CNET reported a few days ago (while I was busy at the World Boardgaming Championships, or I’d have blogged on this sooner) that Android hits top spot in U.S. smartphone market.
There’s a boatload of bad news in the numbers for Apple fans, but no surprises for anyone who has been following my strategic analyses for the last seven months. In the first quarter Android new sales passed Apple’s but ran second behind Blackberry sales; in the second quarter, Android has passed Blackberry and opened up an 11% gap in front of iPhone sales.
Other reports indicate that, at about 160K per day, Android activations now exceed the totals for iPhone 3, iPhone 4, and iPad combined.
Apple’s bid to define and control the smartphone market is going down to defeat. I was going to describe the process as “slow but inexorable”, but that would be incorrect; it’s fast and inexorable. My prediction that Android’s installed base will pass the iPhone’s in the fourth quarter of this year no longer looks wild-eyed to anybody following these market-share wars; in fact, given the trends in new-unit sales a crossover point late in the third quarter is no longer out of the question.
There’s an important point that, so far, all the coverage seems to have missed. You can only see it by juxtaposing the market-share trendlines for both 1Q and 2Q 2010 and noticing what isn’t there – any recovery due to the iPhone 4. This product has not merely failed to recover Apple’s fortunes against Android, it has not even noticeably slowed Apple’s loss of market share to Android.
Forget for now the blunder the trade press has been calling “Antennagate”; I had fun with it at the time, but bruising as it was, it’s only a detail in the larger story. With the iPhone 4, Apple tried to counter the march of the multiple Androids using a single-product strategy, which was doomed to fail no matter how whizbang the single product was. As I predicted would happen months ago, the ubiquity game is clobbering the control game; Apple has wound up outflanked, outgunned, and out-thought.