrruptors aren’t followers but pioneers…

    But, maybe I’m wrong :)

  • Anonymous

    I spent a large amount of money, in the days before “smart phones” on software for the Palm mobile devices, only to see it become worthless as the platform was abandoned. I would not want to invest again in a large quantity of software for a device whose future was uncertain.

    I suspect that most users who buy iPhones and also pay for software do so because they are confident that the iPhone will still be around and their software investment will still work in a few year’s time.

    The reluctance of Android owners to pay for software may be a reflection of their uncertainty of its longevity.

    • Anonymous

      That explains why paid apps are doing worse, but not why paid networking is.

      It’s possible that the higher 4G speeds available on Android make android users less inclined to pay for airport wifi however.

      I doubt that anybody seriously worries about Android’s longevity at this point. It has far too many users for it to die fast – however users may not feel like they want to commit to it if they are still aspiring to an iPhone. It’s notable that many ‘purchase intent’ surveys show higher Apple numbers than actually materialize in higher sales. It’s possible some consumers view Android as an interim solution.

      • Anonymous

        But the point of this data is (I think) that Android users aren’t economically tied to the system — if you’ve spent relatively little (or nothing) on apps for your phone/tablet, it costs you nothing but the price of a new phone or tablet (a price you are going to pay anyhow) to move to a completely new system.

        If, however, like many of us you’ve bought into the iOS system and spent a couple of hundred dollars on apps…well, that won’t STOP you from moving to new OS, but you’ll think twice. And you’ll wonder, Is it REALLY worth it to move somewhere else and re-buy everything?

      • Anonymous

        No, because this data is primarily about usage of data not about purchase of platform specific apps. My willingness to pay for in flight wifi or not has nothing to do with my commitment to my platform. So long as I don’t expect to switch phones before the flight is over at any rate.

        This data isn’t directly about platform stickiness, it’s about platform utilization – which is a completely different thing.

      • Kizedek

        Yes, it is primarily about utilization. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is actually possible to track utilization properly — if it were, I suspect the figures for iOS would be off the charts and there would no doubt whatsoever regarding the platform’s stickiness…

        This stat counting seems to be dealing with mobile safari, right? Horace, I think I have asked this on another article dealing with this issue: “browsing” means just browsing in the traditional sense, right? Looking at website pages in a web browser?

        But what about connected apps? That is still Internet use. I think more and more iOS users are spending more and more time in specialized apps than in mobile safari. About all I do on mobile safari these days is read this blog and a couple of others. Many blogs have their own app. Do apps with dict connection to to a site or Internet service get counted? Do apps with built-in browsers get counted as webkit, mobile safari, what? Or do all these get overlooked, because these stat counting surveys only look at certain sites, and a these don’t include many online services?

        I use Flipboard (built-in browser), Evernote, DropBox, 1password (built-in browser), Facebook App, Skype, Twitter clients, plus some real work apps…

        My iPad is always on and connected, because I work at home and have a fast internet connection. The iPad is actively used hours per day. Let’s say that at least 5 out of 6 of every hour I spend on my iPad is spent doing something that is actually making use of active connection to the Internet. Of those 5 hours doing something connected, let’s say at least 4 are not spent “browsing”. And that is being conservative. Then of course, there are the hours when My wife and kids get hold of the iPad, most of what they are doing is connected — all social, and most media and games have online component (check out the Smule apps, they are awesome).

        iOS and apps are certainly sticky — precisely because the utilization must be about 100 percent in just about every area that can be measured. …pull out your iPhone or iPad and it is effortless to be doing something useful, and surely 99% of that is Internet related.

      • Anonymous

        You’re missing the point that the GOGO and BOINGO data-sets cover both App data use and browser data use.

        No single data set is perfect, which is exactly why Horace is combining all 4 on the same graphic.

      • Kizedek

        Sure, and I did the the reference to in-app ad clicks in the article.

        I guess I was thinking about WaltFrench Question about why “browsing” per se is treated as a premium when it comes to thinking about “utilization” of a device.

        I was curious to know if there was any way to measure or estimate or account for what I think is higher value, more usefully productive, and more time-intensive utilization of a mobile device on the Internet: ie. Use of a set of paid or specialized apps, vs. “browsing” per se, or simply clicking on a couple of in-app ads.

        I might click on an in-app Ad (I don’t think I ever have). I don’t think I see many because my apps are paid or linked to a specialized service if free (such as Evernote). So ad stats only go so far: they tell you lots of apps are used to connect to the Internet besides mobile browsers.

        Yes, I may hit twenty major websites in Safari, triggering all kinds of stat counters, and even do a Google search or two… But does that show us that, actually, that was all done during five leisure minutes in Safari bouncing around the web when I was taking a break; and this was in the midst of spending an hour in Evernote or work-related app in which I did not this time click any in-app ads?

        And again, regarding “browsing”, does reading from 50 sites in Flipboard or other curated app get counted if I read only from the feeds and do not access the full story using the built-in web browser? Is the built-in web browser even counted (being Webkit, but not Mobile Safari)? As I noted, any serious “browsing” I would do, is going to be from an app like Flipboard, while I use Safari to visit very specific sites (like this one).

        I am contending that the high level of internet-related utilization of iOS that the stats hint at, may not even hint at the true levels of utilization. I too would question the stats… Because I think they understate the utilization of iOS, not because they are skewed toward iOS in some way that is unfair to Android.

      • Anonymous

        What you’re talking about would require a Nielsen ratings like scheme – it’s possible, and for all I know it’s happening, but the numbers will stay firmly behind pay-walls because it’s very expensive to produce – especially as there would be no way to automatically collect that kind of usage without rooting the phone.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PPWNIV6YYNNQU37HLFW76MQGLM J

      Interesting, and ironic!

      The fear of investing in what might become orphaned software, is the fear that Microsoft preyed upon to gain its software monopoly. That fear also kept Apple from ever climbing out of its niche in the desktop arena.

      The irony is that open software was invented for the express purpose of combating that fear. Theoretically, anyone with the source code and a license to the code can rescue free and open source software from abandonment.

      The biggest investment is typically the time and expense put into data creation and collection. Your CD collection is probably worth more than your stereo system. Is your vinyl collection worthless because you can no longer buy a stylus? Are your published works worthless because they are in Wordstar format? Only if you can no longer read them! What happens to your dental records if your Dentist’s software vendor goes kaput? Open Document Formats are supposed to be the answer to that.

      Are open source software and open document formats working in that regard? The biggest open source successes, projects like Apache and Mozilla, have little to do with data. MySQL and SQLlite were the biggest open software successes in that regard.

    • James

      I don’t know if “average” users think about things like that, but that was certainly something that I considered. Apple doesn’t put out a “roadmap,” but every new iPhone historically has supported at least one major iOS update, and always for free. Contrast that with Android phones, where you usually get (at best) a vague promise that you’ll be able to upgrade the OS “in the future.” If I’m going to be buying a phone, committing to a 2-year contract, and buying applications for it, I don’t want all support to be dropped when the next top-of-the-line phone comes out three months later.

    • Anonymous

      I think you are right, but the user is not thinking of Android. They are just thinking of whatever throwaway phone model they currently have. In other words, iPhone users expect to take their apps to their next iPhone, but Motorola users don’t even expect to buy a Motorola phone next time, let alone take apps to it from their current phone. They just bought the phone at Sprint that had the best combination of cheap and not too ugly. Next time: the same.

      You hit on a really important thing about platforms, though. The user has to be enticed to invest also, and the stability of the platform vendor is key. Apple is the original PC vendor and Microsoft is the inheritor of the IBM business computing monopoly. They are fixtures in computing that people can’t imagine will go away. Hard to invest in an HP TouchPad the same way, especially when you know HP is just Compaq.

  • Chris

    Android is picking up plenty of users of questionable value (at least as far as the platform is concerned) now that feature phones are fading away.

    In my opinion, the two groups to watch are: 1) rich-world students who have less spending power now but might well become loyal and valuable users later, and 2) developing countries which will likely opt for Android now, contribute little to the platform in the short term, but slowly develop local habits and services that will drive all future growth.

    • Anonymous

      I have a friend who travels to developing countries and he said he couldn’t believe the number of iPhones he saw. Many were second-hand, they had already lived one life in the developed world, then a new battery and a second life in the developing world. They are easy to refurbish, with many spare parts from many makers, and easy to update to the latest firmware and OS, and they have a PC class OS and PC class apps, unlike any other phone. When you have no PC, that is even more valuable.

  • Anonymous

    For whatever reason (can think of three) Google has not succeeded in building a marketplace which remotely approaches iTunes in reach and function. That is the reason that you see such a different profile in utilisation. The interesting question for your analysis may come with the AmazonAndroid tablet. That may be an effective media e-commerce proposition and then one ‘Android’ tablet may be more aligned with iOS utilisation pattern.

  • Micromeme

    this is a great set of figures and post. One question that comes to mind about ad impressions in apps would be just how well does millenial see into the iOS apps that run through apples iAd system? I don’t see how they can access the iAd impressions, so there may be a systematic error in that data set. Can you comment?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Ad impression data is extremely problematic. We have no idea for example whether Millenial Media has more coverage of one platform or another. AdMob used to publish their data but stopped in June 2010 after they were acquired by Google.

      As always, we are at the mercy of these crumbs of information.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Ad impression data is extremely problematic. We have no idea for example whether Millenial Media has more coverage of one platform or another. AdMob used to publish their data but stopped in June 2010 after they were acquired by Google.

      As always, we are at the mercy of these crumbs of information.

  • Anonymous

    Horace,

    it seems like you’re being a bit inconsistent with your data here. Your numbers for airport wifi are only iPhone, but your numbers for browser are iPhone+Touch+iPad.

    There are other web stats available that break the devices out, for example

    http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_browser-ww-monthly-201107-201109
    (they include iPad in desktop)

    I’m also a bit unsure on your number for Gogo. They report iOS as being 78%

    http://blog.gogoair.com/blog/2011/09/gogo-infographic-mobile-wi-fi-usage-air

    With 20% of that being iPod Touch based according to AllThingsD

    http://allthingsd.com/20110728/apple-rules-the-mobile-mile-high-club/

    But you seem to be showing something in the upper 60s.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I’m updating the data with the Statcounter points. The picture changes with browsing looking more like the story of ad impressions. I did not realize the iPad made that much impact in global mobile browsing.

      The Gogo number I have is from a July data point. http://allthingsd.com/20110728/apple-rules-the-mobile-mile-high-club/

      • Anonymous

        That link doesn’t give an iPhone number though, are you calculating iPhone as 100-20-12-6 = 62%? It looks like more on the graph.

        Also that’s assuming that there’s no ‘Other’ category. Assuming ‘Other’ is roughly the same between the two sets (3%) then I’d expect the number to come up at around the 58-60% mark.

        Anyway, I do appreciate the graphics, it’s nice to see the different usage numbers in a single place – and I appreciate how hard it is to get compatible data for these things.

  • http://www.facebook.com/f.stephen.ackroyd Stephen Ackroyd

    A couple of data points from an enterprise app we built, offered on IOS and Android, being rolled out to a salesforce in the southeast US:

    – 80% of the users are Android (Totally surprised us. Our guess is that sales-people skew towards Verizon, and Verizon did not have IOS until just recently.)

    – we have encountered many support issues on Android that reflect users not understanding how to use the standard buttons (menu, back). Remember, this is an enterprise app, meaning the company is telling the user they have to install the app. (Again, big surprise. Our guess is that many Android users only use the basic pre-installed apps, like email and maps, and have not really downloaded apps and learned to UI conventions on Android.)

    • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

      when verizon is done beta testing iOS expect those numbers to crank up

      as long as the court order to allow jail breaking persists

      (you are surprised by the resistance to learn by sales people? Talk to their hardware support people for other interesting stats)

  • Nate

    Is there data available for Facebook usage / installed base? I would expect significantly more parity between iOS and Android there.

    • Anonymous

      Do not expect that.

  • http://twitter.com/Niilolainen Niilo

    I got a sore neck turning my head sideways trying to decode this and then I still couldn’t understand it. Probably will ingest more caffeine and then print it.

  • poke

    This is a good line of evidence to follow. I’ve long thought that a strong distinction needs to be drawn between Android the system software and Android the ecosystem/brand. Android as system software need not be any more relevant to our discussion than, say, the Linux kernel or some other technical aspect that is meaningless to consumers. Android as an ecosystem and brand is the relevant part when assessing the state of the smartphone industry.

    The pertinent question is, What impact would it have on, say, Samsung to use a non-Android OS that supplied the same features as Android? The answer depends entirely on the quality the Android ecosystem and the value of the brand and not on the software itself. This question is especially relevant given that Android-class mobile operating systems can be easily produced by simply forking Android (as we’re seeing).

    • John

      I think you’re on the right track.

      There’s more to a computing platform than GUI widgets and APIs. In terms of the widgets and APIs, perhaps Android is equivalent to iOS (or we can assume so for the sake of argument). But those are just components of a product, and even smaller pieces of a platform. With respect to the product there is also the hardware. With respect to the platform there is the marketing, sales, support, and services.

      On the subject of hardware the iPhone has a substantial and growing lead over the median Android phone. Apple’s design skills have always been strong but now that is combining with massive scale advantages. A useful computing product requires both hardware and software.

      On the subject of marketing, sales, and support Apple has an even larger advantage over every Android maker, not just the median. Nobody else has the retail presence, highly professional support staff, and tremendously effective marketing that Apple has. These things matter because they help users understand what the product is and how to use it. Where’s the equivalent of a genius bar for Android users?

      Finally the subject of services. iTunes, App Store, and soon to be iCloud. We know the first two have been very successful, we’ll see what happens with the third.

    • Anonymous

      That is why there are 18 things called “Android.” (Platform, phone, OS, brand, open source project, Android-based platforms, etc.) Google can use whichever of those synonyms sounds best at any time. They learned this from Microsoft Windows.

  • Bradpdx

    Anecdotally, few of my Android using friends – including tech people – install more than one or two third party apps. They use Facebook, email and some web browsing, and that’s it. They also tend to maintain very static music libraries (load once and forget). In contrast, even among my non-techie iPhone-using friends app usage is high and the topic of “this or that” app is constant, and music content is ever-shifting with new material.

    This is of course entirely non-scientific and based upon a very small sample. I am nonetheless surprised to see how sharply delineated it appears to be.

    I agree with some posters here that the 2 likely major drivers of difference are:

    1. No real Android ecosystem is visible to most Android users – they bought a “Verizon” phone that says “HTC” on it, end of story for many.
    2. Those that are Android-aware are largely conditioned by Google experience and perhaps other biases to tilt towards free offerings.

    We live in interesting times!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see why general browsing is treated as a premium item; Horace, perhaps you could clarify. If indeed that’s NOT a cost issue, then many explanations can be hypothesized:
    1. android users are happy to use a desktop device and defer online usage to when one is handy, while iPhone users demand more immediacy while mobile.
    1.1. IPhone users get out more.
    2. When your informed experts say the platforms are equivalent, they are talking about their own experiences, not those of the average person who buys a phone. (I.e., they are *wrong.*)
    3. The stats are contaminated by confusion between high-usage iPads and low-usage phones. I now see an almost equal number of iPads as laptops on my frequent flights but essentially never anybody browsing on a phone.
    4. Androids are hired to do the same job as an iPhone only in the same way that a Chevy is hired to do the same job as a 5-series BMW.

    My acquaintances buy the two for VERY different reasons. The most recent iPhone purchaser I know was overwhelmed by the Apple Intro to iPhone seminar; she would not have figured out how to turn on an Android at this stage. My Android buying friends are either BOGO types who have very undefined needs for a smartphone or else “Live Free or Die” types for whom mobile usage is important mostly for feeling that they have yet another power tool on their belt, fully under *their* control.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      I’m fixing the contamination with better browser data which actually shows that browsing behaves more like ad impressions, namely they track possession.

      The data reduces to the question of why the disparity with Boingo and Gogo.

      • Anonymous

        Actually Horace, we’re now left with a single inconsistency in the data – which is that the for web and Gogo the iPad isn’t included included in the statistics, but for Boingo it’s still present in the denominator – ie. it’s being included in the same population that sums to 100% for Boingo, but not the other two figures.

        Correcting for that we’d have for Boingo: iPhone at 55% of handheld and Android at 14.8%. It brings Boingo significantly closer to Gogo for iPhone at least.

      • Anonymous

        Gosh, Horace, you make your reputation by analyzing data. And yet, when data is fuzzy…

        Along my previous post’s line, I think there are 4 smartphone customers, each with different needs. Yes, at a few hundred million new users per year, there can be differentiation of what people buy.

        1. The feature phone customer who might like, every now and then, to visit Facebook or do some other light net activity if it doesn’t cost too much. S/He’ll get a low-cost device and a low data-budget plan. The BOGO customer fits into this category. They probably don’t have a personal PC but are familiar from one at work.

        2. The tech maladept, who counts on somebody else smoothing out the details so he/she can make phone calls and occasionally do some nifty digital companion (app) thing. Somebody told these people about a neat X app and they think that on iPhone they can be more likely to make it happen. They might or might not even have a PC.

        3. The “my time on this planet is precious” type who wants a true smartphone that can deliver without lots of housekeeping. He or she — mostly, he — might have used a Mac/PC for years but thinks his time too valuable to worry about squeezing the last 1% of performance out of the device by spending lots of time housekeeping.

        4. The “Live Free or Die,” tech-savvy customer, almost exclusively male, who wants the freedom to do whatever he wants, even if it requires some serious learning curve and/or housekeeping. The sense of freedom might be paramount, or the power of having 2 friends linked to the hotspot, or the ability to download the latest movie to a mobile device might matter most. These users might be high-volume data users or perhaps they actually do most of their work from a desktop device. If the former, they might sit at a fine PC but one that’s behind a corporate firewall that discourages downloads.

        I’ll guess that users 2 and 3 are mostly iPhone users while 1 & 4 are mostly drawn to Android. Yes, these stereotypes are supported only most approximately by the flimsy demographic data I’ve seen on age and income of users of the two platforms, plus a smattering of my personal acquaintances. But it might actually paint a true picture.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        1: sheeple

        2: sheeple

        3: his personal assistant operates the phone

        4: straw man

      • Anonymous

        I make my living selling a very exacting, high-intellectual-content service. I am proudest when the people whom I think are the most thoughtful researchers by my stuff, even if I get a bit less due to the extended marketing expense, than those who simply follow somebody else’s advice and plunk down their cash.

        But there are six billion + people on this planet who want to talk or otherwise engage with far-away information, while they’re out and about. I can’t imagine what benefit one could get by characterizing our fellow citizens in such a negative light. And every one of the stereotypes I listed is exemplified by acquaintances and neighbors in the very diverse city I live in. They’re real (and none is actually so wealthy as to come anywhere close to the “personal assistant” BS you wrote).

        So, @d.e.a., what point are you making? Are there no gradations among phone users?

      • Anonymous

        I make my living selling a very exacting, high-intellectual-content service. I am proudest when the people whom I think are the most thoughtful researchers by my stuff, even if I get a bit less due to the extended marketing expense, than those who simply follow somebody else’s advice and plunk down their cash.

        But there are six billion + people on this planet who want to talk or otherwise engage with far-away information, while they’re out and about. I can’t imagine what benefit one could get by characterizing our fellow citizens in such a negative light. And every one of the stereotypes I listed is exemplified by acquaintances and neighbors in the very diverse city I live in. They’re real (and none is actually so wealthy as to come anywhere close to the “personal assistant” BS you wrote).

        So, @d.e.a., what point are you making? Are there no gradations among phone users?

    • Anonymous

      iPads are typically broken out separately in Web browser logs.

      “Android,” however, includes 7-inch devices, some actual tablets, and many platforms that are not Android, they are simply based on Android, like OMS and Tapas. So the idea that Android is not getting a fair shake here is ridiculous.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        those are not tablets

        a tablet is a flavor of notebook (laptop)

  • Rob Scott

    Great article and great comments, thanks.

    The usage patterns are not surprising and are kind of obvious. iOS by design is targeted towards the high end users, and Apple make sure through tight control of distribution that people who buy the iPhone are people who want to buy ONLY the iPhone, no substitute. So, the users are monied and two they understand the ecosystem. iOS is not a compromise, it is search for. There are waiting lists for the iPhone thorugh the year, cannot say the same for any other device.

    As Android spreads, carriers over commit resulting In overstocks carriers discount the shit out of Android resulting in voice users buying Android devices, diluting usage and everything related to that.

    Funny enough I was looking at these stats this afternoon. iPhone ARPU going up Android going down from peak as we have been distributing even more Android devices.

    As far as usage that result in revenues Android is worse that Blackberry OS! Android is the new Symbian, a smartphone OS with no smartphone returns.

  • http://quirksmode.org ppk

    I’m sorry, but I feel the browsing market share metric is flawed. NetMarketShare gives Safari 53%, but with tablets and mobile devices combined. I’m not sure if that should be compared to smartphone possession, which leaves the tablets out of the equation.

    The only source I know for pure mobile (i.e. non-tablet) browsing market share is StatCounter, which gives Safari iPhone 25.5% and Android 34% in June. (In addition, iPod Touch has 10.5% share.) http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_browser-US-monthly-201106-201106-bar

    This is more in line with the platforms’ smartphone possession share, although here iPhone users still surf more than Android users (which, according to all stats I saw, is actually the case.)

    • Anonymous

      Not buying it. The stats you are quoting are heavily nerd-weighted and favor Android too much.

      I read a lot of Web server logs. Consumer-facing servers, not nerd-facing. I never, ever see Android with more share than iOS. Android is always a fraction. Such a tiny fraction, it is remarkable. You notice it for how small it is, given the activation numbers and the foretelling of doom for all other platforms since 2008. Even when you break iPad out.

      And there are only about 40 million iPads. That is only a few weeks of Android activations. Given that Android sells in more than double the market of iOS, you would think Android could spot iOS like 40 million? But suddenly every user is precious when we look at usage? And if we were going to be fussy about excluding iPad from iOS, then we would have to exclude Android tablets and Tapas and OMS and other non-Android that gets lumped in with Android.

      Even nerd sites like TechCrunch have done articles showing how little Android is in their logs and asking where are they? 500,000 activations per day, yet no users on our Web servers.

      So I’m just not buying the idea that those users are really there and we are just missing them. I’ve yet to see any proof they are out there like a shadow iPhone community, just being somehow missed in EVERYBODY’s logs.

      • Anonymous

        It’s been explained again and again but one last time before I give up on you. Usage patterns are different.

        The majority of browsing on a mobile is done over your carrier’s network or over a paid wi-fi network. As such people use it for a quick data snack – grabbing a map or checking a flight time – then move on. iPads however are rapidly replacing laptops for sofa based surfing at home. So naturally we expect to see far higher usage per device. In fact the iPad is now close to hitting 1% of all desktop browsing globally, which is immense. MacOs itself is only 6.6%.

        This article isn’t about how Android is failing in the tablet space, that’s a different topic. Here Horace is trying to look more closely
        at how they’re doing in the smartphone space – and the iPad data indeed made it hopelessly confused – especially as he’d already broken it out for Bongo and it was never included in Gogo (who count iPads along with laptops). Which is why he changed it.

    • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

      And why separate iOS devices? iPads are mobile too, whether through universal Wi-Fi or 3G reception.

  • Secular Investor

    Great research and superb charts which show a very strong difference in usage between iPhone and Android smartphones.

    As to why the difference? I think it is explained by the difference in owner profiles.

    Amongst other things iPhone owners are a lot more affluent, better educated, better travelled, more willing to spend, more likely to be more mature, to be women, to be city dwellers, to be first adopters and to have been using the internet a lot longer than Android owners.

    http://blog.hunch.com/?p=51781

    In short iPhone customers make a far more valuable ecosystem with their much greater spending power who are lot more valuable to Apple (willing to pay for a premium brand and buy media from iTunes), to developers (willing to buy more Apps), to carriers (willing to spend to use their services more) and to advertisers trying to sell goods and services.

    • Westechm

      The beginnings of class warfare? (Just kidding)

    • Anonymous

      I disagree about iPhone users being more likely to be first adopters and more technical (I think that’s underlying the “been using the internet for longer” statement ?). My non-tech friends/family, especially the fashion-conscious ones, all want iPhones. My techie, first-adopter friends are way more split between iPhone and Android.
      For the masses, iPhone and smartphone are synonymous. I delight in answering all the “Oh, you’ve got an iPhone” enquiries with a half-joking “no, I’ve got better”. The only ones who directly ask what smartphone I have are the more technically aware.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        I think iPhone users are much more inclined to be early adopters. Simply look at the uptake curves for the first year of iPhone users compared to the first year of Android users. You do not have to be “technical” to be able to recognize the genius behind a product and see its potential.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        now compare

        * marketing budget

        * brand recognition

    • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

      I invested in android as a phone and replacement for non-networked car map: waze, google maps, mapquest

      I bought a motorola because I care about audio fidelity, signal integrity, and quality product.

      iphone/windows was not a top choice because I am not a fan of being treated like a criminal by the OS/kernel.

      rooting that voids the warranty was not an issue because if there is a hardware failure I’ll simply buy something else and my carrier offers “support” but it’s entirely FECKLESS: unlike them I am network savvy

      I have purchased software, but never via a google payment system.

      My phone is a tool not a toy

      I would buy an iPhone if a quality option were available to all wireless carriers

      The advent of Win7 converted all my personal workstations to linux.

      That iphone users buy more apps reveals: they buy more apps. Your other ‘conclusions’ are delightfully entertaining at best. I belong to many of your categories.

      Many other peoples purchase decisions turn on my opinions.

  • Anonymous

    I would also wonder if iPhone users choose iPhone specifically for data access, certainly not for the voice, but that some Android users have the phone as a feature phone replacement and use it as such thus driving down overall utilization rates. It’s not that Android users in general use less, but that their ownership pool is more diluted with feature phone replacements.

    • 1nemo Acc2

      Absolutely. I suppose many people are like me. I needed a cheap voice plan for my kids and got free Android phones thrown in. Thats what I use too, An Android phone without a data plan. But I never travel without my iPad.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        teach youth the value of money by starting them on prepaid phone plans.

        the phones are cheap or inexpensive refurbs

        pay for SMS? please stop. Insist on jabber use instead.

    • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

      I invested in android as a phone and replacement for non-networked car map: waze, google maps, mapquest

      I bought a motorola because I care about audio fidelity, signal integrity, and quality product.

      iphone/windows was not a top choice because I am not a fan of being treated like a criminal by the OS/kernel.

      rooting that voids the warranty was not an issue because if there is a hardware failure I’ll simply buy something else and my carrier offers “support” but it’s entirely FECKLESS: unlike them I am network savvy

      I have purchased software, but never via a google payment system.

      My phone is a tool not a toy

      I would buy an iPhone if a quality option were available to all wireless carriers

      The advent of Win7 converted all my personal workstations to linux.

      Many other peoples purchase decisions turn on my opinions.

  • Hossein

    Putting all the questions regarding the validity of methodology and data aside, the high level conclusion does not make sense (and I have more trust in common sense than analysis based on third-party data) The line that you are trying to draw in many posts, including this one, is that “Android is less of an ecosystem compared to the iOS.” If so, why is it inflicting so much damage on both Nokia and RIM? (here I am assuming you agree with me that the iPhone did not damage RIM and Nokia as much as Android, according to many analysts). If so, why is it gaining market share at this pace?

    Even assuming that your conclusion is true, then what? Does it mean at the end Android market share will evaporate? Does it mean the iOS will ever get to market share points more than 50% globally? Or does it mean Google (or other Android partners) will not make as much money as Apple with their mobile efforts?

    One comment about the methodology: Many of the random variables that you are looking at follow highly skewed distributions (to my experience dealing with accurate traces automatically collected on smartphones most of the distributions are either exponential or power law). The mean is worst representation of such data.

    • Anonymous

      People don’t pick a new phone on a new platform based on a rational evaluation of the strengths of the alternatives, well most people don’t. But they do consider at least sub-consciously the strength of the platform that they’re on when they are contemplating switching off it.

      So even if iOS was the platonic ideal of phone platforms, Android could still gain more share in the short term due to more Carrier push, or lower pricing, or bigger screens with oversaturated colours that appeal to people’s lizard brain, or lack of supply of iPhones, or dozens of other reasons.

      Platform strength should be something that we see play out over the longer term.

      • Hossein

        Eduardo, have you ever developed a mobile application on either platform?

      • Anonymous

        Hossein, is that relevant to any of the points I made? If you have valid arguments against my points then make them.

      • Hossein

        Sorry, I asked this to see whether you are a developer or not. When I put on my developer hat, iOS is clearly inferior to Android in terms of software engineering technology. So if you ask me at that moment, I would consider Android a more “powerful” platform for mobile application development.

        But that is only one side of the story. The other side is whether consumers have lizard brains. I don’t think so. As Steve Jobs said, consumers are voting with their pockets and their decisions are rational for a good reason.

        The amount of money consumers are supposedly (based on this post) spending using their smartphone is yet another side of the story. I think you guys are blowing this aspect out of proportion.

      • Anonymous

        There’s absolutely no evidence that higher level development platforms win out – if that was true we’d all have been using LISP since the 50s. Boy would I have loved to have grown up in that alternative universe – missing out on FORTRAN 77 alone would have made it worthwhile.

        Android isn’t more powerful, though it is higher level. Garbage Collection comes with significant performance downsides which is why it took so many years to go mainstream.

        Android’s window layout system allows for handling disparate screen geometries better, but with lower performance. Their GPU integration is famously poor, and not easily fixed.

        If you’re a java guy I can understand your view – but I don’t share it.

        As for the other stuff, you are misconstruing what Steve Jobs said. He wasn’t saying that consumers aren’t affected by non-rational factors – he just said that you can’t fool them. Consumers are obviously affected by aesthetics, and for some bigger screens and richer colours mean more beautiful – so they’ll be drawn to SAMOLED devices. For me it’s the solidity of the iP4 and the huge PPI producing those incredible greys with no hint of colour tinging. Nothing wrong with listening to that ole lizard brain.

        Long term platforms depend on a virtuous circle of consumers buying in, spending on services, which encourage more investment, improving the platform and services, pulling in more customers.

        Android seems to be doing much better on the buy-ing in part, than on the spending on services part – and it’s well worth trying to quantify the problem.

      • Hossein

        Add these to the list of things iOS is missing (in the SDK, not that the OS is not capable of doing them)
        - Clean and complete multi-tasking
        - IPC mechanisms

        And the fixed screen size is a biggie. It means for the time being Apple is stuck with the current pixel aspect ratio.

        Your comment about GPU performance is true, but one of the first lessons in any CS course on operating systems is that technology will take care of many things. So if performance is “good enough” do not sacrifice portability for it. The current sales volumes of Android indicate that at least today, the performance is perceived good enough by consumers. The trends in CPU, GPU, and memory technologies are only going to make it better.

        I don’t really have much feeling for any language or syntax (in fact both Objectiv-C and Java follow the C syntax). But writing elegant code (not elegant UI) is much easier on Android.

        Also related to the topic of platforms from the perspective of developers I refer everyone to Paul Graham essay on “Apple’s Mistake.”

      • Anonymous

        Hossein, as a long-ago developer and lurker, I agree about the power of both IPC and full multi-tasking.

        What I note is the tremendous downside potential of power management in the hands of people who can’t, or don’t want to, focus on monitoring task managers so that their phone is still available 16 hours after they left home.

        Every benefit has a price, and sometimes featuritis runs away with a product. That’s been a constant complaint of many (obviously, not all) Windows users: so many useless options that they feel utterly dis-empowered.

        “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
        Antoine de Saint-Exupery

      • Anonymous

        Multitasking & IPC: Again this is about power for developers versus freedom for consumers. Both of those technologies do allow developers to do more things, but they potentially impact consumers in negative ways. There are very few good reasons for full multi-tasing on a handheld and it opens up a HUGE can of worms for malware. For example it’s technically possible for an Android app to run in the background and analyze the accelerometer data – from which you can reconstruct virtual keypresses.

        http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/20716/android-keylogger-app-powered-by-accelerometergyroscope-movements-revealed/

        Aspect Ratio: Yes, absolutely – this is a limitation of iOS -but one that exactly fits Apple’s approach of a small number of high selling SKU. It’s not a concern for the developer, and for as long as consumers keep buying the hardware it’s not a concern for the platform.

        GPU performance: It isn’t good enough yet. It may be in a generation or two, but as yet no. It’s commonly reported that Android has occasional stutters when manipulating UI elements in ways that on iPhone would be seamless. Heck even on the iPhone I can see very occasional stutters, and with touch interfaces even a slight stutter is notable, losing that seemingly magic connection between hand and image.

        There’s no real reason why code on iOS should be less elegant. If you’re totally allergic to reference counting as of iOS 5 you’ll be able to use ARC. The only place where the code will get inelegant is where you’re directly setting up a UI design and have to fill code with absolute pixel offsets.

        As for the Paul Graham article I’ll happily discuss with you why I think it’s completely wrongheaded, but it it’s totally tangential to this discussion so we should probably discuss it elsewhere somehow. At any rate it was written in November 09 – at this point that’s ancient history.

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        overkill much?

        I don’t want a space heater for my hand

      • Hossein

        I still think Apple is making the same mistake it made with personal computers vs Microsoft. More and more it is closing itself to the gravity force that advancements in technology will bring. I agree with you guys that time will decide. Are you willing to bet/predict that Apple’s market share in smartphones would ever reach 40% in whatever time frame?

      • Anonymous

        Hmm speaking just about the US – quite possibly – but I don’t think it would matter either way. RIM was once up at 40% of the US smartphone share and look what happened there!

        As for ‘the gravity force of advancement in technology’, I wasn’t really joking when I quipped about LISP. If you never learnt LISP, you should – as it will do two things. First off it will make you a better developer, but second you will understand how unbelievably advanced it was for the 50s. Technological superiority isn’t destiny.

        Don’t believe me about how great LISP is? Read your pal Paul Graham on the subject

        http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html

      • Hossein

        I never claimed Lisp cannot be used as the standard programming language of a mobile platform. All it takes is a good implementation (like what Google did for Java).

      • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

        Would that universe have phones that ran on punch cards, too?

        With people milling about like the homeless behind shopping carts (portability)

      • Anonymous

        No – they’d run using modified LISP machine chips. The default editor on them would be emacs. It would be pure heaven.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a developer. I have over 16yrs of experience with Java, C/C++ and C# and a vareity of OSes, RDBMS and frameworks.

        I am currently looking at iOS and to a lesser degree Android.

        Clearly inferior is a strong statement and based on what I’m seeing, I don’t agree.

        Please elaborate.

    • Anonymous

      I think the author is just trying to make the point that Android users go online less.
      Even though I have caveats with the methodology, I do think it makes kinda sense, especially because people who can afford iPhones most probably can also afford big data plans. Most of my friends on Android are not ready to pay as much for hardware, data plans, nor apps/content/media by the way. They also tend to be more technical, and will be more likely to take steps to limit data usage. I know I’d rather spend 30 mins a week to preload content on my HTC, and walk 2 minutes to a wifi hotspot if I need data right now, than pay $360/yr for data.
      That does not mean that one platform is better or worse than another, just that they work better for different users.

    • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

      You have a serious error in your thought process:
      “(here I am assuming you agree with me that the iPhone did not damage RIM and Nokia as much as Android, according to many analysts). If so, why is it gaining market share at this pace? “

      Actually, Android has been little more than a sustaining technology and not a disruptive technology. Samsung, for example, has not significantly increased their share of the phone market.

      What has hurt Nokia (and soon RIM) is not a loss of market share but a loss of profit. If you look at where that profit has gone, it has not shifted significantly to any Android handset maker. The profit shift has gone from Nokia to Apple. Apple is the new comer in the field (HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia were all incumbents).

      So the iPhone has devastated Nokia while Android has simply maintained the status quo with the power in the same places. Carriers.

      • Hossein

        I point you to this post by the man himself:

        “The other interpretation I would make is that within the two year time frame Nokia’s share has been completely absorbed by Android, not Apple. Whereas most commentary shows Nokia suffering at the mercy of Apple, it’s Android that took share in Europe.”

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        Both statements are correct: Android took unit share from Nokia but caused no profit for its licensees. Nokia’s profit went to Apple who took minimal share. But how, you may ask, could Apple get Nokia’s profit without taking its volumes? The answer is that there is no law of conservation of profit. Profit share means simple share of all profits made and Nokia’s simply evaporated while Apple created new value.

  • Anonymous

    Is it clear what impact the existence of more native apps for iOS has on the browser stats? If I access Amazon through the web, it gets counted. If I access through the native Amazon iPhone app, does it get counted?

  • Anonymous

    More evidence that Android devices aren’t as fully-utilized at iOS devices, this time from Google themselves: http://9to5mac.com/2011/09/21/google-23rds-of-our-mobile-search-comes-from-apples-ios/

    • http://gravitationalpull.net/wp/ ampressman

      Again, this data conflates all iOS devices which tells you nothing about how Android phones are used versus iPhones.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        But given Android has 30% of the tablet market (shipment VS sales right?) and also has PMP players available like the ecosystem for iOS includes iPod Touches, iPads and iPhones.

        The question is, does Google lump the iPad in to desktops like stat counter or mobile like netmarketshare?

        Either way, given the installed base of Symbian, Android, BBOS and iOS, iOS having 2/3 of mobile addis impressive and points to greater overall utilization than other OSes.

      • http://gravitationalpull.net/wp/ ampressman

        Horace is trying to argue that iPhone users are more active in using their smartphones by comparing activity levels relative to Android smartphone users. It’s a relative comparison. The only way he can say iPhone users are more active is because he has the Android point of comparison. But it’s totally flawed, as is the above cite, because the iOS side includes non-smartphone activity.

        If I said more people watch NBC shows on the Internet than watch CBS shows on the Internet but the NBC data included people who watched on cable, not the Internet, it wouldn’t be a valid argument.

      • http://www.noisetech-software.com/Home.html Steven Noyes

        And the Android data points also includes non-smartphone use.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        The data does not include iOS non-smartphone activity. See comment above.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        This data does not conflate all iOS devices. The Boingo data is from the data in the chart in the following post (pie charts at the bottom):

        http://allthingsd.com/20110920/led-by-apples-iphone-and-ipad-mobile-devices-now-dominate-airport-wi-fi/

        Note that the iPhone is separated from iOS in general.

        The Gogo data for the same time frame is cited here:
        http://allthingsd.com/20110728/apple-rules-the-mobile-mile-high-club/

        “Gogo tells AllThingsD that iPhones make up nearly two-thirds of the mobile devices using its inflight Wi-Fi service.”

        The StatCounter data is specific to iPhone and Android as of June 2011. It excludes any other iOS devices.

      • Anonymous

        It is true that the OS used for Google search does not help us evaluate Android phones vs iPhones, but I still find this information fascinating.

        Google states that 2/3 of all searches on mobile devices use iOS. This is huge. It means the other 1/3 is made up of Android, Blackberry, Symbian, etc…

        Because Google makes its money from search ads, this means iOS is *much* more valuable to them than Android. I find myself wondering why Google keeps pouring money into Android, when iOS seems much more beneficial to their business.

        With the pending law suits with Apple and Oracle, it almost seems like Android is fast becoming a money pit for Google.

      • http://dleppik.wordpress.com/ David Leppik

        Simple. Imagine what would happen if Apple were to reduce that traffic, e.g. by switching the default search page to Bing. Now imagine the effect on Google’s revenues if 90%+ of smartphones used Bing. Google can’t afford to have any handset maker be dominant, unless it’s them.

        Apple was in a similar position years ago when PCs were mainly a platform for running Microsoft Office. They came within months of going bankrupt.

      • Anonymous

        Thing is, IE is still the dominant browser on windows, and it ships with Bing as default search – but the first thing that 90% of people do when they get a new PC is change that to Google.
        Moreover, Apple has no interest in foisting a substandard search on its users and even less interest in setting up a search engine of its own.

        What Google really wants from Android is access to more personal information. By tracking location Google can serve up more relevant ads, by integrating a wallet it can better track your purchases. In an extreme case by tracking the accelerometer they can detect lazy people and send them weight loss ads! These are all things that they can’t do on iOS or WP7.

  • Pete

    Does anyone know how easy it is to join an in-flight or airport wifi network on Android devices?

    • Hossein

      I have used high-end HTC and Samsung Android phones. On these phones, it is very simple. The system will remember your choices and will automatically associate with the AP next time you are within range. If multiple APs are accessible the one with highest signal strength is used.

      I agree that this might not work as well on lower-end Android phones, because some manufacturers save money on the WiFi chip and there are really crappy WiFi chips out there.

  • chefren

    Interesting but I presume this is a little bit apples-oranges.

    More or less high-end and high-cost iOS devices are compared to a mix of few high and a lot of low cost Android devices. A comparison between iPhone-4 and Samsung Galaxy S(2) and HTC equivalent would be more to the point…

  • Anonymous

    Two things.
    Boingo’s latest report puts iOS usage in airports at 83%.
    Have the later builds of Android solved the wifi logging in problems? Wherever I go, my iPhone or iPad instantly remembers if I have connected via wifi on that site with connection one touch away – my brother’s Android sets not at all; he is always having to go through the whole process repeatedly…and usually gives up. In other words, it’s an OS usability problem that profoundly restricts Android in certain situations.
    Anecdotally, whilst flying, the iOS v Android ratio is frighteningly heavy on Apple’s side.

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  • Anonymous

    The one problem with this study is that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison (no pun intended).

    Apple has worked very hard to create an ecosystem on their phone where apps are vetted and checked by their staff to ensure they comply with their standards. This includes the mechanisms accepted for in-app purchases, i.e. only your iTunes account.

    Google meanwhile does not have the same oversight on the Android market. Furthermore, the same tools do not exist which create a single, familiar standard to make purchases. Instead users are presented with options that not only differ across apps though across each Android device available to the public (in fact there are multiple app markets an Android user can choose from that bill everything from their CC directly to PayPal to their cell phone bill to Amazon). If you want to make a generalization about an average Android user or if a cheaper handset actually makes a difference I think you need to look at user data from within different Android handsets.

    • Hossein

      I cannot agree more with this comment.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5BHLNE6HC75ETNMNDKEEKLMF3M Steve Pederson

    When Bill Gates left MS, he put a sales guy in charge.
    When Steve Jobs left Apple, he put a manufacturing guy in charge.

    I think next month is going to be interesting.

    (apologies that this is only tangentially related to the post.)

    • Anonymous

      I think of Tim Cook more as an execution guy.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lig-Riv/100000846401146 Lig Riv

    So Horace, I guess this time you weren’t reluctant to update your charts with new data (despite the fact that new data supports your theory, and that typically makes you extra reluctant). I’m shocked :)

  • http://twitter.com/MikeWilkie Mike Wilkie

    I’d like to consider myself a fairly objective user, using any of several platforms all the time for all sorts of things – Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. In my opinion, people making the case that Android offers a similar experience to iOS are dead wrong. They focus on big things like: App Store: check. Browser: Check. Mail Client: Check. “It’s the same as iOS”, they say. However, those things are a given – baseline qualifiers for anything that could be considered a smartphone. It’s the very subtle differences that give iOS users superior experience – the feel of the gestures, easy updates, apps that don’t contain malware, the automatic container “snapping” in Safari, and on and on.

    Frankly, and I may well get flamed for this, I have yet to meet a Fandroid whom I would consider to be aesthetically literate enough to understand that those features are more important to most users than a hackable UI or an “open” platform. I doubt the bulk of Android users give a crap about its “openness”.

    The openness thing is pretty much a sham anyway, given that this “open” platform makes common and important tasks such as a simple OS update downright impossible for most users. Also, iOS happens to be built on top of Darwin, a 100% open source BSD Unix distro. Android? It’s at best a Java rip-off and at worse, riddled with more patent violations than any OS in history. It’s really easy to open source other people’s work. And that’s all before you consider that most popular Android phones ship loaded with loads of proprietary carrier crap on them and the parts that make Android good, like the gmail client aren’t even open in the first place.

    In fact, neither platform is open, and openness doesn’t matter to most users anyway. In fact, most users would prefer security, usability, and a guarantee that they’ll be entitled to easy-to-install OS updates as long as their hardware is reasonably modern. Most users probably don’t know what openness even is other than some abstract geeky concept that means something only to PhDs with neck beards. In a practical sense, the only thing openness really means for Android users is that there is zero quality-control over the apps. It’s no wonder nobody’s buying them – I wouldn’t install anything either if I didn’t know whether this app was actually Angry Birds or some Angry Birds clone made by the Russian mafia.

    So who are these Android users? I suspect the number of “openness” geeks using Android is quite small, and most of those are probably knee-jerk Apple-hating zealots. Most Android users are probably just people who want a new phone with a big screen that they don’t have to switch carriers to buy, and preferably one they can get free with a contract renewal. These are dumbphone users who think touch screens are cool. And Android isn’t doing a good job of turning them into smartphone users.

    • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

      “convincing people what they should be doing with their phones”

      convincing … coercing

      potato … pahtatoh

    • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

      “convincing people what they should be doing with their phones”

      convincing … coercing

      potato … pahtatoh

    • Hossein

      Wow! This was one of the most objective side-by-side comparisons of two mobile platforms I had every encountered. I wish you had a blog I could follow!

  • http://deviceconvergence.wordpress.com Nalini Kumar Muppala

    Horace, perhaps a small edit to the third paragraph would reduce the confusion around the devices the data represents:
    from:
    … utilization … and possession … of iOS and Android.
    to :
    … utilization … and possession … of iOS phones and Android phones.

  • http://deviceconvergence.wordpress.com Nalini Kumar Muppala

    on what might be behind the difference in utilization:

    - The much lower ASP of an Android phone means a section of the demographic is unique to Android. Usage pattern of this section might be more towards voice services, and data services limited to when it is free or included in the bundle.
    - Network effect. amplified by the apps unique to iOS.
    - iOS users’ more willingness to pay in general. This is due to a section of iOS users who stayed with Apple after the iPod experience and paying for music on iTunes.

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  • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

    tracking by ad impressions?

    Thank you for helping encourage more users to employ adblocking!

    blocking adblocking? oh, sweetie, that’s a game you CANNOT win

    • Anonymous

      I like to click on the ads of the sites that I enjoy in hopes that the sites will remain free and my clicks will finance the writers. It’s a small price to pay for free content that I enjoy. I do use ClickToFlash to control Flash content. I’ve found interesting material via ads (a great bag from Rickshaw bags), books,and music.

  • http://destroy-evil-apps.myopenid.com/ destroy evil apps

    linux users are NOT drm fanbois as you lot likely are

    BSD, GPL, other OSS oh my

    the linux minded are not sheeple

    they buy hardware and when meritted buy software — otherwise they create their own

    ads? NOT acceptable on my hardware using my resources. You may NOT invade or pillage my privacy.

    I am not alone in this mindset

  • http://twitter.com/MarketingXD MarketingXD

    The figures for airport and in-flight Wifi probably over-estimate iOS. I think the true situation is that laptop use is ahead of mobile, with Android and iOS fairly close.

    The measurement error occurs because email is a major use-case when travelling. Everyone needs to keep in touch. iOS email displays images by default, unlike e.g. GMail on Android or Outlook on mobiles, so iOS creates many times as many connections in order to read these images from the Internet. These extra connections boost the apparent use of iOS devices, and also mobile as a whole.

    The effect has distorted previous surveys about email, which also use downloaded images to measure opens.

    I have asked boingo about their methodology. Basically if they are measuring unique connections ( #devices) there’s no problem, but if they are using total connections, as I suspect, then iOS will be significantly over-reported.

    http://blog.marketingxd.com/post/10551622231/have-mobile-devices-overtaken-laptops-at-airports

    • jawbroken

      Did you even read the page you were responding to before posting an article questioning it? It unequivocally says:

      “In June, 58.9% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices that loaded our walled garden page (where we ask if you want to log in or buy access) were not laptops. And 83% of those devices were running iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).”

      So it is clear that it is not related to “connections” from email images.

    • jawbroken

      Did you even read the page you were responding to before posting an article questioning it? It unequivocally says:

      “In June, 58.9% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices that loaded our walled garden page (where we ask if you want to log in or buy access) were not laptops. And 83% of those devices were running iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).”

      So it is clear that it is not related to “connections” from email images.

      • Seumas Hyslop

        This can be explained merely by people that use iOS tend to browse at airports using an iPad, whereas people on Android still tend to use a laptop. It could just mean that people pick the appropriate device for browsing in an airport, which if you’re in the iOS camp, you pick up the iPad, and if you’re in the Android camp, you open your laptop. Horace isn’t able to distinguish between tablet/laptop and phone use on these numbers.

        Could it be that people find paying for services on a tablet/laptop more worthwhile rather than a phone, and if you treated paying for connectivity services inflight or at airports on an iPad (which gets included in the iOS figures) vs paying for connectivity services inflight or at airports on a Laptop (which doesn’t get included in either iOS or Android figures), you could potentially reach a different conclusion? Certainly, the fact that browsing utilisation seems much more in line with each other suggests that this might be the case.

        Horace, are you able to comment on this?

      • Anonymous

        You are factually incorrect. Both the airport and the in-flight numbers have iPads broken out separately. If you bothered to read the comments you could see that. Here is the original data where in both cases it is made clear.

        Boingo: http://allthingsd.com/20110920/led-by-apples-iphone-and-ipad-mobile-devices-now-dominate-airport-wi-fi/

        If horace was including iPad+iPod he’d be showing over 80%.

        Gogo: http://allthingsd.com/20110728/apple-rules-the-mobile-mile-high-club/

        Tablets like the iPad were not included in these mobile numbers as such devices are counted with computers (and also pay the higher PC rates).
        But the iPad is a popular frequent flier as well, accounting for more than a third of large screens using Gogo in June. All versions of Windows totalled 41 percent with Mac OS machines making up just under 20 percent.

      • deV

        None of which takes into account that if you still have an unlimited 4G LTE plan with a 4G phone (which absolutely 0 iPhone, iPad, and iPod owners of any sort have, yet many Android phones, including Verizon’s “Droid” trademark have), you have no reason at all to connect to airport WiFi. Airport WiFi is a useless hassle when you have speeds in the double-digits of Mbps throughout major cities (you know, where all the airports are).

      • Anonymous

        Sure, but what percentage of Android users have LTE? even including the dodgy ‘LTE’ branded services that aren’t actually LTE? What percentage of airports in the US have reliable LTE cover? Finally how does that explain the difference on in-flight data? Are you saying those android users are using LTE while airborne? The FAA would not be amused.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        iPad data is broken out by Boingo. See EduardoPellegrino’s comment.

    • jawbroken

      Did you even read the page you were responding to before posting an article questioning it? It unequivocally says:

      “In June, 58.9% of all Wi-Fi enabled devices that loaded our walled garden page (where we ask if you want to log in or buy access) were not laptops. And 83% of those devices were running iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch).”

      So it is clear that it is not related to “connections” from email images.

  • deV

    So much analyzing to create data that fits your own viewpoint, with a chorus of enablers in your comments section. Yet you tend to explain away your inaccuracies and assumptions as if charts are better than real data. Can’t find too many scientists, mathematicians, or heck, business analysts who would agree with that, sorry to say.

    Ok, so big picture: Android phones hold almost 50% of the smartphone market, can’t stress that enough, really. Here’s some actual tabular data, you know from those kind of people I was just referring to…Gartner: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1764714

    Q2 2010-Q2 2011 Smartphone OS Marketshare
    Android 18% -> 43% (gained 25%)
    Symbian 40% -> 22% (lost 18%)
    iOS 14% -> 18% (gained 4%)
    Windows (M+P) 5% -> 1.6% (lost 3+%)

    Looks like the marketshare transfer could be interpreted as Symbian -> Android and then-some. It’s interesting that you never seem to bring this part of the equation up in any of the several blog posts I perused. Or that Google invests in the OS and profits from both search traffic and AdMobs advertising. It’s a part of the economic ecosystem on Android that doesn’t exist in iOS. And it’s missing from your data. I’m not sure you could come up with a satisfactory interpretation of that data anyway. You also don’t seem to have accounted accurately for Samsung’s boost to profits from having everything from screen to memory chips to processor to Super AMOLED Plus screens done in-house. They’re practically their own supply chain.

    It’s a good rule of thumb in my experience to always assume Google is smarter than you are. I’m only half joking. But when you are as big as they are, and you’re forward-thinking enough to realize that people are shifting from desktops -> laptops -> smartphones and tablets for some even primary uses, and you want your search engine prominently placed as those people’s lives change and they adapt to an always-connected mobile lifestyle, just like the Japanese culture have already done, you can afford to throw a whole bunch of money at things that don’t appear to be profitable in the short term.

    The *market share* is the long-term figure in this case, *not* profit share. If the majority of the people use Android phones as they already do, it will squeeze Apple eventually. Especially considering it means lost iPod (yes the outmoded music device) profits go to someone else. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ipod_sales_per_quarter.svg) And if people get used to the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich merged tablet/smartphone OS, they’ll feel pretty comfortable using it on their tablet as well. It will be like the Windows vs Mac in the 90s all over again. You’d think Apple would learn..

    Open source my a*s..Did you hear Samsung released the kernel source for the AT&T Galaxy S II already, 2 weeks before they even shipped the phone. Oh yeah, and they sent free phones to various coders working on CyanogenMod to encourage them to make their open-source ROM compatible with their phone. Oh yeah, and xda-developers has like 4 million members now, about 15,000 of which were on last night. I think you all underestimate this generation’s willingness to get their hands dirty.

    Anyway, I just was looking for some information on Galaxy S II that’s about to come out on Oct. 2. It benchmarks at almost double most of the other high-end Android smartphones and don’t even get me started on the competition’s *very old* products when that’s not fair with the iPhone 4s and whatever else coming out shortly after. We’ll see, but as far as I can tell from the leaks, it’s only 3.5″, which is pretty pathetic compared to the S II at 4.3″ and 4.5″, frankly. They better have an iPhone 5 at the same time, but sounds like there will be a delay. Meanwhile Samsung is about to start releasing 720p HD SAMOLED screens for smartphones. Better sue them, quick!

    • http://www.facebook.com/james.scariati James Scariati

      “The *market share* is the long-term figure in this case, *not* profit share. If the majority of the people use Android phones as they already do, it will squeeze Apple eventually.”

      “Especially considering it means lost iPod (yes the outmoded music device) profits go to someone else.”

      Most evidence I’ve seen shows that the iPod is being replaced by…the iPhone. And since ASPs are higher with the iPhone, the lost revenue from declining iPod sales is more than made up for by increasing iPhone sales.

      “And if people get used to the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich merged tablet/smartphone OS, they’ll feel pretty comfortable using it on their tablet as well. It will be like the Windows vs Mac in the 90s all over again. You’d think Apple would learn..”

      Learn what? That they should have pursued market share over profit share and become another cookie-cutter Wintel PC maker struggling to make a profit off of razor-thin margins? Look at HP – they have the highest market share out of all PC makers, and they’re getting out of the business entirely because they can’t make enough money from it. Meanwhile, Apple is now the most valuable company in the world…

      • deV

        “Squeeze Apple how? I don’t think they particularly care how high or low their market share is if they’re still raking in a ton of profit. Which they are…”

        You have that backwards, you see. That’s where we differ. As far as Apple vs. Google, it’s more important to Google that they become the dominant platform, which they are doing. The short-term (5+ years) profitability really is not that important. Think about what they’ve invested since the 90s in becoming the world’s most used search engine, and how significant that is to their core business. Every time they give one of their many products for free (aka “at a loss”) they have a reason for it.

        “Most evidence I’ve seen shows that the iPod is being replaced by…the iPhone. And since ASPs are higher with the iPhone, the lost revenue from declining iPod sales is more than made up for by increasing iPhone sales.”

        You can interpret the percent loss in one market leading to percent increase in the other however you want, but it’s clear by the numbers that more people are adopting Android smartphones than iPhones. Considering the iPod dominated its respective market and is a big part of their business, that is not good news for Apple.

        “Look at HP – they have the highest market share out of all PC makers, and they’re getting out of the business entirely because they can’t make enough money from it.”

        http://blogs.wsj.com/deals/2011/09/23/will-h-p-still-spin-off-the-pc-business

        Shouldn’t that be in the form of a question? Regardless, the computer business is a very different issue. There is a huge shake-up at the moment and none of the top 5 PC makers are in a very good position. Which may leave room for more innovative companies like Asus and Samsung.

      • Kizedek

        “It will be like the Windows vs Mac in the 90s all over again. You’d think Apple would learn..”

        “Regardless, the computer business is a very different issue. There is a huge shake-up at the moment and none of the top 5 PC makers are in a very good position. Which may leave room for more innovative companies like Asus and Samsung.”

        Seems like a bit of a contradiction here between your two comments. Overall, your arguments are pretty incoherent. They also seem to echo “conventional” wisdom, which is precisely what Horace questions, post after post. While you may not like his conclusions, he is quite coherent.

        If you had read any posts with the slightest comprehension, you would have several take aways: one of them is that Horace mentions Android’s gains all the time; they may have made higher percentage gains than iOS in some markets, but that is little to crow about — it is holding the status quo as a free OS for hardware makers that are shifting their product lineup from feature phones to smartphones. Smartphones have huge untapped ceiling, and of course Android takes a large number of these, it is replacing old OSs that have no future on smart mobile devices.

        Secondly, it is not at all clear that Google has it all planned out, however smart their founders and employees may be. They don’t have the right kind of smarts and experience for the way the world is changing. If anything, THEY haven’t learned from the PC scene because they are going right down the MS road, perhaps to irrelevance. It is not clear that Android IS a good investment for Google given their mounting liabilities; besides, iOS helps their old core business model of search, more than Android variants, or Android itself more than likely.

        Clearly, you have read only a couple of sentences by Horace and not digested his analysis and arguments.

      • deV

        “Seems like a bit of a contradiction here between your two comments.”

        Again, the incohesion that you interpret is because you’re trying to lump computers and smartphones together. They are very different markets. First comment actually was about smartphones (Android vs iOS as compared to Windows vs Mac in the 90s).

        “They also seem to echo “conventional” wisdom”

        Statistically, Apple fans have been proven to think of them selves as different. Yes all of them think the same thing, that they are different. Talk about a contradiction.

        “They may have made higher percentage gains than iOS in some markets, but that is little to crow about — it is holding the status quo as a free OS for hardware makers that are shifting their product lineup from feature phones to smartphones. ”

        Some markets? How bout you come out and say “The Whole Smartphone Market”! Plus the best selling Android phones are also the highest end. The Galaxy S II is the best selling current Android smartphone globally without even receiving its full US release yet, and it also has the best specs of any of them. It’s in a totally different league than the miniature 3.5″ iPhone 4 that can’t even shoot 1080p.
        http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Mobile-and-Wireless/Samsung-Galaxy-S-II-Tops-10M-Units-Sold-322677/

        Another top selling and high end Android phone is the older EVO 4G.

        “THEY haven’t learned from the PC scene because they are going right down the MS road, perhaps to irrelevance.”

        Google is absolutely killing MS, in search, in mobile, they’re even gaining ground on MS’s turf, office apps. I don’t know how you can possibly draw any comparison there.

        Google has gone from 0% to 40% of smartphone market in 3 years. You call that irrelevance? It’s twice as much market share as iOS…

        Sorry to crash all y’all’s party. I realize there’s a lot of Apple love around these parts. I just worry about those who take these stats seriously. They’re quoted all over MacRumors and similar Apple fan club sites without any mention of their distortions and omissions.

        I’ll readily admit I like Android and don’t really like Apple and don’t think they’re good for customers, except those who like throwing money away to acquire status symbols. But at least I’m not making up charts without providing the tabular data, all lining up to support the same tired old opinion. Though I guess if you want to try to encourage more people to join the Apple bandwagon, go right ahead. But don’t pretend you’re any different from sites such as MacRumors.

      • Kizedek

        “going down the same road” refers to its business and licensing model — not to search or any other product in particular.

        There is plenty of material for that kind of comparison:

        Plays for Sure, ditched for Zune –> Google also puts its relationships with OEMs in jeopardy with the Motorola deal. Etc.

        What’s interesting is that Google exerts even less control over its OEMs than MS historically has — instead of 20 years for cracks to appear in the partnerships, it’s taking a couple of years. Spin-off mobile OSs used by device makers, search and other services replaced by carriers.

      • deV

        In the past few months, Google has acquired a few thousand patent around the time and including buying Motorola. They’ve already given some to HTC to protect them from frivolous lawsuits by a certain lawyer-happy company. They are certainly not deserting their partners or their ecosystem; they are defending them.

        I’m not sure Google minds Android partners diversifying into other OSes. Google is not the same authoritarian Apple. Almost all of Android is open source, unlike for example Mac OS X, which is open source in name only (Darwin, in my testing, is missing even basic filesystem loop mount drivers and utilities that Apple chose to keep in the closed source OS X “Disk Utility”) Conversely, anyone can fork Android and make their own version that has nothing to do with Google. Android Open Source Project, Cyanogenmod, the list goes on…

        Google also supports Firefox, even though it “competes” with their own browser. Keep in mind Google is first and foremost an advertising company. And much of their strategy revolves around openness and heterogeneous markets.

      • Kizedek

        “Google has gone from 0% to 40% of smartphone market in 3 years. You call that irrelevance? It’s twice as much market share as iOS…”

        You keep hammering away with this. Nobody disputes it. What is disputed is its significance. Apple has a similar share despite coming out of no-where one year before that.

        As is frequently suggested on this site, a more apt comparison might be to look at the devices with Android on them and what they are used for (what this article in particular is trying to get at).

        Large device makers are switching their phones wholesale from one or two or three older, obsolete OSs, to Android. The device makers are not making and selling significantly more devices than they were before. Again, what is so amazing about this?

        Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that ONE model at 1.5 years of age is holding its own against ALL models running SOME VARIANT of “Android”. Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that no-one is talking about netbooks any more?

      • deV

        “You keep hammering away with this. Nobody disputes it.”

        I keep saying it because you guys keep saying things like this:
        “What is disputed is its significance. Apple has a similar share despite coming out of no-where one year before that.”

        No they *do not* have a similar share. 43% is over 2 and a half times as much as 17%.

        “Large device makers are switching their phones wholesale from one or two or three older, obsolete OSs, to Android. The device makers are not making and selling significantly more devices than they were before. Again, what is so amazing about this?”

        It’s more accurate to state that the smartphone market is just getting started, and Android is already dominating it. Again, what happens when one platform completely dominates the other? The loser practically disappears for a few years while they completely change architectures and business models. I wonder who that could be?

        “Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that no-one is talking about netbooks any more?”

        Not particularly. Markets are currently changing. Netbooks are being replaced by laptops with more than 1 GB of RAM, running low voltage yet high performance “Sandy Bridge” Core i3 instead of Intel Atom.

        If someone wants really cheap and low-performance, it doesn’t make sense to get a netbook when you can get a touch-screen iPad. If you don’t mind low performance, you’re probably okay with the limitations of Apple’s device…or Android, which is also limited in that it can’t run full-fledge (currently x86/x64 only) apps like Photoshop, etc…

        Tablet PCs existed before the iPad. And hell I personally owned a *flash* mp3 player before the iPod existed. It actually looked pretty good too. Rio 800. Unfortunately, at that time, hard drives were the only way to get a decent capacity. Apple only innovates in a sense that they pick the right option at the right time, and make it sleek enough to convince people to buy it. It also helped immensely that they had an established brand as a computer manufacturer. Hard drive based mp3 players existed when the iPod first came out too, but they were ugly as hell. Apple’s core business seems to be marketing, actually.

      • Anonymous

        Look there’s no doubt that Android has a big market share – and there’s no doubt that Symbian is dead and that BB and WP7 are in terrible terrible trouble – because BB is seen as antiquated and WP7 is failing to get critical mass just as WebOS failed to.

        But there is a genuine question regarding Android vs Apple because it’s simply not cut and dried.

        Apple users are, on average, spending more on hardware, more on software, more on content and more on these wifi data services. As a result there are very few important Apps or services that exist on Android that don’t exist on iOS.

        With even Google supporting iOS at the App level, there simply isn’t the kind of pressure to switch on an iOS user that existed on an Apple user back in the late 90s. And without those technological pressures to conform, there’s no particular reason to expect Android to seriously erode Apple’s handset sales – certainly there’s no evidence that they have thus far.

        Besides, in comparison with the dominance of DOS/Windows over Apple, Android isn’t dominant at all – it’s just ahead. DOS had ten or twenty times the share that Apple did.

        http://jeremyreimer.com/postman/node/329

        Android is at maybe 1984 levels of market share advantage – and back then a casual observer might have thought that the C-64 was going to conquer the world!

        If you’re right however I invite you to short AAPL stock, as you’ll make a ton of money when their iPhone business evaporates as you confidently predict it will.

      • deV

        So what you’re saying is one of the two 40% market leaders in 1984 ended up dominating? How many 40% market leaders are there now?

        Oh, that’s right: one.

      • Anonymous

        Yes but plenty of market leaders with 40% of share have ended up failing over the years.

        Symbian and RIM just recently.

        40% isn’t enough to choke off the competition.

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        You do realize that 20% of the mobile phone market means 1 billion users. One should hope to be such a loser.

      • deV

        I also take issue with several figures that get thrown around here. As far as web usage, you guys nearly universally lump iPads into your smartphone figures for web usage.

        In addition, iPhone 4 still is not 4G LTE. Hell, it’s not even AT&T fake 4G (3G HSPA). During a time before unlimited 4G started getting phased out (and while many are still grandfathered in) what reason would unlimited 4G users have for switching to for example, airport WiFi, which you guys like to use as one of your primary data points?

        As far as apps, you do realize that if your OS is limited (like for example, never ending rows of icons), you’re more likely to work around that dearth of built-in features by buying apps. You also realize that if users are twice as likely to buy apps yet there are half as many users, both markets are just as lucrative for developers, don’t you? I mean, it’s not like a copy of an app costs anything more than $0 to manufacture. Expenses do not scale with number of units sold. Distribution expenses are 30% of revenue (to Google, Apple, or Amazon), no matter how many units that is.

        Also the number of Apps available is a marketing gimmick, but it seems to be repeater here a lot. The average user uses far less than 100 apps. Most people use many of the same apps. With tens or even hundreds of thousands of apps, the long tail (apps that most people don’t find useful enough to download) is absolutely enormous. And those are the unprofitable parts of the market. It *does* cost money to produce additional apps that don’t sell.

      • Kizedek

        “Google has gone from 0% to 40% of smartphone market in 3 years. You call that irrelevance? It’s twice as much market share as iOS…”

        You keep hammering away with this. Nobody disputes it. What is disputed is its significance. Apple has a similar share despite coming out of no-where one year before that.

        As is frequently suggested on this site, a more apt comparison might be to look at the devices with Android on them and what they are used for (what this article in particular is trying to get at).

        Large device makers are switching their phones wholesale from one or two or three older, obsolete OSs, to Android. The device makers are not making and selling significantly more devices than they were before. Again, what is so amazing about this?

        Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that ONE model at 1.5 years of age is holding its own against ALL models running SOME VARIANT of “Android”. Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that no-one is talking about netbooks any more?

      • Kizedek

        “Google has gone from 0% to 40% of smartphone market in 3 years. You call that irrelevance? It’s twice as much market share as iOS…”

        You keep hammering away with this. Nobody disputes it. What is disputed is its significance. Apple has a similar share despite coming out of no-where one year before that.

        As is frequently suggested on this site, a more apt comparison might be to look at the devices with Android on them and what they are used for (what this article in particular is trying to get at).

        Large device makers are switching their phones wholesale from one or two or three older, obsolete OSs, to Android. The device makers are not making and selling significantly more devices than they were before. Again, what is so amazing about this?

        Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that ONE model at 1.5 years of age is holding its own against ALL models running SOME VARIANT of “Android”. Isn’t it just a little bit amazing that no-one is talking about netbooks any more?

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        I make as much data available as I can. Vendor data and Apple product data is available one link away from any page on this site: See the left column and click under “Explore Vendor Data”. You can interact with charts and get access to the Google Docs used to build them. I have not yet built up the data sets for platform shares but you can find all phone vendor data and all Apple product line data there.

        I encourage everyone to explore the data and report any errors (regardless of whether they take them seriously or not.)

      • Kizedek

        I wonder why “none of the top 5 PC are in a very good position”. Perhaps because they were I’ll prepared for the postPC world ushered in by Apple.

        “Which may leave room for more innovative companies like Asus and Samsung.”

        ?…or, innovative companies that continue to create and sell record numbers of computers each quarter, record numbers of phones each quarter, and record numbers of “tablets” each quarter — someone that has proven they can do ALL THREE with quality and style, and has a coherent plan for adding desirable value to them, built on top of proven and sticky services
        that it’s customers appreciate. …I wonder who that might be? Seems you selectively fail to mention a company that falls outside your cliched theory.

      • deV

        We started this conversation talking about smartphones. If you want to talk about computers, and can’t see that I conceded that PC makers are not in a good position, fine. I’ll state it this way instead: Apple is clearly gaining marketshare in the computer industry, a totally different market. The reason they are is because of the fall of the desktop computer in favor of sleek laptops, which Apple provides. Apple is also dominating tablet sales.

        Note this has very little to do with the topic at hand: smartphones.

      • Kizedek

        The trend of desktops falling in favor of laptops has been happening for a while. Apple has always dominated the laptop market. They have long sold the vast majority of the $1000+ laptops. This is not new.

        Interesting that you don’t mention “netbooks”. Are you another one who conveniently dismisses the rise of the iPad as having anything whatsoever to do with some of the trouble PC makers have had because they increasingly invested in that market?

        A lot of people, yourself included, seem to want to make it about one thing or the other… PCs or mobile devices (calling a tablet one or the other when it suits), Android or iPhone (conveniently forgetting other iOS devices when it suits).

        You can’t really separate them that easily. Apple has a scaled down desktop-class OS on its tablets and phones. MS wants tablet makers to use it’s new desktop OS. In becoming more personal, computing of all kinds is converging.

        PC makers can’t compete with Apple because they can’t go more personal. Mobile device makers can’t compete with Apple because they can’t go more useful. It’s just two sides of the same coin.

      • deV

        “You can’t really separate them that easily. Apple has a scaled down desktop-class OS on its tablets and phones. ”

        iOS isn’t “desktop-class” any more than Android is. They are both scaled up from smartphones and have their own selection of apps that bears little relation to the desktop market at this point. Even Windows 8 for tablets will have a problem if MS doesn’t get around the little problem that x86/x64 apps, without some sort of virtualization, don’t run on ARM.

        “The trend of desktops falling in favor of laptops has been happening for a while. Apple has always dominated the laptop market. They have long sold the vast majority of the $1000+ laptops. This is not new.”

        Depends how good your memory is, I suppose. Apple dominated the laptop market when they released the Macintosh Portable (which my family owned) in 1989, but I’m not sure how long that lasted. That thing sure was a beast. Throughout most of the 90s and well into the 2000s, Apple wasn’t really dominating anything. They were barely alive.

        So Apple’s been steadily climbing in the laptop market for what? 7 or 8 years maybe? And they’re at like 10% now?
        http://arstechnica.com/apple/news/2010/10/apple-breaks-10-market-share-in-us-lenovo-climbs-globally.ars

      • kevin

        You brought up Windows first.

        “It will be like the Windows vs Mac in the 90s all over again. You’d think Apple would learn..”

        How did Microsoft win? By commoditizing the hardware. And as you’ve pointed out, that’s what Google is doing as well, which will put its hardware device makers (which will include itself soon) in a very tough low-profit position.

        But why is Apple growing Mac sales significantly faster than PCs? Because there is still room for hardware innovation in the device, in this case, the laptop. Which is exactly the same case to be made for smartphones. (Which you would’ve already understood if you read more of Horace’s posts.) Commodity device makers, generating little profit, have little ability to innovate. I give you the possibility that Samsung, because they have the whole supply chain, could shift more profit into handsets from its other divisions, and make a run at it.

        At some point in time, commodity devices will rule (such as in desktops). But today isn’t that time for smartphones or tablets.

      • deV

        I certainly agree with you with regard to tablets. The majority of those buying tablets already have a laptop or desktop. That tilts the scale very much towards the wealthy as the ones who are buying them. Which means it’s more about brand image than value.

        Tablets will be for everyone only when they become practical as a low-cost “daily driver” for those who do not have any other computer. And that day is certainly not today.

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      There are many posts on this site on the subject of unit shipment, value and profit market share by platform and vendor and occasionally by installed base and by region. They are published every quarter. The most recent discussions are the following:
      http://www.asymco.com/2011/09/14/biggest-mobile-loser/ Symbian vs. Android in EU5
      http://www.asymco.com/2011/08/22/nokia-vs-android/ Symbian vs. Android Global

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  • Bob

    I have to wonder about how carrier support effects the paid usage at airport ios v. android since nearly every us carrier has android, and only two have ios.

  • Asymco Com

    If the data is from June and August, why is the global axis labeled summer?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      Data sets are from multiple months during the summer.