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Which Will Be More Critical to Marketing: iPhone or Android?

How Big Will Android Get?

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While there are other mobile operating systems that shouldn’t be ignored (Blackberry for one), there are two that seem to get the most attention, and that may end up competing most for user and marketer attention above the rest in the foreseeable future. These are of course the iPhone OS and the Android OS.

Which will you place more focus on: iPhone or Android? Let us know.

Obviously the iPhone OS runs on iPhones, and now on iPads. These are very popular devices, but in the smartphone market Android is gaining a great deal of ground, and in the tablet market, Android hasn’t really arrived yet, but it is expected to soon.

The Smartphone Space

At Google I/O last month, Google announced that Android activations had passed 100,000 a day. Also last month, a report from the NPD Group found that in the first quarter of 2010, Android devices actually outsold iPhones in the U.S. The legitimacy of this has been disputed, but I don’t think anyone’s disputed the fact that Android use is gaining significant momentum.

The Tablet Space

A recent study from Retevo found that over half of consumers surveyed would buy an Android tablet over an iPad if it were cheaper. $100 Android Tablets are expected to arrive this year. Now that’s not to say that this version of the Android tablet would be the iPad killer. You have to consider that Android will likely be implemented across a wide range of devices, as opposed to the iPhone OS, which will operate on Apple’s devices.

One reason Android has been able to grow so much in the smartphone market because of pricing deals. For example, Verizon has offered buy-one-get-one-free deals on Android phones. The tablet market could see a similar scenario – pricing playing a major role.

What would make you buy an Android Tablet over an iPad?

Google TV – Will It Be a Real Edge?

At Google I/O Google unveiled Google TV, a platform that merges the web experience with the television experience. Launch partners include Adobe, Intel, Sony, Logitech, Best Buy, and Dish Network. Sony will sell TVs and Blu-ray players which come with the platform. Logitech will make set-top boxes, and Dish Network will provide its customers with it.

This week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs implied that it is destined to fail, mainly talking about the lack of success of set-top boxes in general and the lack of nationwide cable services as the main barriers. However, Dish Network is nationwide, and is making moves that could net the company more customers away from competitors, even before Google TV arrives this fall. That could mean good things for Google TV.

What does this have to do with Android? During the announcement, Google demonstrated some of Google TV’s Android integration. You will be able to use Android devices to control Google TV, for one. You will also be able to send apps from your Android device to Google TV to interact with them on your television, effectively turning your TV into an Android device. Google TV users may find Android devices useful.

Not To Take Anything Away from iPhone OS

None of this is to discount the importance of reaching Apple’s users. They are consumers too, and there are a lot of them. However, when resources are limited, businesses may have to do some prioritizing. Ideally, you want to get in front of as many potential customers as possible. It just looks like at this point, that Google is positioning itself to get Android in front of  a whole lot of people. But still, a lot of this is forward looking.

Quick Tips

1. If you can find an angle that makes sense for your business, and you can afford the resources, develop mobile apps for mobile platforms.

2. Regardless of whether or not you have your own apps, look for ways that you can get be found in other mobile apps.

3. Look at the most popular apps and find angles for how your business can take advantage of some of them.

4. There may be a great deal of creativity involved in finding the right angles, but there are so many apps out there already (and the number will continue to grow rapidly), there will continue to be more unique and innovative opportunities. Just explore them. By the way, Google is putting apps directly in its mobile search results now for both Android and iPhone users.

5. Advertise. There is also a growing number of mobile advertising opportunities, including various forms of in-app advertising. Watch for Google to offer more interesting formats, now that it has acquired AdMob and Invite Media.

"What’s important for marketers to realize is that it’s a similar redux of the Mac PC wars in the 80s/90s where Apple puts out a great product but constrains the market with its controls & dictation while Android with its openness & no licensing costs allows it to flurish," Michael Martin, who founded GoogleAndBlog (often cited as a top Android site), and currently runs Mobile Martin tells WebProNews. "Case in point, the iPhone is self constrained to AT&T for some time while Android is available on all 4 major US mobile providers as well [as] pre-paid service Cricket along with 50+ other carriers around the world amounting to over 100,000 activations per day – this provides greater marketshare."

He continues, "Next is mindshare, which for smartphones is predominantly based on the quality and number of applications (as welll device specs & usability)…While Apple allienates developers with its cryptic & arbitrary acceptance rules for the App Store which people had to bite their lip to endure due to both marketshare & mindshare, they are relieved of this with OPTIONS that include the Android Market while they are FREE to provide their applications through other venues."

"So marketers can see the tide is turning while also saving costs. If developing apps, with a cheaper Android programmer in Java vs a more expensive iPhone developer in C as well, there are now tools from Ansca & Rhomobile that allow cross mobile application development with one click instead of recoding for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Palm."

Do you think Android will be a critical platform for reaching consumers? How about compared to the iPhone? Tell us what you think.

Which Will Be More Critical to Marketing: iPhone or Android?
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  • Alex

    We need a more open environment to develop and use apps and that is why Android is the way to go. IPhone OS got nice GUI but Android got the protential.

  • http://www.mobilemartin.com/ Michael Martin

    Whats also encouraging is that developers of Android applications are making their source code public to help others which NPR (National Public Radio) has done recently with their live streaming app.

    ,Michael Martin

    • Chris Crum

      Another interesting point Michael. I’m looking forward to seeing how well Google TV does, and how big a role it plays.

  • Guest

    One way to look at it is in simple math. iPhone OS = AT&T. Android = Carrier of your choice.
    Another equation: Iphone OS = Iphone Android = phone of your choice. To make matters simple Android is offering choice, accessibility (source code, apps, etc.), participation (if you contribute to the source code you have a “say” in what Android will become), and an alternative.

    For one i am a programmer/web designer/sql server developer/program developer and i have seen some bad coding which means sluggish or bad programs. I like where Android is going and 2.2 (froyo) speaks for itself. What were the benchmark results? Something around 400% increase when it comes to performance and speed. Yes, its a round about figure. Can any one else say that? So while the iphone is “pretty” Android delivers and is pretty too.

    Oh, by the way, HTC has done it yet again!!! I got about 10 other developers drop their iphones, blackberry’s and smart phones when they saw me walk in with the HTC EVO. Yup, they are at the store buying one as i type. HTC I LOVE YOU!!!!! Been with you since “Kaiser”.

    • http://www.mobilemartin.com/ Michael Martin

      I applaud what you wrote as it mirrors my thoughts as well what MANY former/shifting iPhone developers are saying when moving on to Android.

      A rooted Evo with Android 2.2 was faster than any current Android phone on the market as the official HTC Sense Froyo Android 2.2 should be out in the next few months.

      I do like the Evo which myself, as well Chris & the WebProNews team at Google I/O received, but my main phone remains the Sony XPERIA X10, which should come out in the US later this Summer along with its mini versions.

      ,Michael Martin

  • http://www.osteopathsportsinjury.co.uk Osic

    Ditto, we do need a more open environment to develop and test apps, anyone with half a brain will realise Android SHOULD be the way forward.

    • Morepork

      …while those of us who have a complete brain will realise there are other options…

  • Morepork

    The Win phone 7 running windows 7 from the cloud will make them both look shabby.

    Check out previews of this offering which should be available within the next few months. It has been designed by the Zune people, has the full resources of Microsoft behind it and I’ll be buying one as soon as I can get my hands on it.

  • Guest

    Dear Big Brother,

    Why have you deleted my comment?

    Heil Hitler regieme; beause that is all you are . Rather like the brainwashing of The Archers, Eastender, Coronation Street.

    Biggest brainwashers ever invented and you as the Hitlerite regime like control, brainwashing so thata Fred Bloggs does’n and never will understand because you deliberately keep them ignorant.

    Facisim at its worst; the Even Moscow showed less control that you lunatics. The soone the UK ides the better
    ]

  • http://droidedge.com BJ

    Mac cripples itself by its insistence on complete control of the “experience” while ignoring the fact that people want the aps they’re turning down.

    Not only that, but Android isn’t limited to phones. In a few years it will be ubiquitous. You’ll be seeing it in gaming consoles, tablets, set top boxes, car interfaces, and devices we haven’t yet even dreamed about.

  • http://businessgrl.rizzardo.net Jule Rizzardo

    I think Android is a more open enviroent as Alex said. With any of the apple products, my main concern would be about waiting for apps to be developed on that specific platform, and troubleshooting bugs when they do occur could be more cumbersome as well.

  • http://drkisling.com dhkisling

    Everything Apple has always had a devoted following and Evangelists for their products. I may purchase an I Phone in the future because I’m in love with my I-touch. That being said, I think droid will have the lions share of the market, while I phones will retain about the same percentage of the market as their PC’s. The Droids also have the trendy, techy newness perception that IPhones have never managed to achieve (Apple somehow really dropped the ball on that), and the perception remains that I phones are only available from one dealer, ATT.

    Droid all the way!

  • http://www.frankwoolf.com Skywoolf

    I don’t buy based on what is cheapest. In my experience doing so can be an expensive mistake.
    In the early days people bought PCs because they were cheaper than Macs so now you have most people using freezing, crashing, virus infested systems because they think they are cheaper.

    Android may well become more popular because so many people look at the price without considering much else. Personally, I will stick with what I trust.

  • Gabrielle

    While people argue that open source is the way things are going, Apple continues to make exceptional products that blow away the competition and convince users to buy them.

  • http://www.MyOnlineMarketingIreland.com Momi

    Simply because Dell, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, Sony and soon yes soon Nokia will be using the Android OS on their phone.

  • http://www.hghpills.org/ HGH

    I will vote for Iphone has it’s too easily to use :)

  • http://www.wapit.eu Alex

    I think that marketing is not to be determined by iPhone or Android as long as the Marketing and Internet Marketing business makes sure that they can be used by both platforms.

    http://www.wapit.eu is a mobile search engine that works on both platforms. This search engine is a real marketing tool to use for internet marketing and runs on internet and all mobile phones.

    I think this is the real future. You can check the English version of Wapit on: http://www.wapit.co.za

  • http://attendstar.com Gary

    Our clients are asking for Android apps 2:1 over any other medium at the moment. This reminds of of the Apple vs. Microsoft PC operating system many years ago.

    People buy hardware/software based on the apps for it. Android developers are swamped right now. That tells the story.

  • http://www.signature.eu.com Steve @ web design Kent

    I agree with Alex. As a web developer, I’d choose open source every time.

  • http://www.theiphonedevelopers.co.uk/ app developer

    Lots of people seem to have missed the marketing aspect of the question; from a marketing perspective iPhone will be more important if you’re marketing a high-end product, whilst if you’re selling low-end services/products the Android platform may be more appropriate.
    It’s all very well us geeks saying Apple should make it open but end users don’t care; end users don’t care about what iPhones don’t do (Flash) – they care about what they do extremely well.

    • Guest

      I don’t think your iphone users being marketed for high-end products vs. Android marketing for low-end services/products really hold up anymore. Maybe a year ago, but since about the last 3 months of this year, especially with the release of the EVO or Incredible this month. You can’t make that assumption for upcoming marketing campaigns.

    • Guest

      Well I cracked and went for the iphone 3gs istead of the evo ….. What a big mistake…. anyone want to swap????!!!!!! No didnt think so ;-(

  • Guest

    I have to go with the android, With the HTC Evo and Incrediable, both of which blows the iPhone out of the water, and I haven’t heard much about the 4 gen iPhone, really stepping up yet. Another plus is that the android is now on all carriers.

    • Guest

      I just got a new HTC Evo and it easily blows the iphone away. Bigger screen, faster internet, faster processor, 8mp camera, it can still get all the same apps you can get on the iphone.

    • Susan-G

      Search “Google being sued” anywhere and see tons of people winning. Use FREE Google but thats all as Google allows cyber stalking, slander fraud search results, invasion of privacy, copyright violations, old dead links, and phony adwords, so dont ever trust this evil company with any purchase.

  • http://www.bankier.ubf.pl sandra

    i will vote for android…its amazing

  • http://www.modernsouthflorida.com/ Toby

    Up to now I would have guessed iphone, but researching smartphones prices yesterday in Europe (I’m based in the US, but also work in Europe a lot) I fell off my chair:

    Unlocked Android phones seem substantially cheaper in Europe than in the US (approx. 1:1 exchange rate based on purchase power; remember a European won’t have to exchange US$ into Euros to buy something). Example Germany: Vodaphone Germany, a major mobile carrier, will release a pre-paid Android smartphone for approx. 130 Euros.

    What that kind of pricing will do to market share is clear.

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