The smartphone battle continues to heat up as sales of Android-enabled handsets have risen by 75% in North America and surpassed iPhone sales for the first quarter in 2010. However, the total volume of iPhone OS devices outnumbers Android devices in the US 2 to 1 and is 3.5 times larger globally. AdMob’s latest report on ‘Mobile Metrics‘ looks at the unique Android and iPhone devices in their network that requested at least one ad from the AdMob network in April 2010. The growth of both platforms are staggering as they make up over 25% of the smartphone market combined. But with over 85 million iPhone OS units sold, will Android devices be able to catch up?
Although Apple has sold 85 million iPhones and iPod touches in the last three years, it is difficult to determine how many ‘active users’ there are or what the overlap between Apple devices is hence the gap as AdMob sees only 40.8 million iPhone OS devices worldwide.
The discrepancy between Apple and AdMob’s data could reflect a short lifespan of these mobile devices, assuming only half of the devices purchased are being used. It also signals potentially strong sales for iPhone 4 once it will be released and/or the power the iPod touch and iPad command in increasing the total user base of Apples’ devices. This could mean that Android enabled devices will significantly lag behind even if they catch up to iPhone sales.
The chart above compares the number of unique Android and iPhone devices purchased worldwide. There were 10.7 million iPhone devices sold in the US and AdMob’s report indicates that roughly 50 percent of its iPhone OS devices reaching its ad network are in North America. Android on the other hand had 8.7 million sales in the US and 75 percent of AdMob’s installed base on Android is in North America.
The iPhone OS, represented by iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, dominates worldwide and is reflected as such by AdMob’s findings. The success of each platform will be determined by the quality of apps. Quality of apps will come from dedicated developers who will be drawn to specific platforms as a result of how much they can earn and the kinds of audiences they can reach. Purchase of handsets will be due to the type of apps available, which is directly relevant to the platform. The Android platform is improving gradually, and set to roll out its next version FroYo which will enable flash – a feature Apple won’t be sharing. Which will draw more users remains to be seen, but for now, Steve Jobs strategy seems to be paying off.