Apple's iPad is a product that has decimated competition like no other. Android OS-based rivals and challengers in the tablet sphere have bit dust big time when they had to face down the Apple iPad high winds. Apple has about 75 percent of the tablet market share.
However, the same is not happening in smartphone segment. Apple is not able to replicate its tablet success here, and the iPhone struggles with the Android breed when it comes to market leadership.
The wireless carriers appear to be preferring Android smartphones to Apple iPhones for a variety of reasons, making it challenging for Apple to tip the scale in their favor.
It can be observed that iPhone is not losing market share after all; in fact it has made gains. But the gains of Apple is overshadowed by the surge made by Android.
As of the first quarter of the year, Android's smartphone market share rose to 36 percent from 9.6 percent in the corresponding period last year.
Apple iPhone sales almost doubled to 16.9 million units from 8.4 million in the same quarter last year, but the market share rose only modestly from 15.3 percent to 16.8 percent.
Around 101 million new smartphones were activated in the first quarter of the year the world over.
There are some sound reasons why carriers generally love to have Android smartphones on their network. The first is that with Android, handset makers can manufacture cheaper devices.
Secondly, Android’s open-source platform helps carriers customize the phones in terms of features and services, which helps them manage the revenue stream better. This will not be possible in the case of iOS smartphones.
A Beatweek report points out that cellular carriers have undue influence over phone sales and they just love Android. Upper management at the carriers loves Android because they get to control it, and the geek salesfolk at the carrier retail stores love Android because geekdom is their religion.
And then there is the marketing war going on in the smartphone segment. Carriers can afford to give various Android smartphones free under a contract whereas Apple has so far shied away from such a strategy. Observers think Apple will soon have to start thinking about its pricing strategies to ramp up its market share and beat the Android tidal wave.
The Beatweek article also highlights Apple's focus on high-end features in its iPhones which have underwhelmed most common users. Meanwhile, Android phones usually have many lower-end features that appeal to a larger section of people.
Also the 4G hype is skewing market perception of the iPhone negatively. Although major carriers have not built the 4G network, and despite having a 4G antenna on the smartphone a user will not get to enjoy its features, the purported 4G feature on Android devices is helping push their favorability among buyers. Here again, carriers guide consumers to the wrong place.
Earlier, there were reports that Google is paying wireless carriers so they would promote Android smartphones. paidContent.org had reported that Google is sharing advertising revenues with carriers that use Android. In some cases, sources said, Google is also cutting deals with the handset makers. The revenue-sharing agreements only occur when the handsets come with Google applications, like search, maps and gmail, since that is not a requirement of Android, the report said.
The report pointed out that the number of Google Android phones being shipped soared to 60,000 a day.Nothing typically moves this fast in wireless. So how has Google done it?