Tuesday, 22 January 2013

This land is your land, this land is my land

Android vs. iOS

I remember tweeting, about a year ago, on the status quo at the meeting room I was in: 10 iPhones vs. 2 Androids. In the course of a year or so the tables have turned. True, we are not talking about 10 Androids to 2 iPhones but rather more along the lines of 7 to 5, but the title sure did change hands. What seemed previously impossible, dethroning the ever so dominant iPhone, has been achieved. Based upon yours truly’s street observations, Australia is no longer iPhone land.
The interesting question is why did this change happen. My theory? It’s a price tag thing.
Apple based its dominance on being technologically superior. That’s a marketing line that is hard to maintain over time. As the two last generations of the iPhone indicate, Apple agrees: neither the 4S nor the iPhone 5 were game changers; in contrast, Android devices offered tons of diversification and variance, including in the price tag. That price tag is where Apple refused to budge.
The majority of the people, those that want a smartphone but are far from tickling their device’s full potential, reacted. They moved to a system that gives them all the functionality they need at a much cheaper price. Victory was Android’s.
People tend to get emotional over the whole Android vs. iOS thing. It is therefore important to stress that Android’s victory was not achieved by virtue of Android’s open source ideology or open architecture; most punters couldn’t care less about these things. It was a simple affair of value for money. Deep down, most of those people that used to have an iPhone but left it for a Samsung will tell you they prefer Apple’s operating system that “just works”. They do not, however, see the point in paying hundreds of extra dollars for the benefit of owning an Apple device that looks exactly like the old one they just got rid of.
Which brings me to an interesting twist that's coming at one particular market segment: the younger generation, the one that’s old enough to buy their own smartphones but young enough to consider the smartphone their elders use - the iPhone - uncool. These folks seems to shun the iPhone almost entirely
My prediction? I see Android taking further and further steps into the market, by virtue of its ability to offer a variety of products from phablets to el-cheapos. Apple’s will be generally recognized as the superior yet niche product.

Image by _Max-B, Creative Commons license

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