Android vs. iOS: By the Numbers

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The competitive rivalry between iOS and Android has now been going on for over five years, and the two software platforms continue to fight each other in a two-horse race for supremacy in the mobile space. No other mobile operating system even comes close. Not Windows Phone. Not BlackBerry 10. Not anything. So, who is winning the iOS vs. Android war?

Time reporter Harry McCracken has collected and compiled statistical data about iOS and Android from various research firms, with most of the information being from this past fourth quarter or later, to provide a glance at the battle from a numerical perspective. Based on numbers, and solely numbers, the mobile platforms war looks something like this. 

  • Android smartphones outsold iOS by 51.2 percent to 43.5 percent in the United States from mid-November to mid-February (Source: Kantar)
  • Android smartphones accounted for 70.1 percent of worldwide market, versus 21 percent for iPhone, in the fourth quarter of 2012 (Source: IDC)
  • The iPad held a 53.8 percent share in 2012 for tablets worldwide, while Android tablets accounted for 42.7 percent (Source: IDC)
  • Samsung is selling the most smartphones worldwide, with a 29 percent stake in this past fourth quarter, over 21.8 percent for Apple (Source: IDC)
  • In the United States, however, Apple and the iPhone maintained a marginal lead over Samsung at 34 percent versus 32.3 percent respectively in the fourth quarter (Source: Strategy Analytics)
  • Apple is making the most money among smartphone manufacturers by far, raking in 72 percent of industry profit in the last quarter of 2012, while Samsung stole 29 percent¬†(Source: Canaccord Genuity)
    • Since other handset makers like HTC and Motorola broke even or posted a loss, Apple and Samsung account for more than 100 percent combined
  • Both the App Store and Google Play Store are said to exceed 800,000 apps, although Google is said to have recently purged a significant number of spam and malware apps
  • The quality of iOS apps is said to be marginally better than those on Android (Source: uTest / Applause)
  • Android users accounted for 51 percent of app downloads in the first quarter, whereas iOS users claimed a 40 percent stake (Source: Canalys)
  • iOS developers make far more money from their apps, however, claiming 74 percent of all revenues in the first quarter over 20 percent for Android (Source: Canalys)
  • iOS devices were also being used to access the mobile web on a much higher basis (61.4 percent) than Android (24.9 percent) in March (Source: NetMarketShare)
  • iOS held 62 percent enterprise usage, compared to 35 percent for Android, in the fourth quarter of 2012 (Source: Citrix)

The full article is worth giving a read, as it provides more detailed charts and analysis for these numbers. Nevertheless, it is apparent that both iOS and Android have a number of strong points. iOS has strengths in mobile web usage, its app ecosystem, and overall usage in the United States, whereas Android prevails in almost every sales and usage statistic worldwide. Which platform do you think is prevailing?


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