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Analyst Predicts Android Overtaking iPhone In 2012 385

Market watcher Gartner is claiming that by Q4 2012 Google's Android smartphone OS will have overtaken Apple's iPhone. Currently only the sixth most popular phone OS, Android is set to rocket into second place behind Symbian if the predictions are to be believed. The reason for the changing of the guard is that "many handset makers are betting their futures on Android, while Apple is just one company." 2012 rankings place Symbian at the top followed by Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry."
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Analyst Predicts Android Overtaking iPhone In 2012

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  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:37PM (#29696599) Homepage Journal

    The iPhone is ahead because of the apps and the highly capable hardware. If Android phones don't step up to the plate app-wise, AND touch-wise, accelerometer-wise, GPS-wise, compass-wise, iTunes-wise... then you're just going to have a lot of companies betting on the wrong horse.

    OTOH, if Apple doesn't start letting other companies than ATT into the game so that rural areas can have the phone, there will always be an opening for other phones.

  • Gartner (Score:5, Insightful)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:39PM (#29696631) Journal
    You lost me at Gartner.
  • WinMo trap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:42PM (#29696663)

    The problem with WinMo isn't the OS itself. It's that Microsoft never pushed OEMs to build much more into their devices than the existing apps and services supplied with the WinMo development kit. So it's a half-baked system sold as a complete solution.

    Google Android has the exact same problem. Google is focused on developing a great OS, but the better the OS is out of the box, the less likely OEMs are to develop their own IP and create real differentiation, not to mention a truly user-centric experience.

    This is where Apple's iPhone really shines. Since it is in itself a final product, Apple can exert a huge amount of effort in order to meet their own user-centric standards. The product succeeds or fails as a product, not as a delivery of middleware to handset manufacturers.

  • Stupid. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:43PM (#29696679) Journal

    The guy's just counting vendors, not counting users and apps. This is the kind of idiot who believes a spreadsheet jockey who says "if we spend enough on advertising, we'll make a fortune!"


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:45PM (#29696701)

    What are you talking about? Is this another issue with dumbed down US market? I don't own an Android phone, but I played with one. Has touch, has accelerometer, has GPS, has compass, has apps. Fuck iTunes.

  • Biased like crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:45PM (#29696711)

    "many handset makers are betting their futures on Android, while Apple is just one company."

    Lots of companies bet their futures on Linux 5 years ago and are doing just fine, but has Linux surpassed Windows as top desktop OS?

    Google is just one company.

    Microsoft is just one company.

    Just because some handset makers are betting on the future of Android, doesn't mean their bets are panning out.

    Oh yeah.. and their bets can pan out without their OS overtaking the iPhone OS.

  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:46PM (#29696727) Homepage

    I've been an analyst. I've been a consultant. Does anyone realize how little it takes to be either of the two?

    If we simply replace the word "analyst" with the word "dude" the headline more accurately reflects the absurdity of this piece (and its utter lack of press-worthiness).

    i.e: "Dude thinks Android will overtake the iPhone by 2012". ...Yeah, and?

    What's worse is that Wall Street plays this game daily to make non-news look like news, and to make bad news look like good news. Did your company lose money *again* this quarter? No worries, you still beat the expectation of some analyst, er "dude", somewhere.

    This is non-news. Wake me up when Android actually makes a dent in the market. Some dude somewhere thinks it will? Great. Some other dude somewhere thinks the opposite. Must we write an article every time some moderately paid asshole has an opinion?

  • iPod Killer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:49PM (#29696761)
    Isn't that the same year the iPod Killer is supposed to be released?

    Yeah. That's what I thought. Talk to me when something is actually worth talking about.
  • by enkidu ( 13673 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:49PM (#29696765) Homepage Journal

    By that same logic, the iTunes store should have been crushed by rivals (amazon, walmart, emusic et al) in 2007. Guess what? Didn't happen that way. I think that android will gain marketshare, but most of it will be from Symbian and WinCE Mobile (or whatever they're calling it this year). Apple will also gain market share at an equal or greater pace, fueled by the advantage of the app store. Focused competition will beat apple (remember Palm vs Newton?), but unfocused, dispersed competition is going to have a hard time beating Apple at their own game.

  • by rcolbert ( 1631881 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:50PM (#29696781)


    QFT - Phones, service, apps, etc. are all fine, but iTunes is really the killer app or Trojan Horse depending on your point of view. I don't see any application out there to manage content that's nearly as robust and sustainable as iTunes. There might be desktop applications that are better at one thing or another, but the whole package is compelling. I believe most people trust that iTunes and the Apple store will be there years down the road, and are more willing to bet their music libraries on Apple's reputation. Show me the iTunes killer first, then let's talk about an iPhone killer. Otherwise, we're putting the cart before the trojan horse.

  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:52PM (#29696803) Homepage Journal

    The iPhone OS is pretty nice but the lack of multitasking is annoying.
    The hardware is good but outside of looks it isn't better than what HTC and others offer. The actual hardware cpu/gpu of the ZuneHD is much better than iPhones.
    iTunes? who cares. I have an iPod Touch and I hardly ever use iTunes I do everything over wifi.

    1. Apps. Android needs more developers for more apps. With more android phones hitting the market the developers will follow so will the apps.
    2. Betting .Apple is not selling the iPhone OS to other companies so they can not bet on the iPhone so Android, S60, and WindowsMobile are the only games in town. Android seems like the best bet to me.
    3. Hardware The new Samsung Moment, HTC Hero, and the Motorola Clik all look like very good phones and in some ways are better than the iPhone GS.
    4. Carriers. Android is going to be available in the US on T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, and probably AT&T soon. Unlocked phones are already available in the EU so Android is available on a lot more carriers.

    The iPhone is a very nice phone but AT&T is a lot more expensive than Sprint and Sprint's customer service has gotten a lot better. If I could get an iPhone on Sprint I would buy one but I will probably get a Hero or a Moment.

  • Two Predictions (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BryanL ( 93656 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [fbrehtwol]> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:52PM (#29696813)

    I have 2 predictions for Android (though this might seem obvious to some people.)

    First, if Android overtakes Apple, it will be because Android eats into the market share of other mobile handsets/OSes. It probably won't hurt Apple as much as other companies.

    Second, Android probably won't overtake Apple any time soon. Having a single company means a focused business strategy. Having many companies involved means a market strategy that is unfocused and hard to define. For every 2 steps forward the Android companies make, they will take 1 step backwards. There are just too many disparate interests involved. If Android surpasses the iPhone, it will be long after 2012.

  • by sopssa ( 1498795 ) * <> on Friday October 09, 2009 @02:54PM (#29696827) Journal

    As compared to US market, in Europe it has been pretty common to buy your phone from store and *then* get a contract for it (or prepaid, refillable SIM card). The "make a contract with us, get a phone and pay for it monthly" came maybe 4-5 years ago, and they're not still even locked the operator you bought it from - you can switch to another operator and just pay the monthly price for the phone.

    Interestingly, iPhone changed this a little bit in Europe where people haven't got used to it. It was exclusively available from single operators per country and you had to make a contract with them too. A bad market for Apple.

    I rather buy the phone once than get tricked in to paying more to it, but just monthly for a long time. Even more so if its locked to a single operator.

    That is why Android will be a lot more succesful in Europe than iPhone is. And what comes to software and the phones supporting Android, theres still only a few phones out and software starting to come out too as the userbase grows. This is different from Apple's way who just made a single phone, so it takes more time to grow.

  • by znu ( 31198 ) <> on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:01PM (#29696965)

    Yeah. Isn't this exactly what we heard about Microsoft's PlaysForSure platform? "It's a whole multivendor platform. Apple is just one company. Of course PlaysForSure will win." How did that turn out again?

    I'm not necessarily saying the iPhone will become (and remain) as dominant in the smart phone market as the iPod is in the music player market, mind you. But the specific reasoning behind this specific prediction is clearly faulty. Tech industry analysts tend to assume that there's something inherently attractive to consumers about multivendor platforms, but the consumer market has demonstrated several times that this is just not the case. Consumers don't care about multivendor platforms in any abstract sense; consumers buy products, not platforms. They'll only gravitate toward multivendor platforms because of the specific products offered within those platforms.

    If, for most people, there is no specific Android product (i.e. combination of device and software) that is superior to the iPhone, there is no reason the iPhone cannot outsell all Android products combined.

    Note, again, that I'm not necessarily saying this will happen, just that there's no inherent reason to believe it can't.

  • by Inakizombie ( 1081219 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:35PM (#29697411)
    Seconded. I don't need to attach my G1 to a computer to do any sort of updates or activation, and all the hardware features you describe have been in the G1 since day one. And yes, with the 1.6 update it has multi-touch.
  • by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:40PM (#29697475)

    This is just an analyst's prediction though. So a heaping teaspoon of salt is required while reading. Sure it's possible, but is it really likely at this point?

    No but it does cause a lot of ads to be served on this site.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:56PM (#29697679)
    The iPhone is ahead because of a bunch of cultists and a couple years of lead time. 50,000 bad apps and 100 good ones does not make the Apple platform better.

    Considering Android already has an accelerometer, GPS, and compass I'm not sure what you're getting at.

    These other companies don't actually have the option of betting on the Apple platform. They have to release something or fail completely. They might as well use Android considering the alternatives.

    The iPhone is a nice phone but it is tied to the Apple hardware and the whole Apple ecosystem. Not for me. thanks. I'll stick with my Android phone.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @03:57PM (#29697683) Journal
    Really depends on what you mean by "#1". In terms of being "the best phone available", it'll probably shake down more or less as it does with PCs vs. Macs:

    At any given moment, you can find PCs that have cutting edge features that Macs won't have for a while yet; but, while PCs run the gamut from superb to crap, Macs are relatively consistent and don't have a real low end. In the same way, iPhone specs are consistently better than average(touch screen that is actually functional, reasonable CPU/GPU/RAM/Flash, etc.); but lags behind the high end of the android/winmo handsets(no OLED, lowish end camera, slower CPU, and so on).

    If you interpret "#1" in the sense of market share, or at least smartphone share, though, android could pretty easily meet that criterion. Android devices should cut through the "featurephone" or high-end dumbphone market with ease, and will probably also grab a decent chunk of windows mobile(unless MS can stop sucking at it) and symbian(unless nokia can switch over to maemo quickly and competently) market share. Plus, android pretty much has it made among those carriers who can't get iPhone agreements with Apple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:25PM (#29698051)

    App-wise: The only thing Apple has in this respect is a head start. If they keep annoying their developers and more Android phones are released, making a bigger market, this advantage will be lost.

    Touch-wise: The Android OS is perfectly capable, touch-wise (apart from fears of Apple suing them for multitouch, which as I hear is going to be dealt with soon).

    Accelerometer-wise: I can pretty easily write an app for my G1 that'll use the on-board accelerometers, and they're quite responsive. You don't have the slightest clue what you're talking about, do you?

    GPS-wise: An Android app I've designed and currently maintain relies very heavily on GPS. And it works. Now it's not just that you don't know what you're talking about, you plain and simply refuse to know what you're talking about, right?

    Compass-wise: The G1 had compass support in it long before the iPhone 3Gs, the first iPhone with a compass, was released. You're a troll, ain'tcha? Who's a cute widdle twoll? Who is? You are! You are! Awww!

    iTunes-wise: Okay, at this point your argument effectively devolves into "if it's not Apple, it's inferior to Apple, because Apple is superior to not-Apple solely by virtue of it being Apple", given "iTunes-wise" requires Apple to actively decide to allow iTunes access to Android phones. I find the Amazon MP3 store (comes with the G1) to be quite usable.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:33PM (#29698163)

    Because it's not, really. It's a rant on how someone loves their phone, and that no one could possibly make a better one.

    What the hell. The post you were referring to, said phones were besides the point! It was about how iTunes is the feature that drives phone sales, and said nothing whatsoever about what you are claiming they rant about.

  • by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:35PM (#29698191) Homepage Journal

    So, three years ago would you have predicted that Apple would be a dominant cell phone manufacturer?

    Didn't even know about the iPhone at that time?

    Hmmm... you think that's air you're breathing?

    Things change. I'd doubt that Apple is just going to sit on its hands for the next couple of years.

  • by koolfy ( 1213316 ) <koolfy@gma i l . c om> on Friday October 09, 2009 @04:46PM (#29698341) Homepage Journal

    And it will be in beta for at least five years...

    So should be Vista.

    Google's Beta is Microsoft/Apple's post-Rock-Solid-Stable equivalent. Really, and for the last time, versions and release names are nothing but subjective marketing data.

  • Re:Mod parent up! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chyeld ( 713439 ) <> on Friday October 09, 2009 @05:12PM (#29698649)

    More importantly a metric ton of apps still only boils down to a bushel of 'good' apps. The iPhoine definately suffers from the "Oh Wow! Someone is making money on this, lets release everyhing we can think of for it. Maybe we can too!" syndrome.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @05:33PM (#29698893)

    Apple IS NOT the dominant cell phone manufacture, never was, never will. Nokia IS the dominant cell phone manufacturer.

    The reason Apple will NEVER be dominant is because Apple plays for a specific audience, not the whole planet. Nokia appeals to the whole planet with a range of hardware and software affordable to budget constrained people and feature full (read: pricey) enough for more demanding customers.

    Sure, Apple plays an important role today and will continue to be relevant in the future, but calling them "dominant" is a little exaggeration.

  • Ballmer was right (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @07:27PM (#29699963)

    The iPhone does not have significant market share, and probably never will. When I look around my office at what phones people have, less than 10% are iPhones.

    Apple has people tricked right now; they're able to claim a higher market share than reality, by qualifying it: smart phones. In other words, if you ignore 95% of the products that are currently in use, and just focus on powerful/expensive high-end phones made in the last 2 years, then Apple is at least on the map.

    When the 5 year old phone in my pocket finally gets wet one too many times, though, and I go looking for a cheapo replacement, guess what I'm going to be looking for. Something that costs less than $200 w/out a contract, or is free with one. Apple isn't going to be there to compete with Android.

    Electronics are cheap. And now the software is free. I'm not saying Apple sucks, just that they don't have a chance. If they try to compete in this market, they're not going to make any money anyway. And that's why they're not going to.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2009 @10:11PM (#29700883)

    Guess you never heard about Blackberry or Symbian then ...

    Symbian has about 50% market share for smartphones and Blackberry around 20%

    Leave your mom's basement for a moment and do a reality check once in a while

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.