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.
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.
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.
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.
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.