Smartphone buyers want Apple, Android
BlackBerry, Windows and Palm do not impress
The iPhone's appeal may be settling down - at least in the US - and it's almost entirely due to the rise of Android, according to a survey conducted by market watcher ChangeWave.
In September, it asked 4000 consumers about their smartphone purchase plans. Of those who intend to buy such a gadget in the next three months, 38 per cent said they'd pick the iPhone while almost as many - 37 per cent - said they'd opt for an Android device.
The last time ChangeWave asked the question, in June 2010, 50 per cent said they'd go for the iPhone while only 30 per cent favoured an Android handset.
Patterns of Demand - the platforms consumers say they'll buy into in the next three months
These two platforms dominate purchase intentions. The latest survey puts the proportion of potential BlackBerry buyers at six per cent - up a single percentage point over June's figure - while Windows Mobile demand fell by the same amount, to one percentage point.
Palm's WebOS didn't trouble the scorer.
It's worth considering seasonal factors when comparing Android and iPhone. Back in June, when iPhone demand was high, Apple had just launched the iPhone 4 so you'd expect the buzz to be higher than it might usually be.
Now, with the antennagate controversy all but forgotten, the iPhone demand level seen by ChangeWave is more realistic. And that shows that the two platforms are, at the moment, equally appealing to punters.
The rise and rise of Android - percentage of buyers intending to choose the Google OS
But with more vendors behind Android than support iOS - almost all versus just one - the Google platform will become more diverse, appearing in high-end devices, low-end kit and all points between, and that is inevitably going to make it appeal to a broader array of buyers than the iPhone can.
An interesting side note is ChangeWave's question about how satisfied their devices are consumers. For each platform, the percentage of uses who said they were very satisfied with their smartphones came to: 74 per cent (iPhone), 65 per cent (Android), 32 per cent (WebOS), 31 per cent (BlackBerry) and 24 per cent (Windows Mobile).
Percentage of a platform's users who said they were 'very satisfied' with their smartphone
So one battle will be for folk who currently use those last three platforms, and it's telling that Microsoft is talking up its new Windows Phone 7 OS, RIM has just said it plans to revamp the BlackBerry OS with a QNX foundation and HP is beginning to talk more about WebOS 2.0.
Each wants to win over not only new buyers but those disenchanted with rival platforms. They can't all succeed, particularly when chums are telling them how good iOS and Android are. ®
My guess is that not many people give enough of a shit for the Nokia OS's to register. Anyone that knows anything about phones knows that Maemo is dead, it's been replaced with Meego and Symbian has had too many false starts in the last 3 years. Simply put Meego is too much OS for a mobile phone and iOS and Android are significantly better than Symbian. Nokia have never been particularly strong in the US market place either.
Symbian, Maemo and Meego? Who?
Maemo was crap. I ditched my N800 and didn't even consider an N900. Meego is "haha, more of the same" I was very disappointed that my N800 didn't even have a hope of running the newer OSes after spending so much time and money on it.
Nokia? Ass? Both hands? What?
For all the crap about Android fragmentation, Google has a plan, a direction, and talent. Nokia has none of those. Nokia has managed to fragment a single line of phones. I'd buy an iPhone over another Nokia product, and for me that says a LOT.
So what you're saying is...
...the two most popular phone OS are the two leading choices for consumers?
In other news, the #1 song in the Top 40 this week was the most bought by music buyers.
Any of you Reg readers see this poll? In the end, the N900 beat every device it faced, probably because it's not just a smartphone, it's a 'superphone' with an OS written to allow full exploitation of its capabilities. It's the first practical phone which offers a true mobile computing experience limited in potential only by the user, not the platform or hardware maker. Whether the mass market has any interest in this concept is debatable, but 8086 based computing took off pretty well.
It makes for interesting reading, especially the comments posted by the voters during the various polls. The most revealing was the vote between Palm Pre/webOS and N900/Maemo. Instead of the usual 'your momma's so fat' insults there was actual constructive argument. The supporters of iOS and Android devices seemed to mainly churn out illiterate txt-speak gibberish. Maemo and webOS are probably the two most capable mobile phone OS's right now, but they don't figure in the US survey. So much for meritocracy!
It's clear the survey in this report is US only and so does not represent the global view. This should have been pointed out with a 'health warning' right at the head of the article. Those 'merkins are incredibly aspirational / bovine and so too easily led by effective marketing.
Both Android and iOS are going to hit the ceiling of their capabilities soon. Those top end buyers (who currently steer the media) will still expect increasingly impressive hardware year on year. The 'one OS fits all' plan could be a fail. Although your budget phone buyer will be happy that he can buy a phone for <$100 that runs the same Android OS as the top models, how will the punters paying $800+ feel about that? And what is the difference? iOS already appears to have mined-out the thicker veins at the top end of the market and has nowhere to go now but deeper into the slimmer pickings, but Android is there already with trenches dug in.
You may mock Nokia for their apparent lack of direction today and their small existing US market presence, but they are the world's largest mobile phone producer, not the underdog. It's clear they have a comprehensive strategy and it looks to be a good one for the future. Three distinct mobile operating systems for three hardware segments all able to run the same applications written in a cross-platform language offering a vast market for software developers.
Go ahead, call me a fan-boy if you want. I don't have any loyalties - Apple make the best mp3 players as far as I'm concerned, and I advise friends looking far a new phone to look towards Android at present if they want simplicity at a reasonable price. Just don't write Nokia or MeeGo off as a joke.
They *could* all succeed
"They can't all succeed". Well, they *could*. I don't think it's likely, but back in the day when there were a mass of different systems -- IBM, Amiga, Atari ST, Mac, CP/M, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, Commodore 64, etc., there was plenty of software available for all. Of course ultimately most of them folded but it took years and years.