oConomy
May 24, 2010 by Alex Hornbake

Q1 2010 mobile phone sales figures are rolling in from several research firms, and in turn, the analysis of Android devices and iPhone sales are flowing in the news and blog world as well. Android has grown significantly to become a serious iPhone competitor, but Google's App Market is yet to follow suit.

The Numbers

Gartner Research has released figures that suggest that there has been a 17% increase in global mobile phone sales. That's good news for everyone except Microsoft, whose Windows Mobile OS was the only smart phone OS to stagnate during the market's rise.

Some bloggers have gone ahead and declared things like, "Android whips the iPhone in 2010 sales." The majority of these reports are based upon data from The NPD Group. The research does suggest a significant rise, giving Android up to 28% market share, which is - by all accounts - amazing growth. However, the accuracy of NPD's data has been questioned by Apple.

Image via AllThingsDigital.com

Image via AllThingsDigital.com

Another data source of note is AdMob, who publishes the data collected by their advertising network. This data is more of a metric for browser usage. You'll notice that RIM, who has a huge percent market share in the studies above, is not well represented in the AdMob data. Blackberry users are email and text-heavy, but they are not big browser/app users.

Admob March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report

Admob March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report

All of the above data suggests a significant rise in Android's market share. So, regardless of who's "winning," Android is not to be ignored, leaving Android and Apple Devices as dominate leaders in the App-centric smartphone market.

The App Markets

Apple's App Store has been a hugely successful outlet for developers to connect with iPhone users, and Google's App Market is attempting to replicate this success. But recent reports (like this one at SFgate.com) suggest that the users of the two markets are significantly different. CNN/Fortune writer Philip Elmer-DeWitt has an excellent commentary as well, titled "6 ways iPhone and Android users differ". Like the SFGate article, DeWitt's post draws upon more AdMob data. The report outlines several informative stats--notably, that 50% of iPhone users download at least one paid app per month, where as only 21% of Android users download at least one paid app per month.

The user data lags a few months behind the sales data, so it's not a perfect 1:1 relationship, but we're yet to see Google monetize apps as successfully as Apple. If Android's growth continues at its current rate we may see this change by sheer volume.

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Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.

Alex Hornbake

Freelance Tech Writer

Alex Hornbake is one of several freelance writers on the oDesk Blog team. He joined the oDesk marketplace in 2009, and brings more than a decade of technical expertise to his clients. Alex shares his point of view to help you make informed decisions for your personal and business technology choices.

  • http://www.laurasoftware.com Santiago Valdarrama

    Check the "oDesk" application on the Android market. It notifies you when new jobs are posted.

    http://blog.laurasoftware.com/2010/07/odesk-android-application.html

  • Alex

    Oliver,

    Well, I think it matters for buyers and providers on oDesk, when you consider the time and resources that go in to app development. Both in terms of education for developers and money spent on development.

    If you're goal is to develop an app to sell in either Apple's App Store, or Google's App Market, it's important to know what the current and projected market share of the platform is, and how likely users of that platform are to actually purchase applications.

    Stay tuned for some posts focused more on usability, I agree it's very important!

    Arizona,

    I agree, Android may have a larger market potential, and that may equate to a more lucrative App Market in the long run, regardless of users buying habits. However, I'd be curious see the buying habits of China's app market. Considering the the rampant piracy there, I would assume free apps with embedded ads would be quite lucrative. That's not really taken in to account in the research data presented above.

  • http://lgdotcom olivier

    Whether Android or iPhone wins, does it really matter? Verily, who cares? Money-wise, certainly their respective shareholders? What about caring how well those devices and apps integrate within your business processes? How well could you collaborate from a distance with those devices and still perform and deliver to your customers? How well does it empower you?

  • http://www.edgeneering.com Arizona Web Developers

    The Android share of the market has far greater upside potential as well. The number of iPad clone manufacturers who are using Android is huge, and the largest marketplaces in the world for smartphones (ie. China) are far more likely to adopt Android devices due to pricing issues, etc. Apple's recent approaches to restrict developers to specific languages, etc. has done more to stop the penetration of iPhones as well as developers are wary of adoption due to being sandboxed into Apple's specific way of doing business.

  • http://www.inform.co.nz/health-insurance/ health insurance plans

    I think its market will grow..........

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    Hi

    It is good information.
    Thanks for this.

  • Jon

    Just want to point out here that this is for smartphones only. In terms of addressable market, you would want to include the iPod Touch, which more than doubles the number of users of the iPhone OS. Also, the iPad adds > 1M iPhone OS devices.