This ad pretty shows and tells you what Android is and isn’t …
It is the new Symbian. No two Android phone looks or operates the same.
There’s nothing wrong with that – Android is a fine replacement for the Symbian OS for telcos and handset makers. It’s free, it’s easy for them to layer an OS-skin on top of it and it comes with free association with Google.
But it is an OS that users have to relearn when they move onto the next Android phone … which is why 30% of Android users will likely move on (or is it 80%) with their next smartphone purchase while only 5% of iPhone users will switch.
But that’s the game plan all along. Google knew that it was sketchy that the Symbian group would include Google search on mobile going forward. They were unsure with Palm hedging their bets with WIN Mobile OS (obviously they knew WIN Mobile was not going to make Google the keeper search). Blackberry was an uncertainty and Apple could drop kick them at any time and with Google learning just how big the market was going to be by sitting in Apple’s board meetings, they figured the best way to assure their Google search bar inclusion was to give away a free OS. So, Google could care less that no two Android has the same UI or that any telco, handset maker could layer on their own skin and/or that any user could do so also – as long as the Google search is a PERMANENT FIXTURE, the rest they could care less about … just as now, they don’t care about net neutrality for wireless since they have all the telcos onboard in the US (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint & T-Mobile). This is why there is a limit on the number of apps and very little security – their ONLY concern is whether the search bar works, the rest – fix it yourself or switch to another Android phone.
That is why Android’s market share is NOT translating in app sales or even profits for the handset makers … as GigaOm notes, Apple & RIM Suck Up ALL THE PROFITS. Because it’s a FREE OS and it serves the one purpose for Google – the search bar works? DONE.
Note that Google calls it ‘activations’ and NOT sales because BUY ONE GET ONE is really not sales, it’s a giveaway and again, all that Google cares about. As long as you use the included GOOGLE APPS, that’s ALL the storage you need. They make nothing from APPS, they don’t even run the stores – can you even transfer purchased APPS from HTC’s Android phone to another brand Android phone?
So, unlike Apple who clears hundreds of dollars per iPhone sold, Google makes a few dollars on search so the could care less about anything else – it makes them no money. So, market share for Android means nothing compared to the iPhone. Market share for the iPhone means quarterly revenue for Apple, visits to the Apple store and iTunes revenue.
Android market share means another phone has the Google search bar and everytime you click on an ad or sponsored link Google makes a few pennies.
This is the difference between tap water market share and Aquafina market share or in this case, pennies to @$400 PER PHONE sold. That is the Pacific Ocean of revenue volume difference.
Buying an iPhone means one OS that stays the same. Sure, you get added features with each new phone but the HOME BUTTON is in the exact same place with each iPhone. Everyone syncs with iTunes and you know the iTunes store with gift cards available everywhere.
This fact is branded with EVERY iPhone product photo, from the first to now, the OS is clearly the same & seen EVERYWHERE and EVERYTIME.
Android promises nothing – the Google search bar isn’t even in the same place from phone to phone, again, nothing really wrong with it but the customers you get are NOT THE SAME. As in the photo above, there are no two Android phone screens the same. It promises the same old, same old – buy a new phone, learn a new OS.
The market has splintered into three groups. Apple will own the high-end revenue smartphone market where every year or two, users upgrade for $299 (with telco subsidies) – probably around 65%. RIM will run a distant second here with 20%. And Android, Symbian, WIN & Palm will share the remainder 15% of the high revenue consumer smartphone market.
RIM will still hold the high water market in the enterprise market – maybe with 45% of the market, Apple will get about 35% of this market and the others splitting the remaining 20% of this market.
Android and Symbian will duke it out in the non-loyal, low-end smartphone market where people are willing to trade price for a new OS everytime. They are used to it when they switch from Moto to Nokia to LG to HTC so it’s nothing new. They will buy by ‘specs’ and price and switch again in 6 months. This is the BOGO at $99 and get one free market and seemingly competitive as the 10 others will tussle it out for people willing to switch for a few dollars. As the GigaOm chart notes, there’s growth and revenue but NO profits compared to Apple and less so to RIM.
So, at the end of the day, while Apple won’t be the market share leader, but as they already are now – they are & will be the REVENUE and PROFIT leader of the smartphone market. They will get 70% of the revenue and profit leaving the other 5 to fight over the remaining 30% of the REVENUE … unlike the MP3-DAP market where market share=profits/revenue, the smartphone market is split in where the profits and revenue is one market and the other market is the one with just market share … you know where Apple is going … but Google is a one-trick pony in search only and can’t see much else … as long as their own search bar & YouTube is protected.