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Jobs: iPhone sales spank Android

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Steve Jobs suggests that you should forget anything you may have read about Android sales surpassing iPhone sales in the US.

"There have been a lot of stats floating around, market research, studies. Some are okay, some are questionable," Jobs said Monday when announcing the iPhone 4, according to Engadget.

The most questionable survey on Steve's mind might very well be the May 10 release by the NPD Group, which reported that US sales of Android-based phones surpassed those of the iPhone in the first quarter of this year.

According to NPD's survey, Android phones accounted for 28 per cent of smartphones sold in the first quarter, compared with 21 per cent for the iPhone. RIM's BlackBerry remained top dog with 36 per cent. And by "dog," we mean no disrespect.

In his keynote address, Jobs pointed instead to the just-released survey from The Neilsen Company, entitled — rather directly — "iPhone vs. Android", which paints a very different picture. According to Neilsen, RIM is indeed number one in the US, but it has slipped 2 per cent since the previous quarter, falling to 35 per cent. The iPhone — and not the sum total of a gaggle of Android-based phones, as NPD claimed — is number two, close behind at 28 per cent, and up 2 per cent.

Third place in Neilsen's rankings goes to Windows Mobile phones at 19 per cent (down 2 per cent), with Android-based phones lagging far behind at 9 per cent, though up 2 per cent quarter-on-quarter.

Perhaps part of the discrepancy between the two estimates is the simple fact that the NPD group survey didn't include "corporate/enterprise mobile phone sales". That omission becomes relevant in light of the recent comment by Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T's Business Solutions division, that "Four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users."

That could skew the numbers a wee bit, don't you think?

In any case, The Reg has learned from painful experience to take most if not all survey results with a grain of salt — even when they're as intriguing as some of the other data provided in Nielsen's new report. For example:

  • Forty per cent of iPhone owners have incomes of over $100,000 per year; only 28 per cent of Android-phone owners are that comfortable.
  • When they get their next smartphone, twice as many Android-phone owners want to switch operating systems than do iPhone owners (14 per cent versus 7 per cent).
  • Only 34 per cent of Windows Mobile phone owners want another such phone; BlackBerry owners are more satified, but not by much: 47 per cent want to switch.

But in regard to the duelling surveys concerning whether or not Android-based phones have overtaken the iPhone, we now have the definitive word of one Steven Paul Jobs that the iPhone outdistances Android more than three-to-one, and is closing in on RIM.

And if Steve says it from the hallowed keynote stage, it's gotta be true. Right? ®

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