Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place

Phil Schiller and J.K Shin
Bloomberg / Getty Images

Left, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller introduces the iPhone 5 on Sept. 12, 2012. Samsung CEO J.K. Shin brandishes two Galaxy S4 phones at the product launch on March 14, 2013

Who’s winning the mobile platform wars, Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android? It’s one of the blogosphere’s favorite tech topics. Every new nugget of competitive information is fodder for an avalanche of coverage. Oftentimes, a story will declare that Android is beating iOS or that iOS is beating Android. Really, though, it’s silly to obsess over any one data point. If what you’re after is a clear idea of how the world’s two dominant mobile operating systems are doing — rather than an excuse to make bold proclamations and/or cheer for your favorite — you want to consider lots of data points.

So that’s what I’m doing in this post. I’ve rustled up results from a bunch of studies, focusing on information that’s relatively fresh. (In some cases, it dates from the fourth quarter of 2012 — stats for the first quarter of this year are still scarce.)

A few notes on this exercise:

I’m not really going to look at changes over time. Trajectories are important, but there’s a limit to how much I can do in one story.

I won’t do deep analysis of why the numbers look the way they do. I’m collecting rather than interpreting, though I hope that some of you will draw conclusions in the comments.

I’m not going to include specific numbers for anything other than iOS and Android. Sorry, Windows Phone and BlackBerry — I’ll come back to you and how you’re doing at some point, I promise.

I won’t include forecasts and other predictions. I don’t believe in ‘em.

I’m not endorsing any of these studies. That’s dangerous unless you have a thorough knowledge of the methodology behind the numbers. Which I don’t.

Without any further ado, here are some key competitive questions, and the answers as provided by various research firms.

Which platform is selling the most smartphones?

In research conducted from mid-November through mid-February, Kantar Worldpanel Comtech showed sales of all Android phones outpacing the iPhone by a hefty margin: 52.1 percent to 43.5 percent. However, judging from past Kantar studies, these figures may be more of a freeze-frame of the competition at one particular point in time than a permanent reality: last year, Kantar had Android in the lead for a spell, and then it said that iOS had bounced back into first place.

Then there’s Comscore’s MobiLens study, which attempts to measure the smartphone platforms used by everyone in the U.S. over the age of 13 —  not just ones sold recently, but everything. The numbers it released this month are pretty similar to Kantar’s.

That’s the U.S. — how about everywhere else?

Worldwide, all those companies making Android phones sell a lot more units than Apple sells of the iPhone, says IDC. In the fourth quarter of 2012, Android had more than 70 percent share, vs. 21 percent for the iPhone.

And tablets?

Tablet shipment data is harder to come by than data for phones, and the most recent specific numbers by platform I could find were IDC’s full-year estimates for 2012, which it released on December 5 of last year. They had demand for 7″ Android tablets adding up to a decrease in the iPad’s dominance — but iOS still remained the most popular tablet operating system.

Which companies are selling the most smartphones?

Worldwide, according to IDC, Samsung — which deals primarily, but not exclusively in Android models — was the top manufacturer in the fourth quarter of last year, unit-wise. Apple was in second place.

In the U.S., however, Strategy Analytics says that Apple’s iPhone shipments outpaced Samsung. (Strategy Analytics says that its numbers are for “mobile phones,” so they may include plain ol’ flip phones as well as smartphones.)

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: http://techland.time.com/2013/04/16/ios-vs-android/

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