Take Android Market Share Numbers With A Grain Of Salt

by Ostatic Staff - Apr. 18, 2011

Recently, many reports have arrived showing the open source Android mobile OS beating Apple's iPhone and iOS in market share terms, with some over-enthusiastic observers pronouncing the iPhone "dead in the water." These have been accompanies by forecasts showing that Android will trounce the iPhone and iOS over time. In an attempt to get to the bottom of the competition,

Business Insider has conducted its own survey of smartphone users--2,000 of them, to be specific--focusing on the Android vs. iPhone competition. The results, while interesting, show that it's important to take Android market share numbers with a grain of salt.

Here are some of the basic findings from the Business Insider survey:

Almost all of the survey participants already use smartphones

The majority of participants use Android, with most of the rest using iPhones. (This is similar to the recent market-share figures from Comscore, although Android and iPhone appear to be over-represented and BlackBerry appears to be under-represented).

Most survey participants are planning to upgrade to a new smartphone in the next year or two.

Most participants say they will upgrade to the "latest, greatest" smartphone, not an older, cheaper one.

Most survey participants are NOT planning to switch platforms when they upgrade

Most participants say "features" and "platform" are the most important factors when choosing a smartphone.

Of course, the big data point that jumps out of these results is that most of the respondents say they use Android. However, there is no information to accompany the survey results regarding who was surveyed. In many enterprises, Android phones are not even sanctioned as business devices, and internal app development is often done only for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and non-Android devices. Android is, no doubt, emerging as a consumer success story, but the iPhone and the BlackBerry are favored by businesses over Android. Android is also favored by open source-friendly users, and it's not clear from the latest survey results whether the audience was skewed in this way.

Android is such a new operating system still--having only picked up momentum in the last 18 months--that it remains important to watch its success as a consumer phenomenon and a business phenomenon on separate tracks. Time will tell if the OS wins in both of these arenas.