Android and iOS have taken their positions to be the major players in the smartphone and tablet market. There are various dissimilarities that give each of the two operating systems some sort of advantage over the other. According to an IDC report, Android has maintained its lead in the global smartphone market having reached 75% of shipments worldwide in Q1, while the iOS shipments dropped to about 17.4% of the market. However, Apple takes a lead when it comes to the total time spent on apps. Even though the total time spent on Android almost equaled that of iOS in March 2012, Apple went back on top after it launched its third generation iPad.
Reasons for Drop in iOS Marketshare
The major question here is why is iOS losing market share to Android? Experts have given various theories to explain why these two operating systems tend to go back and forth on their smartphone battles. The director of community and content at Retrevo pointed out that the dominance of Android over iOS can be likened to what took place when Microsoft adopted Apple’s graphical user interface(GUI) and offered it to different vendors. He believes that it’s only natural for a market to progress when there are many different suppliers offering products at a competitive prices. Google has been relentless in improving Android to a point where it competes with iOS in some areas, while outsmarting it in other aspects.
Another explanation for iOS’s loss to Android is Apple’s failure to develop innovative products after the launch of the iPhone 5. A clear indication of this can be seen in the overall market shipments before and after the release of the iPhone 5. In Q1 2012, Apple shipped 35 million iPhones, about 23% of the market share. However, despite having shipped more than 37 million devices in Q1 2013 it’s market share declined to about 17%. Comparatively, in Q1 2012, Android made a shipment of 90.3 million smartphones which accounts for an 80% of the market share. In Q1 2013, Android’s shipment totaled 162 million, which was almost 80% more than that of the previous year.
The principal analyst at Enderle Group said that loyal Apple users upgraded their devices aggressively, but the company failed to attract new users who preferred other brands. Enderle continued to say that by making its devices available on retail outlets such as Wal-Mart, Apple has lost its exclusivity status and isn’t the cool phone that it used to be before.
There are also some experts that have explained the reason as to why the total time spent on iOS is higher than that spent on Android. Analytics firm, Flurry, cited that when Apple set up the app ecosystem, the main intention of the consumers who purchased them was to run apps on the devices. The Android however, was primarily offered as a free device for contact customers who wanted to upgrade to feature phones.
Another suggestion that was made by Flurry cited that the fragmented nature of the Android ecosystem may have created several obstacles to the development of apps, limiting the development of app content. Furthermore, many Android users were running older versions of the platform, and the process to push Android OS upgrades was not as competent as what Apple offered its users.
It was also suggested that the Apple’s rich app ecosystem self promotes itself. For instance, those who own iOS devices use apps aggressively, thereby encouraging app developers to create more and more apps for iOS . This in turn generates positive experiences by word of mouth promotion and further increases app usage. It is clearly evident that both Android and iOS have their unique strengths that have enabled them to stay at the top when it comes to the smartphone and tablet market.