Will Android become the dominant smartphone operating system and will Apple’s iOS slowly whither on the vine? As usual there are conflicting views because no one really knows. Marco Arment in an insightful post this morning (see Marco.org) believes that the ultimate dominance of Android isn’t a foregone conclusion.
There are many factors at work, including in the USA the Verizon situation where many customers purchased Android simply because the iPhone was not available until recently. The situation is different in the rest of the world:
It’s important to distinguish Android’s U.S. marketshare because it sells a lot more here than internationally. When compared to countries in which the iPhone and Android devices have always been sold side-by-side from the same carriers — or simply by looking at how well it sells on AT&T — Android doesn’t do nearly as well, which further supports most of my arguments.
It seems to me that the iPhone is used my most of the opinion leaders in the tech world and it is an aspirational product. For many who are unable to afford an iPhone, an Android device is a cheaper alternative. Of course, Android is dominating in the world market in the same way that Windows became top dog—as an OEM supplier to hundreds of manufacturers, from the cheap-and-not-so-cheerful to the higher enders such as Sony, HP and Dell. But Apple will remain strong as an aspirational brand with impressive margins.