Is The iPhone Doomed?

Category: Mobile

Apple's iPhone has long held a commanding lead among smartphone users, but sales of Android phones have recently gained ground fast, eclipsing the iPhone. Is the iPhone losing its crown? Here's my take on the situation...

Will Android Dominate the Smartphone Market?

Comscore, a market research firm, reports that 33 percent of smartphones now in users' hands are Android-based, compared to a 29 percent market share for RIM's Blackberry, and 25 percent for the iPhone. The trend towards Android is accelerating, too.

Some 37 percent of smartphones shipped in 2011 were Android-based, compared to 27 percent for iPhones. That's according to the latest Nielsen survey data. Android has gained favor among smartphone buyers rapidly in the past six months. Back in September, 2010, Nielsen's survey found that 26 percent of consumers planned to buy an Android phone. That figure climbed 8 percentage points, to 34 per cent, during the first quarter of 2011.

What is driving Android's furious growth rate? Android fans credit the open nature of Android, which many prefer to proprietary software such as Apple iOS. Handset makers and app developers are relatively free to tweak Android in many innovative ways, creating a host of products tailored to user preferences. Meanwhile, the most exciting thing to come out of Apple lately is the white iPhone.
Is iPhone Doomed?

Apple touts the huge number of apps available for the iPhone - over 350,000 at last count. But again, Android is rapidly building its app catalog and is predicted to have more apps than any other smartphone OS by the end of 2011. Android apps do not have to be approved by Google, while Apple vets every iOS app uploaded to its App Store. Some app developers have complained that Apple plays favorites or blocks apps that might affect Apple's bottom line.

Other Factors in the Smartphone Battle

Of course, the permissive approach to apps has its downside. Some Android apps don't work as advertised. Others violate Google's rules on user privacy. Earlier this year, about 50 apps were removed from the Google app library after malware was found in them.

Price is another driver of Android smartphone sales. Apple, with a lock on the iPhone, continues to keep it expensive and highly profitable. Android smartphones can be had for under $200, or even free with a two-year carrier service contract.

There are flaws in the Android business model, though. Chief among them is the disorganized, decentralized approach to distributing updates of the Android OS. Handset manufacturers control which version of Android gets installed on their phones. Some are two versions behind the latest, codenamed Gingerbread. The fragmentation of the Android market makes it difficult for app developers to write apps that will run on all Android phones.

Even if Android becomes the dominant smartphone OS, Apple will still sell a lot of iPhones. The iPhone is still a great product, and Apple has a well-deserved reputation for quality and intuitive interfaces. There will be plenty of apps for both platforms. Your choice of Android or iPhone should not be based on any fear that the iPhone will go away; it won't.

Do you have something to say about the Android versus iPhone marketplace competition? Post your comment or question below…

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Most recent comments on "Is The iPhone Doomed?"

Posted by:

John Palmer
03 May 2011

If the cell phone service providers ever reduce the rates significantly, I'll consider getting a smartphone. Until then, I'm satisfied using Tracfone and getting free double minutes for life. Fortunately, my life doesn't revolve around a telephone.

Posted by:

04 May 2011

I use my Droid (original A855) virtually all day for music,tv,websearch,gps,etc,etc. I generally do not have access to ac or dc power. I carry and use up to 5 extra batteries each day. I recently considered an Iphone,however when I was told the battery is not user removable, that sealed it for me! Why in the world would Apple make such a stupid decision?

Posted by:

04 May 2011

Answering Rich ("why would Apple make such a stupdi decision?") - Probably because they are Apple and therefore like to control everything about their devices. Only by such tight control can they be sure about the high design quality which is what a lot of Apple fans appreciate even if they haven't analysed it.

The other side of that is that if you don't like the way Apple chose, tough.

I agree this is similar to Bill Gate's not conceiving anyone would need more than 640k of memory way back in the DOS days.

BTW, my current peeve with the iPhone is the one and only physical button: this seems to be a weak point and proine to failure - but there is no on-screen soft alternative (that I know of) so once it's broken you are stuck.

Posted by:

04 May 2011

@Rich, 5 battery's a day illustrates another glaring deficiency in the Android phones. People are getting much better battery life from iphones. You can get a little power pack to recharge an iphone after it goes dead 10 or 12 hours. I'm using a Windows Phone 7, it's also very nice and they didn't try to copy Apple like Android did. It's very fast and easy to use.

Posted by:

30 Jun 2011

I just bought an iphone 3gs. I have a pc and that is why I bought the apple phone. With the pc there are too many irons in the fire. I am really tired of stuff not working or needing fiddling with to work. That is not the case with apple stuff. It's not perfect but so far I love it.

As far a battery life is concerned, as another commenter pointed out there are lots of battery extenders or external batteries available as well as tons of accessories made by apple and others.

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