Android’s Rapid Rise

Stewart Tongue

Perhaps the only thing every smart webmaster agrees on is that good business decisions need to be based on the mathematical facts rather than the bravado of someone else’s marketing campaigns.

Nowhere is the gap between marketing and math more obvious right now than in the mobile platform industry. Apple products continue to be regarded as the entry gateway and preferred platform for mobile consumers, but new data being released suggests that Android may quickly become the predominant portable platform in the years to come for several reasons worth investigating further.

At this stage there are still many adult companies that mistakenly believe Apple is in the lead.

Android became the world’s bestselling smartphone operating system in the fourth quarter of 2010, outselling the iPhone nearly two-to-one, according to the Canalys research company thanks to an astounding 615 percent growth rate over the prior year.

In the Western European market the growth of Google’s Android operating system has been even more impressive. International Data Corp. (IDC) released its latest Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker for Europe noting a massive 1,580 percent sales increase for Android in Europe between Q4 2009 and Q4 2010. Those numbers prompted IDC to publish a news release on March 7, 2011 in which IDC research manager Francisco Jeronimo stated: “The last quarter of 2010 clearly shows the trends for the coming years in Western Europe. The Western European mobile phone market will be dominated by smartphones, and Android will be the king of the hill, Android surged from 4 percent to 31 percent market share in less than a year to become the market leader in the fourth quarter of 2010 and the fastest growing operating system ever.” More than 7.9 million Android units shipped in Europe during the fourth quarter of 2010 as compared to only 5.2 million shipped by Apple.

‘The increase in Android’s device sales market share really should come as no surprise; it was predicted by quite a few analysts (and by Pink Visual for that matter, in our 2010 mobile white paper) and the upward trend actually started in late 2009” said Q Boyer, director of public relations for Pink Visual. “It is a testament to Apple’s marketing efficacy that the iPhone is probably still the first device that comes to mind when a consumer hears the word smartphone. That same brand bias is actually still somewhat present in our own mobile marketing to this day, despite the fact that we make more sales to Android devices on a daily basis now than we do to Apple devices.”

It is true that Apple has now more than doubled their potential smartphone customer base by finally offering the iPhone to customers on Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile carrier. However, just as the Verizon user-base now has access to iPhones, AT&T Wireless now has much greater motivation to push Android devices to diversify their smartphone sales and reduce their reliance on Apple specifically. Add in recent news of the multibillion dollar buyout of T-Mobile by AT&T Wireless and reach of Android and iPhone products appears to be on its way to becoming completely carrier neutral.

Android detractors will also claim that the Android numbers are an aggregate of many devices while Apple is a single product line from one central provider resulting in skewed results, however the fact that so many manufacturers and developers can easily release Android mobile products is a major part of the reason why their devices have begun to overwhelm Apple’s singular iPhone product line approach.

Google remains the driving force behind Android and the continuity of having decision-makers from the early days, in Sergey Brin and Larry Page provides an undeniable edge during a key time in the transition from desktop computers to mobile devices.

As Android market share grows and Apple leadership comes into question, there are also several specific factors that affect Adult Mobile providers more specifically. On the iPad and iPhone Apple has made a few infamous decisions that hinder the deployment of adult content.

Apple insists on rejecting the use of Adobe Flash for video streaming, even though it remains the most popular format for consumers. They claim that its a matter of quality control and avoiding reliance on third-party providers of core elements for their products but the feud between Apple and Adobe is already well-documented. The more logical inference is that Apple wants to monopolize as much of the mobile media market as it can, including the devices, the software sales through iTunes and the formats with things like Facetime. Conversely, Android is fully Flash compatible and streams videos from adult sites about as well as a standard PC.

“The thing with Flash is that it shows Apple is really arrogant about their position in the market” said Clement of “Yes, coding for HTML5 is possible and there are ways to make content available for either Android or Apple simultaneously - but the way Apple responds to so many requests from their own customers for Flash compatibility is surprising. In a time where companies are doing all they can to keep their consumers happy, Apple seems to think it knows what its customers want even more than they know for themselves and that’s a very dangerous way to move forward when Google is breathing down their neck.”

iTunes has a strict set of standards that are arbitrarily and unilaterally enforced by Apple. The method does prevent poorly written Apps from reaching consumers, but it is also used to prohibit adult content as a matter of policy. Several major adult providers have worked diligently to get their content listed on iTunes with very limited success. A few bathing suit Apps from Sunny Leone to Playgirl have managed to appear, but in terms of any kind of hardcore experience, Apple has flatly refused to give consumers what they want. Again, Android allows its Marketplace to be far more open and provides developers with the freedom necessary to let consumers decide for themselves which kinds of Apps they want to purchase.

‘On our end, we are not surprised by the growth of the Android OS vis-a-vis the Blackberry and iPhone” said Mike of “Android OS is built on an open-source framework and is developer friendly. We see this as a key element in its growth as many mobile companies feel comfortable with developing applications for Android phones and using the phone and apps as another important sales channel. For instance, just look at the amount of Adult entertainment companies that build Android Porn Apps since Apple will not allow them to do the same.”

At this stage there are still many adult companies that mistakenly believe Apple is in the lead. Some hear the word mobile and think iPhone thanks to the brilliant marketing job Apple has done. However, any company ignoring Android or bending over backwards to please Apple is missing the big picture. Just as AOL gave way to ‘the real internet’ eventually, Apple is in danger of antiquating itself by trying so hard to control the content available to its own user base. The numbers are already starting to show the impact and Steve Jobs is unlikely to be able to bail Apple out again.