I have been looking at Gartner’s latest statistics on mobile phone and smartphone sales. The most interesting part for people creating mobile solutions is the table showing smartphone OS share…
Android now has a large 72.4% market share. While iOS is better for monetisation (selling apps and in-app purchases), it now has only a 13.9% market share that’s decreasing. Is it still sensible to concentrate on iOS first and spend most on iOS as most companies have done in the past? I am already seeing forward thinking companies starting to take a 50%/50% iOS/Android strategy. I wonder if the balance will ever favour Android? For those of you thinking Apple will always command the premium market, you might like to consider whether the Samsung Galaxy S III is starting to re-balance the high-end market.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say Android will definitely eventually eclipse iOS, it’s an interesting gamble for those thinking about creating a new breed of top quality Android apps.
UPDATE 22 Nov: This article created lots of likes on the social networks and some consternation and disbelief of the numbers from Apple fans. On a LinkedIn Group I even got falsely accused of some hidden agenda to collude to "force the market into making Android displace iOS"!
To be clear, the numbers are for worldwide. For just the US, the numbers are currently close to 50% Android 50% iOS. Between 40 and 50 million of the Android sales last quarter were sales in China which aren’t really an addressable market for most app developers.
Some people also misunderstood the point of this article. It’s not about monetisation opportunities now. It’s questioning what might (yes might, not will) happen to create new opportunities if the numbers keep moving in Android’s favour.
Even when considering the here and now, some companies such as Evernote (pdf from Open Mobile Summit) already monetise better on Android. Also, creating apps isn’t always about monetisation and these days is often more about return on investment.