Game Marketing Tips, Analysis, and News

Monday, August 15, 2011

Smartphone Share: Android, Apple Gain

This chart should look similar to the last several.
This news is getting very familiar: Once again Android gained market share, and so did Apple's iOS, and everyone else lost. Smartphone sales were up 74% in the second quarter of 2011 compared to last year, as smartphone sales grabbed 25% of all phone sales (compared to 17% last year). This is while overall sales of mobile devices rose by 16.5%. The mobile market is growing, and the smartphone share is growing very rapidly. There were 108 million smartphones sold in Q2, worldwide. Which is around two orders of magnitude more than videogame consoles sold in Q2, in case you're wondering why intelligent game publishers are eyeing the smartphone market. Those that aren't already there, that is.

The big losers for Q2 were, of course, Nokia and RIM, as Symbian and Blackberry continue to fade. Microsoft, too, lost ground, as we await the first Nokia phones with Windows Phone 7 software on them later this year. There's a lot more interesting data on manufacturer market share here.

While Android clearly has a commanding market share lead, Apple is still making more money (about two-thirds of all the smartphone profits belong to Apple). Developers seem to be approaching the Android marketplace a little differently, too, according to the data from Mobilewalla, an app discovery firm. More than half of all the apps in the Android Market are created by developers who have authored more than 100 apps.

So Android has a lot of developers who are pushing out huge amounts of apps... which may certainly explain the general perception that Android apps are lower quality than iOS apps. Also, Android apps are getting updates at almost 3x the rate of iOS apps, which may be a result of the fragmentation of the hardware in the Android market. I'm sure there are many Android apps that get released, and then the developers find out it has a problem with a particular smartphone they didn't test on. Apple's relative scarcity of different models of phones does have an advantage after all.

Mobilewalla's data also seems to indicate that Android apps, once you get out of the top 30, are even more invisible than typical iOS apps. In other words, if you're not one of the popular apps, you're not getting found or downloaded. So the larger size of the Android market isn't helping smaller developers; the discovery problem is still just as great.

I'm sure we'll continue to see nifty advances in smartphone hardware and software from both Google and Apple. I wish they'd take just a fraction of the effort they put into the technology and put it towards improving their app stores. I doubt that's going to happen, though, but I'd really like to be wrong about that.

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