The Smartphone Wars: a bit of Christmas cheer

On Google+, Andy Rubin reports: “There were 3.7M Android activations on 12/24 and 12/25.”

That’s a 170% spike over the 700K activations per-day Rubin announced on 20 Dec. I’ve previously observed that only about 1 in 10 of Android activations show up in the smartphone statistics for the U.S. so Android is probably looking at about 370K new U.S. smartphone users for Christmas, the way comScore counts them.

I’m guessing Apple won’t be releasing the corresponding number, because on previous trends it would only be about 185K Christmas users for their smartphone – and that wouldn’t look good. Well, it could be worse; they could be RIM.

UPDATE: My spike-percentage calculation was wrong. Way too low.

67 thoughts on “The Smartphone Wars: a bit of Christmas cheer

  1. “There were 3.7M Android activations on 12/24 and 12/25.”

    That’s a 37% spike over the 700K activations per-day….

    No it isn’t.

  2. Google needs to get every compyter — linux mac and windows — running Android apps. They need to do this before Microsoft forces its way in from the other direction.

  3. “I’ve previously observed that only about 1 in 10 of Android activations show up in the smartphone statistics for the U.S. so Android is probably looking at about 370K new U.S. smartphone users for Christmas, the way comScore counts them.”

    for 24 and 25 it will be more than 1 in 10 because some countries do not have christian state religion

  4. >No it isn’t

    Hm. You are right – I dropped a stitch somewhere. (700000*2)*2.7 = 3780000.0, so it’s just shy of a 170% increase. Will correct.

  5. Of course, Apple only officially releases quarterly figures. But Flurry can be of help.

    http://blog.flurry.com/bid/79682/iOS-Android-Shatter-Records-on-Christmas-Day

    If Android was averaging 700K/day, that means the other 800K/day Flurry detects were iOS. And unless December 24 was _below_ average (highly unlikely) no more than 3M of the two-day total Rubin reports would have been on Christmas, meaning at least 3.8M (and probably a good deal more) of the 6.8M Flurry detected that day were iOS. Doesn’t sound too grim for Apple.

    That said, tablets do make up for a larger portion of iOS activations than Android activations.

    I’m a little lost as to how a two-day rate of 1.85M/day is a 37% increase over a usual average of 700K/day, by the way. ;)

  6. Maybe the numbers were off a bit due to the US-centric-ness of the christmas holiday?

  7. —> On Google+, Andy Rubin reports: “There were 3.7M Android activations on 12/24 and 12/25.”

    —> That’s a 270% spike over the 700K activations per-day Rubin announced on 20 Dec.
    ^ ok fine so far…

    I’ve previously observed that only about 1 in 10 of Android activations show up in the smartphone statistics for the U.S. so Android is probably looking at about 370K new U.S. smartphone users for Christmas, the way comScore counts them

    Huh? 10 times 3.7M would be 37M, not 370K. Am I reading this wrong?

  8. @PJ

    Maybe the numbers were off a bit due to the US-centric-ness of the christmas holiday?

    How is Christmas US-centric?

  9. “That’s a 270% spike over the 700K activations per-day Rubin announced on 20 Dec. ”

    No, 3.7M is 170% over 1.4M (two days at 700K/day). It is 270% of 1.4M.

    This is a variation on something that really irks me about how people express relative proportions. They use “___x more” interchangeably with “____x as much as”

    Let’s say a product provides 100 $foo of value, and a NEW IMPROVED version comes along and offers 400 $foo. The ad touting this improved version will invariably say “Now with 4x more $foo!” But that’s wrong. 400 is only 300 more than 100, or “3x more”. The only accurate way to describe it as “4x” is “4x as much”. If a competing product provides 110 $foo, you wouldn’t say “It has 1.1x more” or “110% more”, because 1.1x more or 110% more would be 210 $foo, not 110.

    And don’t get me started on “___x LESS”. There is no sane way to parse that construct.

  10. In other news, Nokia Lumia failed misserably over the holiday season. Blackberry might have had some sort of rebound.

    iPhone 4S Leads Galaxy S2 in Christmas Smartphone Sales, Blackberry Bouncing Back
    http://www.itproportal.com/2011/12/21/iphone-leads-galaxy-s2-christmas-smartphone-sales-blackberry-bouncing-back/

    As The Financial Times reveals, iPhone models accounted for 37% of handset sales across UK.

    On the Android side, the Samsung Galaxy II leads the way landing in second place of the best selling smartphones.

    RIM has also hit the market with three successful BlackBerry Curve models in the top 10 handsets, despite the highly publicised coverage failure a few months ago.

    Nokia, meanwhile, has apparently missed out on the holiday shopping frenzy, as its Lumia wasn’t in the top ten smartphones list.

    This is just business as usual. iPhone big, Android bigger, Blackberry happy with any good news, and MS Windows Phone failing miserably:

    Former Microsoft Exec Scopes Windows Phone’s Failure
    http://mobile.pcmag.com/device2/article.php?CALL_URL=http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2398070,00.asp

    Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS hasn’t made much of a splash in 2011. Although it’s gotten relentlessly positive reviews and has phones available on all four major carriers, it managed to achieve just 1.5 percent market share in the third quarter of 2011, according to Gartner.

    I asked it before. How long before Ballmer leaves to spend more time with his family?

  11. IGnatius said: Google needs to get every compyter — linux mac and windows — running Android apps. They need to do this before Microsoft forces its way in from the other direction.

    Are you high?

    Seriously, I’d ask more detailed questions about what the hell you might even mean by that, but it’s so farkin’ crazy that I’m not sure it’s worthwhile.

  12. @Sigvald eo
    The idea is simple:.make a run-time engine (emulated) that can use the android market. That way Android can take over personal computing.

    Ignatious seems to think MS will try to do something like that with their own phone aps.

    Not unreasonable I think.

  13. @Winter Says:

    That way Android can take over personal computing. … Not unreasonable I think.

    If Google really tried to leverage Android, it’s within the realm of possibility in the next few years that it could become the dominant platform for everything with a GUI. But Google doesn’t seem to be thinking that direction and it would be a long shot. But I reserve the right to daydream.

  14. Android/Apple need to include a build in encrypted email system to compete with RIM for execs, accountants and such. Doing so would be the final nail in RIM’s coffin.

  15. @Doc Merlin

    Android/Apple need to include a build in encrypted email system to compete with RIM for execs, accountants and such. Doing so would be the final nail in RIM’s coffin.

    I think the final nail is already in. We’re just waiting for the coffin to be lowered fully into the ground.

  16. @Tom I was thinking that there’s some large asian markets that don’t give a whit about Christmas.

  17. That’s quite a little moneymaker for Microsoft. What does MS get – $6 per Android sale?

  18. Doc Merlin,

    They would need full-device encryption and the other BlackBerry security features in order to compete in those segments of the market. Of course with the U.S. military approving Dell handsets running (custom?) Android 2.2, maybe those features have already arrived on the Android platform…

  19. nelson@nelson-desktop:~/osm/gpx$ sudo apt-get install android
    [sudo] password for nelson:
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    E: Couldn’t find package android
    nelson@nelson-desktop:~/osm/gpx$

    Dang!

  20. >The idea is simple:.make a run-time engine (emulated) that can use the android market. That way Android can take over personal computing.
    >Ignatious seems to think MS will try to do something like that with their own phone aps.
    >Not unreasonable I think.

    The problem is something like this (without some major change) would fail for the same reason that tablets up until now have failed. The interaction with a desktop computer and with a touch screen computer is different and requires different design decisions and trade offs. Windows tablets failed because windows applications are too information and interface dense to work on a touch screen. By comparison, android or other mobile applications would suffer from being too information and interface light for a desktop computer. There’s certainly the possibility that with proper MVC design that you could have a large chunk of your application be instantly portable and “simply” need to rewrite the UI, but at the same time, that’s more or less true of most current programming languages, and not something particularly unique to dalvik or objective c.

  21. @tmoney:
    As I understand it, Activities in KDE allow you to have very radically different desktops, and easily switch between them.
    So you could have one or more Android desktops for your light applications, and retain several traditional desktops for your mainstream work (with the focus follows cursor behavior I have seen requested in the Ubuntu jumps the shark post).

  22. @tmoney

    It’s called a “shell”.

    It appears to be what MS is doing for Win8 and it’s pretty much a necessity if you want a “one ring to rule them all” OS from top to bottom.

  23. @tmoney
    Android already makes apps for tablets auto scale for screen size. Both linux and java allow mouse input. Should be solvable.

    Initialy, the interface would behave phone like. That would improve later on.

  24. Eric, a question for you about vendor specific upgrades. In the past you have expressed the view that vendors and carriers will be forced to move to raw Android for their phones due to the high release rate and the deadweight porting cost of their bloat. However, this article surveys the current situation in the USA, and the indications are that the alternative path (simply lagging and skipping on the upgrades) seems to be the current preference of the carriers. MY tmo phone is on 2.2 which is something like 3 releases back, with no upgrade available. And of course it looks like Amazon and Baidu are going to fork leading to even more fragmentation.

    I was wondering if you had an opinion on this.

  25. Another take:

    http://www.interactioned.com/post/14622002217/700-000-daily-activations-isnt-good-news

    “A lot of the press have been trumpeting Andy Rubin’s tweet that as of a few days ago over 700,000 Android devices were being activated daily. One ridiculous report over at AllThingsD even floated the notion that we could see 2.5 million activations by the end of next year. But as far as I can tell, the 700,000 number isn’t good for Android. It’s bad. It means that Android activation growth has slowed dramatically, by almost a factor of three.

    The last time Rubin talked about Android activations was back in June, when he said that 500,000 devices were being activated daily, and that they were seeing week-to-week activation growth of 4.4%. There’ve been about 25 weeks between the two tweets. Some quick math reveals that week-to-week growth since June hasn’t been anywhere close to the 4.4% Rubin was seeing. It’s now closer to 1.4%.

  26. @Nigel
    During the last 18 months, the daily activation rate uncreased by 30,000 each month.

    There has been no change in this increase. The error is to use exponential growth (%). The increase is constant (or quadratic in total).

  27. >Some quick math reveals that week-to-week growth since June hasn’t been anywhere close to the 4.4% Rubin was seeing. It’s now closer to 1.4%.

    And yet, in smartphones Android’s userbase expansion and marketshare growth are on the same trend they’ve been since early 2010. So it’s not clear what this “slowdown” means, if anything.

  28. @phil: com score for Nov is out

    Eric predicted 50% market share for Android by end of October
    link

    Those comscore numbers show Android at 46.9% at the end of August having gained 3.1% over the preceding 3 months.

    Only, this page says 43.7%, while this page says 43.8%.

  29. >They would need full-device encryption and the other BlackBerry security features in order to compete in those segments of the market.

    If I were Google, I’d be tempted to see if RIM, which apparently really really really wants to remain an independent company, would sell me just the BBM/BES/BIS operations. Especially if they might be interested in chunks of MMI instead of cash.

  30. >Eric predicted 50% market share for Android by end of October

    That’s right, I did. Well, it’s going to take another couple months. And I did warn that simple trend analysis is perilous.

  31. Looking at Eric’s stat page:
    http://www.catb.org/esr/comscore/

    There definitely seems to be a leveling off of Android market share growth in November and an increase for Apple. The changes seem entirely based on a slower growth of the Android total user base in November. Apple’s user base growth did not change at all during the last months.

    Total number of “new” smartphone users grew less by 1M from October to November. This “reduced” growth of smartphone users was almost entirely due to people who “would have bought” an Android phone.

    So, what happened in November that made no impression, positive nor negative, on the iPhone market, but did make potential Android clients decide not to buy an Android phone (yet)?

  32. > I asked it before. How long before Ballmer leaves to spend more time with his family?

    Looks like Stephen Elop should possibly go first, except in his case it might be to spend more time at Microsoft (where he’ll go on to do fantastic things, I’m sure). I find it strange that the NoWin consortium should have such problems in their relations with the carriers. Those kinds of deals have been Nokia’s bread and butter in many markets in the past, but now it looks like Microsoft is kindly screwing it up for them. Nokia’s move to Windows was supposedly all about having a third ecosystem besides iOS and Android, and the carriers said they wanted it, except now they don’t, not on Microsoft’s terms, anyway.

  33. @esr – your prediction was once android gets to the magic 50%, the trend accelerates and “disruptive collapse” for apple ensues. But it seems that the opposite is happening, Android adoption is slowing down as it approaches 50%.

    still think 50% is magic?

  34. >still think 50% is magic?

    Yes. That’s orthogonal to when Android gets there, which does look like it will be delayed a few months.

    Actually, you’ve conflated a couple different arguments. It’s not specifically Android going over 50% marketshare that threatens Apple with disruptive collapse – it’s enough consumers deciding that the disruptive product is as good as they want. 50% is magic because above that point positive externalities tend to produce runaway winners in products that draw value from a network. The effect is similar to technology disruption (that is, if you’re a higher-price producer with a smaller network and thus on the wrong end of the effect) but the mechanism is different.

    I should also note that there have been signs from about the last quarter that aggregate demand for smartphones is softening and everybody’s growth rates are going to wobble more than in the past. Apple had its turn in September.

  35. @esr one of the problems with your take is it assumes all consumers are the same. fact is, apple consumers spend more money/are more lucrative than android consumers. android consumers are (in significant numbers) just buying phones that happened to have android (buying cheapest phone). If they don’t use their phone as a smart phone much, do they really matter?

    this is why developers tend to develop for iOS first. And the apple app store has much more revenue that the android marketplace. this is why the ad networks show outsized iOS hits vs Android. And browsing stats always seem to over-represent iOS vs Android relative to their marketshare.

    the other piece you miss I think is the synergies between the iPad/iPod touch/iTunes and the iPhone. They all play very well together and Android has no answer to this yet. I know several people who have gotten iPads and it’s led them down the iPhone path. I haven’t seen any hard data on this though.

    that being said, I think there is room for more than one winner. the market is massive. mobile development isn’t that hard compared to say mac vs PC development. part of the reason for that is the apps tend to be simpler.

    supposedly MSFT is going to make a massive WP7 push next year. any predictions on that? I have no idea…. my gut is it will fail as it’s too late. but the WP7 products are surprisingly good.

  36. Android must be eerily close to a 50% world wide market share, seeing how high it was in Q3:

    Infograph Shows Mobile Phone Statistics for 2011
    http://www.itproportal.com/2011/12/30/infograph-shows-mobile-phone-statistics-2011/

    But this article is also interesting, it shows there currently still are around 3 feature phones per smartphone that are just waiting to be replaced. So, the user-bases of Android and iPhone can easily triple in the next year:

    It’s Still A Feature Phone World: Global Smartphone Penetration At 27%
    http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/28/its-still-a-feature-phone-world-global-smartphone-penetration-at-27/

    And yet, even though it’s “Android vs. iPhone” in terms of consumer choice, VisionMobile says there won’t be a single winner in the smartphone race. Both platforms have reached critical mass with hundreds of millions of users, making it almost impossible to displace them. As for RIM and Windows Phone, the jury’s still out on whether or not there’s even room for a third player and whether Microsoft, with Nokia’s help, can move into position number three.

    Although the report doesn’t dive into speculation about what happens next, when the rest of the non-smartphone world upgrades their handsets, it does examine the network effects belonging to today’s dominant players. Not only are these platforms winning because of their technological sophistication, but also because of their application ecosystems. With 500,000+ iOS apps and 300,000 on Android, both platforms have reached critical mass. When that occurs, the platform begins to grow exponentially. However, app counts alone aren’t the ultimate measure of long-term health – the sustainability of the developer ecosystem is.

    Last summer: Android Outsells iPhone 5-to-2, Has Nearly 50 Percent of the Market
    http://www.dailytech.com/Android+Outsells+iPhone+5to2+Has+Nearly+50+Percent+of+the+Market/article22326.htm

  37. @phil
    “supposedly MSFT is going to make a massive WP7 push next year. any predictions on that? I have no idea…. my gut is it will fail as it’s too late. but the WP7 products are surprisingly good.”

    Android’s installed base is close to 250M. iPhone around half of that. WP7 does not have to be “surprisingly good”, they will have to be “spectacularly excellent” or “unbelievably cheap” to get a foot hold in the market.

    More than 20M Android phones and 10M iPhones will be sold every month. Even for a 10% market share (installed base), more than 100M WP7 phones have to be sold in the next 12 months. For a new platform, incompatible with whatever is on the market, with only a single strong backer (Nokia), this is a tall order.

    Surprisingly good will not cut it. And it shows, as WinPhone only got a 1.5% market share in Q3 2011 (see link above).

  38. A counter opinion. Which also suggests MS will simply buy RIM:

    Microsoft Could Seize Third Place in Mobile in 2012
    http://itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/mobile-cloud-view/microsoft-could-seize-third-place-in-mobile-in-2012/

    Scoble also emphasized that Microsoft had to find a way to convince consumers it was a solid safe choice or it would continue to struggle to find marketshare.

    It’s hard to argue with that, but Microsoft has a golden opportunity to grab a respectable amount of marketshare. If it can get 10 percent, it will be solidly ensconced in third place, not bad for a company that couldn’t break 2 percent of marketshare this year.

    And if push comes to shove, perhaps Microsoft will buy RIM and get its marketshare boost the old fashioned way — by purchasing it. Whatever happens, it’s clear 2012 is a big year for Microsoft and it has a chance to make something happen — if it can just seize the moment.

    The question is, will stockholders accept another $10B of their money to be wasted just to keep Ballmer in office?

  39. Winter> The changes seem entirely based on a slower growth of the Android total user base in November.

    I think you’re mis-reading the comscore numbers. The “November” report covers ” the three-month average period ending in November”. It’s not “in November”, it’s “during September, October & November”.

    ESR> enough consumers deciding that the disruptive product is as good as they want.

    “Good enough” is one factor in smartphone purchase decisions, another is carrier availability, which Apple has only started to address this year with the addition of Verizon, Sprint and US Cellular. Of the major US carriers, only T-Mobile doesn’t carry Apple’s smartphone. Another is perceived price (the ‘price’ of the phone at initial purchase), and yet another is the network effect of positive and negative feelings toward the phone in the circle of peers of the purchaser. The carriers & OEMs appear to be willing to blow it over lack of firmware upgrades.

    Winter> Android’s installed base is close to 250M. iPhone around half of that.
    I can’t see how that’s supportable, given that comscore published exactly the opposite (that iOS had twice the installed base of Android) in April 2011.

    ESR> Apple had its turn in September.
    Everyone understands that this was due to the imminent launch of the iPhone 4S.

  40. > A counter opinion. Which also suggests MS will simply buy RIM

    Microsoft already tried to buy RIM this year; RIM said “hell no”. And a hostile takeover bid would almost certainly provoke a nationalist reaction in Canada. It isn’t quite physically impossible for Microsoft to buy RIM, but it’s pretty damn improbable.

  41. @Larry Yelnick:

    iPhone around half of that.

    I can’t see how that’s supportable, given that comscore published exactly the opposite (that iOS had twice the installed base of Android) in April 2011.

    iOS != iPhone.

    (And, btw, Android != Android Phone. Although it’s been a pretty good proxy for that for a long time for the installed base number, that’s slowly changing.)

  42. @phil:

    Yes, we noticed a couple of months ago that the domestic smartphone market is slowing. What’s interesting in the latest data is that the market growth and Android user growth are now almost tracking 1:1.

    I had speculated before that (a) everybody who _had_ to have iPhone was on AT&T because that’s where they had to go to start, and (b) Android was eating RIM customers at AT&T and iPhone was eating RIM customers at Verizon. I think Android already ate most of the AT&T RIM customers, but some of the Verizon RIM customers held out for what they thought was going to be the iPhone 5. I think that a lot of iPhone 4S sales in the first few weeks were iPhone upgrades, and a lot of the rest were Verizon RIM conversions. Might be able to somewhat validate this when Verizon’s numbers come out.

    I think the smartphone market has reached a bit of a plateau, where it will only grow slowly until phone companies relent a bit on data pricing or until some enterprising phone vendor releases a model that will do data over WiFi but not over the cell network (so that AT&T and Verizon can’t enforce a mandatory data plan).

    Interestingly, I think this slowed growth in smartphones bodes well for low-end tablets, and probably helps explain why that market segment is heating up a lot. Using a phone and a tablet isn’t as sexy as using an iPhone for both purposes, but it frees you from the onerous dataplan.

    I’m still on the $5/month ($15/90 days) Virgin Mobile plan. I seldom use my phone and have $220 credit (around 1200 minutes) available at the moment. Why wouldn’t I buy a small device that lets me do WiFi data and Virgin voice?

  43. >I think the smartphone market has reached a bit of a plateau, where it will only grow slowly until phone companies relent a bit on
    >data pricing or until some enterprising phone vendor releases a model that will do data over WiFi but not over the cell network (so
    >that AT&T and Verizon can’t enforce a mandatory data plan).

    I think this is very true. I’m not as price sensitive as this suggests and even I stayed away from smartphones for a long time for this reason. I recently got myself a G2 on T-Mobile’s new Monthly 4G plan ($30/month no contract, unlimited SMS and data, 100 talk minutes). I hope this plan is very successful, and serves as a lesson to others.

    >Interestingly, I think this slowed growth in smartphones bodes well for low-end tablets, and probably helps explain why that market
    >segment is heating up a lot. Using a phone and a tablet isn’t as sexy as using an iPhone for both purposes, but it frees you from the
    >onerous dataplan.

    Once again I think you are exactly right, which is why I was so pleased to be able to get a Touchpad during the firesale. Good, cheap, wifi-only, Android-capable tablet. Patiently (WebOS isn’t *that* bad) waiting for CM9. But I got lucky, and if I hadn’t I’d very likely be the owner of a Nook Color.

  44. @Greg:

    I’m not as price sensitive as this suggests and even I stayed away from smartphones for a long time for this reason.

    Unfortunately, the term “price sensitivity” is too broad to accurately capture all the forces at work here. I’m not particularly price sensitive for something I really want — when I moved into this place twelve years ago, AT&T declared it was too far away from the CO for DSL to work, but Covad installed DSL over AT&T’s lines for me through Speakeasy. So I was paying almost $100/month for middling DSL with static IPs.

    Today I am paying the same order of magnitude for much faster cable, again with static IPs. It would be much cheaper without the static IPs, but I got used to them, and find them useful for several reasons, though they are not by any means a necessity. Goes to show how price sensitive I am (or not).

    But, aside from the static IPs and relatively high bandwidth, there are two features of my current setup that are very useful: (1) it is device- and number-of-devices agnostic; and (2) it is “all you can eat.”

    If I watch for sales, I can get the same features with reasonable bandwidth from the local cable or DSL provider (sans static IPs) for around $20/month. I’d certainly be willing to pay 5x that for portable bandwidth, if it could be used approximately the same fashion — any phone or laptop or hotspot or tablet devices carried by anybody in a family of four.

    How does the carrier insure that I’m not sharing with friends and giving hotspots to 20 acquaintances? I’m sure they’re capable of figuring it out if they want this business.

    Apparently, though, the carriers (like the RIAA/MPAA) are so worried about cannibalizing their current business with low-cost services that they can’t figure this out — there are probably lots of strategies they could employ that would actually increase revenue and margin by giving customers what they want for a price they are willing to pay. But the carrier mentality is apparently more of the mindset “Hey, we need to increase revenue this quarter. It’s really difficult to attract new customers. How can we get more money out of existing customers who are already locked in with a contract?

  45. Patrick Maupin> iOS != iPhone.

    Oh sure. But I want to know, if Android is so dominant, why do so many of the numbers favor iPhone?

    We have a 300M unit sample size.

    These real-world engagement numbers when iOS is considered (as a whole) with Android (as a whole) always seem to be at odds with the impressive Google market share / activation figures.

    - More people are using iOS than Android on Facebook over the last month.

    - 2/3 of mobile search ad revenue comes from iOS according to Google.

    - All of those Android units shipped and yet more revenue (by far) flows to the iTunes App Store.

    - The most popular camera on Flickr is iPhone 4 and Android phones are a no-show.

    - Mobile browser market share decisively in favor of iOS at 54% to Android at 17% according to NetMarkerShare from November.

    What, exactly, are Android users using their Android phone for?

  46. @Larry Yelnick:

    One of the things we have discussed on this blog multiple times is the need to take any browser-based statistic with a huge grain of salt. They aren’t completely worthless, but don’t usually capture as much behavior or uniqueness as they claim to.

    Having said that, we’ve never directly addressed the purported facebook statistics available, e.g. here:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-has-300-million-app-users-report/6721
    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-for-android-passes-facebook-for-iphone-dau/6440

    Taking these statistics at face value, they actually align pretty well with (a) my opinion here that Android is kicking butt in the lower-cost broad market, and (b) Pew reports that indicate that for many low-income people (minorities in particular), cellphones are the way they get online.

    As the first article notes, facebook doesn’t support any Android tablets, but has supported the iPod forever and the iPad for a couple of months. As the second article notes, Android is actually beating iOS in daily active facebook users (by a small margin), but in terms of numbers of users per months, Android still lags iPhone by 13.5%. These statistics are entirely consistent with more Android than iOS users using their mobile device as their sole device for facebook access.

    Also note that a person who has an Android phone and an iPad will probably be counted in monthly statistics for both platforms.

    Finally, (again to the extent that the statistics are accurate) note that somebody who was so addicted to facebook, they had to have it on mobile, probably got an iPhone or an iPod because the Android app was nowhere near as good for the longest time:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-announces-android-app-with-2x-faster-photos/5886

    So the idea that the number of facebook users using a platform is indicative of the popularity of the platform has it exactly backwards. Android is popular enough that facebook actually has to pay attention and support the platform better, never mind that this aids their google+ arch-enemy.

    What, exactly, are Android users using their Android phone for?

    Well, when I finally get one, it won’t be for facebook.

  47. > Oooh, never mind — found all your questions here:

    Yeah you. Did you note the title of the blog you found? Did you note that it pre-dates Eric’s use of the title by quite a bit?

    They’re still valid questions, Patrick.

    > One of the things we have discussed on this blog multiple times is the need to take any browser-based statistic with a huge grain of salt.

    You and others here seem to want to dismiss browser-based stats because they don’t show Android as #winning. Meanwhile, the comscore numbers
    are treated like gospel, even though they’re based on something much less scientific than webstats, namely *interviews*.

    > Well, when I finally get one, it won’t be for facebook.

    Fair enough, but you didn’t answer the question.

    (Oh, and Happy New Year in < 30 minutes.)

  48. Did you note the title of the blog you found?

    No I didn’t. Your writing was such a disjointed mass of unrelated bits, I rightly concluded that you didn’t make it up on the spot, so I found the source page with a simple google search.

    Did you note that it pre-dates Eric’s use of the title by quite a bit?

    Argument by who claimed a title first. I honestly don’t know what that’s called, but I’m sure somebody else here can help me out.

    They’re still valid questions, Patrick.

    I answered the one we haven’t covered here before, which itself brings up another obvious question — why do you seem to think facebook monthly numbers are more important than facebook daily numbers?

    You and others here seem to want to dismiss browser-based stats because they don’t show Android as #winning.

    Completely false. This has been debunked multiple times, and I’m way too busy to do that again right now.

    Meanwhile, the comscore numbers are treated like gospel, even though they’re based on something much less scientific than webstats, namely *interviews*.

    It is indisputable that questions about what people are going to do will net bad answers, and it is indisputable that it is possible to get bad answers by asking things incorrectly, but answering which phone you carry isn’t usually that contentious of a topic, doesn’t require you to think about choices you might make in the future, and if your memory is bad, all you have to do is pull it out of your pocket and look at it.

    Are you seriously suggesting that google’s activations and comscore’s numbers are all bad? That Apple doesn’t really have a reason to try to shut down Samsung? What?

    Fair enough, but you didn’t answer the question.

    It’s a loaded question. The implication that people aren’t doing facebook, aren’t doing search, aren’t doing this or that, based on bogus browser stats is ludicrous. The further implications that people really aren’t carrying Android phones and that we didn’t land on the moon are breathtaking.

    And yes, Happy New Year!

  49. By the way, Roboto sucks.

    However, it is a perfect reflector of the personality of Android: disjointed, conflicting, and yet trying so desperately to ride the coattails of the one company that actually groks design and human factors. (Roboto is a clone of Helvetica — the default display font for iOS — except all the parts they did wrong.)

  50. Jeff Read:

    Let me get this straight. Nobody innovates except Apple, and they were smart enough in 1957 to create the font they would need for iOS?

  51. Patrick Maupin,

    No, they were smart enough to license and use a proven design rather than rolling a custom one that’s crufted up with clipped tails and odd glyph shapes.

    As for whether any company innovates except Apple — Dieter Rams, the famous Braun product designer, when asked if any company truly gets design today he named a single one: Apple.

    Not to say that Android isn’t innovative in other ways. But when it comes to flawless look and feel there’s only one player.

  52. Of course, Mr. Read’s link comes to exactly the opposite conclusion as Mr. Read himself, saying:

    “The longer I looked at Roboto, the less it seemed to me as nearly derivative, despite commonalities with other fonts.”

    “Some of the bloodymindedness of Helvetica is gone, too.”

    “That is, for a given length of upper-and-lowercase text at the same point size, Roboto occupies almost exactly the same horizontal space as Helvetica Neue. The reason is the additional spacing around the letters. It is slight, but it adds up, and the face is designed to have a little openness when viewing on screen. . . . This lets Roboto have the evenness and spacing needed for onscreen rasterization, while preserving a tiny bit of the feel of the hand that makes a typeface seem created by human beings, not automatons.”

    “For a perfection freak like Steve Jobs, the fact that he didn’t demand a perfect font for the task defies my limited understanding of him. Maybe he thought Helvetica was perfect. He’s wrong, but maybe he thought that. (The existence and use of Helvetica Neue in later devices is the refutation.)”

  53. >Of course, Mr. Read’s link comes to exactly the opposite conclusion as Mr. Read himself

    Are you new here? That happens a lot.

  54. I didn’t get that far. The bloody article is set in Roboto; it’s so hard to read. :)

    Seriously, look at the text of the article and the screen shots. Roboto is plainly a mess. The spacing between the letters is inconsistent. The lowercase ‘i’ and ‘l’ appear to hug their left neighbors while shying away from their right neighbors, cramping some parts of a word while leaving big gaps in others. The numbers look funny. It’s immensely distracting, amateurish type design.

    Until Google learns a thing or two about design, this is Apple’s game to lose.

  55. Until Google learns a thing or two about designUntil Google acquires a design firm. FTFY.

  56. @Patrick Maupin

    My earlier speculation that Microsoft might be paying SPIFFs for Windows Phone seems to have some insider confirmation.

    Be interesting to see if this will move the needle on their sales numbers when we get the next update. At least they seem to be committed to the platform.

    I still don’t hold out much hope for traction though.

  57. I didn’t get that far. The bloody article is set in Roboto; it’s so hard to read. :)

    Here’s a trick for you… It should even work on the ip[hone|ad]. Go to the link, copy all the text and then paste it into something that doesn’t understand what fonts mean.

    Seriously, look at the text of the article and the screen shots. Roboto is plainly a mess. The spacing between the letters is inconsistent. The lowercase ‘i’ and ‘l’ appear to hug their left neighbors while shying away from their right neighbors, cramping some parts of a word while leaving big gaps in others. The numbers look funny. It’s immensely distracting, amateurish type design.

    Until Google learns a thing or two about design, this is Apple’s game to lose.

    The funny part is that the article specifically addresses the inconsistency with the following…

    A typeface may not produce an even rhythm or the eye finds nothing to grasp onto, and the face may appear legible but be unreadable.

    The reality Jeff is that your eyes have come to expect the sterile single font that it sees. Of course the weakness to this stance is that perfectly valid decisions suddenly become “wrong” or “poorly designed”. This is why I don’t buy the whole “Apple is a design company” schtick. Design is not the one show pony that Apple represents.

    But then until you learn something about actual design, i don’t really expect you to understand or agree with me.

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