JK on the Run’s Kevin C. Tofel is reporting that a new Nielsen study says that Android phones have 27 percent of the US market for smartphones, beating out Apple’s iPhone for the first time. At the same time, another report says that Android has an even heftier 34 percent of the market, making it the country’s most popular mobile OS.
Both factoids sounded familiar. Sure enough, back in May yet another firm (NPD) said that Android had 28 percent of the market to iPhone’s 21 percent. Lesson: Don’t take research reports as gospel.
Everybody agrees that Android phones are outselling iPhones in terms of units. Given how many models are on the market, and how well-marketed some of them are, it’s not surprising that it’s taken the lead–the shocker is that it took this long for such a pervasive OS to beat one that’s on only two phones from one carrier.
For consumers, the unit-sales horse race isn’t all that interesting. It’s the overall health of the competing ecosystems–as reflected in quality and quantity of third-party apps, services, and accessories–that matters. And while Android is making rapid progress here, nobody who’s trying to be even sort of objective will make the case that the Android Market is now the equal of the iPhone Store.
Android now has users in vast quantities; it’s up to Google to polish up the still-mediocre Market and do everything in its power to help developers create lots of exceptional apps.