The battle for smartphone market share between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) may not be all it seems, based on some recently published research from Flurry. The San Francisco-based mobile app analytics firm said it examined four years' worth of iOS and Android mobile ownership.
- Android penetration has reached 564 million devices as of April.
- iOS continues to lead in terms of time spent in apps.
- Total time in Android apps nearly equaled that in iOS apps in March of 2012, but it has declined somewhat since then after the launch of the 3rd generation iPad.
- Android app activity (as a percent of total time in apps per iOS device) peaked at more than 90 percent in April 2012, but still remains high at nearly 80 percent.
"There are multiple contests for mobile market share occurring simultaneously. That raises a question about whether that is a temporary state that will eventually give way to a clear overall winner or if there can be multiple long-term winners," Flurry said. "For the moment it seems as though the consumer is winning in that they are able to choose devices from two dominant ecosystems as well as several smaller ecosystems."
Flurry is taking on a difficult area with this research and suggests that app market share is largely a product of use case, availability and ecosystem. iPhone users dove into iOS apps because it was a major new hardware platform. Android phones, in contrast, may have been free upgrades from carriers to existing users and were therefore less important. Throw in the difficulties around Android fragmentation and Apple's rich set of partners, and it looks like Apple will remain on top.
However, Flurry points out that several "side races" indicate Android has some advantages, particularly in emerging markets. For developers, this study should primarily serve to underscore the importance of continuing to plan for both platforms because this is one two-horse race that shows no sign of slowing down.
- read the full report
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