google just announced that more than 100,000 android phones are activated every day. a few weeks ago a report from NPD suggested that android has already passed the market share of iphone – in the us. however, if this number is reliable – and the similar announcement of 60,000 a day reported in february appears to have been right on target – it means that at the moment, more android phones are being sold per day, worldwide, than iphones in the previous quarter. (100,000 per day means 9.1m in the quarter, whereas apple sold 8.7m devices last quarter.)
of course we don’t know for sure if that actually means android sells better than iphone as long as we don’t know whether iphones are selling at the same rate as last quarter – but considering that in 2009, android had a market share of 3.9% whereas iphone landed at 14.4%, the tendency is clear: android is zooming past the iphone’s market share, both in the us and worldwide. (note that this is market share – in terms of installed user base the iphone will necessarily be above android for a while longer, since android started at 0 in 2009.)
of course, if one looks at the os’s across device categories – by which i mean, if we take the ipad into account – the picture is less clear. apple is apparently selling a lot of ipads at the moment – and let’s not forget ipod touch. but android is growing fast – my own prediction less than a month ago that android and iphone would be head-to-head by the end of the year now seems ridiculously over-cautious. they already are!
[ok, to be specific about the os numbers: wired reports today that apple sells 200,000 ipads per week, so roughly 30,000 a day. if we guesstimate the sale of iphones to around 100,000 a day and ipod touch at around 60-70% of that, it means that the number of iphone os devices sold every day is still roughly twice that of android. so android essentially needs to beat apple in the tablet market as well, and to build up a solid margin in the smartphone market, before it will be the larger os.]
update 20 may: industry analyst tomi ahonen just finished his review of all the first quarter statistics in the smartphone market. he observes that apple is nearing 3% market share on the global mobile phone market, but doesn’t give the much chance of increasing their smartphone market share much. he compares the company to bmw: “a premium-only car brand which usually sells between about 2% and 3% of total world car production (and almost any year, is the most profitable of all major car brands)”. So apple is likely to make loads of money with an attractive top-of-the-market product, but not to provide the dominant mass-market platform.
interestingly, ahonen also speculates that windows mobile/phone, which is bleeding market share and is down to 7% (below android for the first time) may “migrate from a family of manufacturers to a single manufacturer system – on Kin phones – similar to how Symbian has changed from being supported by most big brands to becoming a Nokia exclusive platform”. think about the contrast this makes with the desktop world, where microsoft’s dominance was founded on the premise of being the os that could run on any (standardized) hardware! now android is taking that role on mobile phones, and microsoft is being squeezed out in an ever-narrower niche? if that comes true, it is a tremendous failure for microsoft.
ahonen also estimates the sales of google’s nexus one phone, at 600,000. it is already clear that the nexus one was not at all the success google hoped for – their attempt at disrupting the hardware business has failed. too bad for mobile phone customers in closed markets like the us and japan, but perhaps not very surprising, given the operator’s strong interest in maintaining their own dominance.
one more thing worth noting: 9m phones per quarter puts android very close to blackberry, which sold a little over 10m last quarter. in a famous prediction last year, the large analysis firm Gartner forecast that android would be the second most popular smartphone platform in the world by 2012, with a market share of 14.5%. well, if the 100k number is right, it looks like android is already at that level, and will grab second place among smartphone os’s in very short time… according to ahonen, though, android’s “dramatic” growth primarily puts pressure on the iphone, not blackberry, because of the touchscreen focus (ahonen believes qwerty models will own a large portion of the market, due to the popularity of texting/sms).