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Android Nation: Why iPhone Exclusivity Doesn’t Matter Anymore

I can’t even keep up with which rumor is true at this point. Contradicting reports are everywhere concerning what everyone is pinning the biggest tech story of the year on: the iPhone 4/4G/HD or whatever it ends up being called dropping its AT&T exclusive brand and heading to Verizon. Depending on who you ask, Apple may be locked in with AT&T for another 2 years after signing a supposed 5 year exclusivity contract, or maybe advertising company Landor Associates is feverishly slaving away at an iPhone campaign for Verizon for an upcoming summer release.

verizon-iphone

Great. Does it even matter? Aside from the fact that Apple could use a larger customer base — as the latest numbers indicate they may be running the vein dry over at AT&T — is the issue of what carrier the iPhone lands on really of the world-changing relevancy it may have been a year or two ago? I just can’t see it that way. According to a report by NPD Group (and verified by numbers in AdMob’s latest metrics report), Android has surpassed the iPhone to become the second-most installed handset in the US.

Apple, of course, has their own take on those figures. They are quick to cite that worldwide their iPhone OS devices currently hold a 16.1 percent share of the global market. Great figures for a smartphone — that is if it weren’t lumping in the iPod touch. A decent PR tactic, shifting the figures to a global view and padding them out with a secondary device, but its just a bit more smoke and fire to distract from the real issue at hand: the iPhone’s waning importance.

The iPhone gave the world its first taste of what a truly integrated smartphone could do, but the growth of other platforms has rendered the once-feared monopolizing power of Apple’s flagship mobile device moot. Will an iPhone HD on Verizon doom Android? Why would this ever be the case? If I had to venture a guess, it would be that many still see Android’s success as the result of it being the next-best choice for people on carriers not called AT&T. If you refuse to believe the numbers, so be it, but I don’t think a platform grows to be the second-most popular by simply being the “poor man’s” iPhone.

Sure a new iPhone is coming this summer. Hey, it may even be coming to Verizon. But with a plethora of handsets spanning from mid-range text-machines to HD video-capturing uber-phones coming to several carriers in the same period, Android provides consumers with one thing Apple never has, regardless of carrier: choice.




  • Dan

    I’ve always wanted an iPhone but I am on T-mobile. But I don’t want one anymore because I really want an Android phone. Here’s hoping we get the Samsung Galaxy S pretty soon.

  • Android Newb

    EVO 4G > Anything that Apple can produce

  • Deroy

    Whatever the name is, iphone 4g hd or iphone 4g S, it’s in for a competition with android phones coming out this summer and before the year ends. Personally, i will never buy an apple product until it changes it’s evil ways. I hate the Iphone with all my heart. Android for ever.

  • swehes

    @Dan – I second yours. I am currently with AT&T but would like to go with T-mobile. Waiting for Samsung Galaxy S to come out. If it isn’t coming soon however I will go with Sprint and EVO.
    @Deroy – Second your comment as well. I will not own an Apple product. I want freedom. If I wanted to be locked in “for my own protection” I would still be in Europe.

  • http://www.rhoderick.org Josh

    Of course the iPhone wouldn’t kill Android if it came to Verizon. Like all Apple products, the iPhone will occupy the high-end niche market while Android will eventually occupy mostly the lower end of the market. I don’t think we need fear for Android. It isn’t going anywhere. Neither is the iPhone. However, don’t underestimate Apple.

    I notice a lot of the Android fans here do that consistently. In their blind hatred of anything Apple (or anything shiny not running Android), they quickly forget that this is a market Apple created, and it is a market that Apple knows very well.

  • Dave

    I have a Droid on Verizon and love it, but somehow I am still intrigued by the iPhone 4G(I could never use a 3G with such a low end screen and no multitasking). I know a few people with an iPhone, but i haven’t really spent more than few minutes using one–call it gadget lust for the unknown. For me it’s the mystique of the App Store and it’s supposed great apps; the user experience without any force closures or lag; the supposed design elegance and user friendliness of the apps. Most likely if I ever got one, the mystique would wear off in a month, but right now it is still intrigueing.

    However, the truth is 90% of my use is web browsing and phone calls and I find the Android web browsing experience better–especially with flash just around the corner. How can mobile Safari not have autofit with pinch zoom (it only works with double tap)? Also, I probably could never get used to such an uncustomizeable interface. Sure the 4g will have folders, but no widgets, no direct dial links, etc…make the iphone home screen very outdated and simply less practical.

  • Dave

    Just one more thought. Android hardware advances much faster than the iPhone. Just look at the Evo. Sure this leads to fragmentation, but a 4.3 inch screen, HDMI out, 720p video recording(already on the Droid), dual cameras, already make the 4G look dated. What Android hardware advances will there be before the 2011 iphone comes out–cameras with optical zooms, Mobile DTV recievers, etc…

  • grimdeath

    @Dave, you forgot the most important detail…4G for the actual SERVICE, not just a name!

  • dand

    I’m a huge android fan, i think steve jobs is a marketing genius and a douche at the same time. If the Iphone ever came to verizon i’d buy it just to have a second phone for whatever. I’m good with my droid right now, i enjoy being able to update my phone all the time, instead of once or twice per year. as far as vzw getting the iphone though, i don’t expect it to happen, i think steve jobs is still sore about vzw turning apple down in the beginning. Just as Adobe is learning now, if you reject apple, apple is going to reject you. I think steve jobs would love nothing better than to “teach” verizon a lesson, and he’s hating the fact that it’s not working. personally, like i said, if it came to vzw, i’d get one to play with and at least have, just cause i’m a nerd and love cell phones. but at the same time, i know tons of people that have already left vzw to get an iphone.

  • mudpud

    Android is NOT some cheap niche OS. Look at the Incredible, EVO 4G, MotoDroid?!?

  • Apollo305

    With the iPhone it lacks innovation and creativity. It is the same make and model every year, witch in my opinion why android has out sold it in the US. Android offers different types of handsets for people to choose from, they all multitask, have competitive OS systems and hardware(if not better), and also has great multimedia capabilities. What does the iPhone offer same make and model every year as I said before, just different hardware. If you Ask me instead of apple tryin to sue other companies they need to learn from them maybe even join android(but that will never happen). Let me know if you agree or disagree

  • Cpt Mike Beard

    I know we’re all depending on Android to control the “lower end market” of phones, but at a $100.00/month price point, who exactly is that “lower market”
    .
    I’m pretty sure that if you can afford $1,200 per year for a single phone, the difference between the upfront cost of $200 for an iphone vs $100 or $150 for a Droid isn’t going to make a huge difference.
    .
    Apple is more dependable and has a better name. it’s going to be tough sledding for Android.

  • RidleyGriff

    Admitted iPhone user here — have become a reader here thanks to a friend that’s a heavy Android fan.

    From this side of the fence it’s always been mythologized that iPhone getting on Verizon would be the stake in Android’s heart, but that has never _really_ made sense. I know just as many people that bought Droids or other Android phones because they couldn’t get an iPhone on their network (and would gladly switch today if they could) as I do people that are Android through and through and would never think of switching.

    Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but it aligns with what is likely the larger truth — some people will change, some won’t. And while there’s no question that adding Verizon would net Apple additional customers — if for no reason other than they’d be opening themselves up to more customers — it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s at the cost of Android’s customers.

    But to say the iPhone isn’t influential still is just as silly as saying Android isn’t influential now. They both are, simultaneously. There is room for both. There’s no need for Android users to denigrate coming Apple offerings, just as there is no need to Apple users to scoff at Android offerings.

    Both reactions smell like fear, and both products are great enough for users to justify their own personal choice, in my opinion.

  • Vinnie Lam

    Apple is the Israel of the gadget world. It does things its own way, and won’t give shit about others’ expectations. It believes it can do no wrong, and we Palestinians and the world at large should be grateful, bow down and worship whatever they tricked down from the mountain. It’s view is that naysayers are all enemies against its God(Steve)-blessed way of doing things. Look at how their Mossad handle the misplaced “new Iphone”. The commie’s and totalitarian states’ secret polices could learn from Apple in handling “anti-revolutionaries”!!!…or is it really was the other way around already???

  • Cpt Mike Beard

    @apollo. You’re right. They don’t have have much on Android, their apps are just stabler.
    .
    iPhone GUI was way faster than my Droid, but has nothing on the incredible. Still, if you’re holding two devices in your hand. One is the coolest, slickest phone on the market that makes chicks want to bang you, and the other is the Droid Incredible. Which one do you choose?
    .
    .
    Also to say Android grew because of the quality of the handsets is absurd. It grew because it was the first quality iPhone competitor. So what happens when it goes toe to toe with Apple at VZW? I say three things
    .
    1. See ya later RIM. Have fun as the “business only handset”
    2. Android continues to grow market share, but not as quickly as it did before
    3. Apple’s market share explodes like Icelandic volcano

  • paul

    @josh, I smell a apple fanboy!!!!

  • destardi

    1. See ya later RIM. Have fun as the “business only handset”
    2. Android continues to grow market share, but not as quickly as it did before
    3. Apple’s market share explodes like Icelandic volcano
    ————————————-

    1 – Agree
    2 – Wrong…it will grow even faster
    3 – Apple’s market share would grow larger on Verizon, buuuuut once again, as with AT&T it will reach its peak. That.is.inevitable.

    Maybe I’m a ‘fanboy’, but really…One phone, one O/S vs. One O/S with many manufacturers + many carriers + many UI’s laid on top = WIN FOR ANDROID

    It’s gonna happen…it’s already happening…But of course not in just a few months, it will take time but it will happen.

  • http://martymcpadden Marty McPadden

    AT&T works great for me so the length of exclusivity is not important to me. Even better if it had anything to do with the iPad 3G no contact access deal. $30 a month for true unlimited data on the iPad suits me just fine.

  • destardi

    Oh yea…I can’t believe people are even questioning where this is leading.

    Look at the market; it’s one thing if Android was a shot in the dark, but it’s NOT. it’s a solid/reliable O/S, with the backing of Google and many manufacturers.

    Really..anyone questioning the eventual dominance is kidding themselves. And if “high end” (previous poster) means that you get the same quality + better O/S for less cost (such as Windows based HP, etc) then I’m all for it.

    it takes a special kind of person to pay 30% to 50% more for a brand name.

  • jdog

    This story has something wrong the iPhone is $99 on contract so that means that an iPhone is a poor man’s Android :)

  • Phil

    Please bring the iPhone to Verizon so we can put this ba by to sleep. Yes there will be a spike in sales. There are certainly people out there that don’t know any better and want nothing but an iPhone. But there ate also many people that genuinely want Androidand not just because they can’t get an iPhone. As already mentioned Android outpaces iPhone in hardware but currently that’s true if software as well. Android plus sense is ahead in features and Samsung looks to have gotten their UI right now. Dell is coming with theirs as well. I’ve said it before and will way it again. Apple will never able to keep up in features. They may jump ahead but it will never be for long. And then what happens if Android tv and settop box catches on? How do they compete with that ditect integration? And Google editions is rumored to launch with 4 million titles? People really have jumped to call Apple invincible waaaaaay to quick. They haven’t even had competition on the iPhone up till now. And the only other place they have dominated has been mp3 players. It’s not like they have been a juggenaught in everything they have touched.

  • going_home

    Whats an IPhone ?

    :D

  • Cpt Mike Beard

    @destardi. so why does the average know-nothing user pick an android phone over the slickest, coolest phone on the market? Because it has HDMI outputs?
    .
    Seriously?

  • Cpt Mike Beard

    @destardi – but you’re not paying 30% – 50% more. This isn’t personal computers. There is a $2,400 contract attached. So you’re either paying $2,500 or $2,600 total.
    .
    Now why would you choose the relatively stable Android over the Completely stable iPhone + the iphone prestige?

  • Cpt Mike Beard

    @phil. good points. I agree. google will eventually overtake apple, but only once their brand awareness reaches a certain level.
    .
    That ain’t happenin’ this summer.
    .
    I’m just sayin, I love my Droid and I would never go Apple, but the average user doesn’t understand the benefits and iPhone will continue to grow market share if they come to VZW.

  • Alvaro

    I think that you can research what is going on right now in the UK where the apple exclusivity with O2 has ended and now multiple carriers are offering the iPhone. It turns out that android is the selling phones in the UK at this moment where the desire and the nexus one are killing on the stores with better planes and cheaper prices (i must admit). I can collect a number of reasons why this move is still risky for apple in many senses.

    1. iPhone users consume a lot of bandwidth, therefore the service in the 3G verizon is gonna be affected.
    2. iPhone user reports the large number of drop calls, i think that the main reason is a poor design in what apple knows less the phone.
    3. Apple gets a lot of money from the exclusivity contract with ATT, even get a share of the monthly payment in the ATT network, I don’t think verizon is going to follow the same route.
    In summary Apple needs this move but is a path full of uncertainty, verizon users now can compare with other options and comparison my friends is here the key. Do you think that the hype is going to be justified by a product that all in all is only marginaly better than the competence. I mean unless that you are a fanboi and a stupid consumer you will be able to enter into a verizon store and compare both products side by side. And this my friend it is not so simple as many iPhone enthusiastic want us to believe.
    I am really want the iPhone in verizon because this mean tearing down a lot of urban legends about the ATT service and also if the performance of the iPhone in verizon is poor…

  • fm78

    How about a GOOD Android phone for AT&T after the iPhone monopoly is over?

    I would like a subsidized Nexus One right now…

  • TzuDohNihm

    If Verizon/Google/HTC/whoever is responsible doesn’t pump some ad dollars into Android hardware then a Big Red Apple ad campaign surely would leave Android squirming in the marketplace.

    Verizon has 70-80 million customers. Less than 3 million of those are probably Android users.

    If an iPhone hits and they dump the kind of ad money that Apple will seed them with for the phone expect there to be more Apple users on Verizon than Android in less than a month.

    I am a very happy Incredible user myself and abhor Apple mostly because of the end users of their products most of all. I would never buy anything from them. However, Android will be sucking wind and we all know what second place is… merely the first loser.

  • Phil

    @Cpt Mike – Don’t get me wrong. Android is not going to overtake Apple in installed base anytime soon. And Apple isn’t going to stop selling iPhones anytime soon. But neither of those needs to happen for Android. All Android needs is to show as many or more people want Android devices as iPhones. That right there is what will trigger the brand awareness for everyone else. At that point Android will benefit from the peripheral marketing. Major companies with an app will make sure they mention they have an Android device. I saw a commercial just the other day where they had the green Android tagged on the end. Thats going to catch those that don’t know and understand and will help build a level of prestige above at least BlackBerry WinMo and Palm. You’ll either be on iPhone or on Android just like you either have an Xbox360 or PS3.
    -
    Make no mistake. I’m a Phandroid fan and love to talk crap about Apple but I know good and well Android is not about to drive Apple out of any market. Thats simply not going to happen. But its certainly going to make them share the throne. That is definitely going to happen.

  • Edward

    HAHA!!! the best comment is.. “chicks want to bang you”
    HAHA!!! If all you have going for you is your Iphone.. SIR! You are completely deluded. Your iphone is a great toy. It does what any great portable gaming device does and allows you to manage your life. It’s really great for the elderly and small children that aren’t very tech savy. Android is not as polished as the Iphone but it has the ability to let the user polish it themselves. Creating a personal environment that Iphone can never create. No two androids can never be the same.. where iphone is only a clone of someone elses dream. So good luck to all. May the best phone win in the end.

  • tcv

    Wait…you are complaining that Apple is skewing the numbers by including the iPod touch in the numbers, but it is perfectly fine to include dozens of devices in the Android numbers? See a problem here?

    You say Apple is “padding” their numbers with two devices, I say Android numbers are “padded” with over 50 devices. This hypocrisy is laughable.

  • Zapper

    If Apple sells the exact same phone on At&T and Verizon, there will be an immediate/measurable spike in iPhone sales, no doubt. I wonder what will happen in the Apple stores. It is really easy for them right now to sell and iPhone since there is only one choice. I can’t imagine how much harder their job is going to be when they have to not only convince someone to buy the iPhone, the mandatory data plan, then explain the other pluses and minuses of the 2 carriers.

    The biggest issue I see for Android is the RAMPANT inconsistancy in hardware and OS versions available overall. On AT&T it looks like there will not be an Android phone running higher than 1.5 until mid/late summer(HTC).

  • z

    i dont like apple at all, why? because someone bit on it.

  • Lily

    I have been a G1 owner for about a year now. After experiencing the capabilities of Android, I don’t have any intentions or desire for an Iphone. It may be me, but in all honesty, I see any Android phone out (Including my g1) having the same abilities as an Iphone. Although and Iphone may beat an older model like the G1, but really, what more do I need? The only “need” customers have, is the need to get a newer, sleeker, and different phone. With the Iphone, the look stays the same. But with Android, different phones are released every couple of months.
    Now the point isn’t to have a phone that will last you years (like you need in a computer). The point is to have a phone and OS you like, and can upgrade when you get bored of it.
    My thing is that, why would I want to buy (spend hundreds) on a phone that looks like what I already have?
    People buy Iphones for the NAME, not for the phone.
    Androids are very capable of lasting you a long time, but the importance is being able to upgrade to a better and different phone, and that is what Android allows its customers to do.
    With Iphones, you may get the couple of fixes and improvements, but it is practically the same phone.
    People buy phones for the look and quality, and that is just what Android offers.

  • Lily

    @Phil I agree completely. Apple will not disappear from the market anytime soon.
    But of course, Androids appeal to consumers more. No matter if they are “poor” or not.They continuously update themselves leaving no room for boredom. If a customer is unsatisfied with their current phone (which is rare), they will look towards a newly released Android.
    The only thing that keeps Apple alive is the name. And there are so many people out there who would just get things for the NAME.

  • Keith

    My wife had the original iPhone and while she loved it at first eventually she got tired of being so restricted. While this make no sense to me she recently turned in her iPhone and moved to Verizon and a BB Storm2. When she bought it I just knew I would be returning it with-in the 30-day return period but she says she loves it?! Hell at least I can understand her now when I talk to her…that’s one thing about the iPhone it sucked as a phone (at least her’s did).

  • Bob

    To me it doesnt even matter if the iPhone shows up on Verizon, I’m not getting one. I’m done with the slow updates, the lock down apps, and arrogance of it all. I’m buying an Incredible, calling it a day, and thinking its a good choice

  • Dave

    I’m a big Android fan but I feel like you are misinterpreting that NPD Group report.

    The report stated that Android outsold iPhone in Q1 of 2010. That doesn’t mean the overall install base is bigger, just that Android devices are now outselling iPhones. There are still more iPhones out there.

    The report mentions nothing about install base. Uses the words “new phone buys”.

    Just my take.

  • (-)3r0

    @z

    Haha!

  • Vlad

    iPhone is nothing but a good old “peer preasure”. And it will be in the mind of teenagers and other hormongers, who want chicks to bang them non-stop. Seriously though, where’s Apple outside of US on PC market? Even moving to Canada I’ve only seen Macs in the movies… Same will happen with their phone(s).
    Oh, and by the way, I’m 100% sure the next iPhone will have “4G” in the name, having nothing to do with 4G technology however. This is just how their marketing works.

  • Kenta

    @ z

    It’s not a bite. Newton didn’t bite the apple that fell on his head. It put a dent in the apple though. Hence the logo.

  • Bricked Droid

    The iPhone coming to Verizon would be good for everyone. Competition is always good. It offers more options for consumers, and drives produces to improve and innovate. There’s no doubt that it would shake things up quite a bit, but everyone should ultimately be better off. Oh… Except for ATT. They’d be screwed.

  • Cpack

    Iphone as multimedia and gaming device… wow.. yea.. looks good… wow… until you notice something…

    you are out of BATTERY!!…

    my colleagues and friends who got their Iphones were initially going gaga over the games and multimedia stuff.. but now, they dont swoon over it all that much anymore cos they need battery to use it as a phone.

    so in the end.. the Multimedia cum gaming device still ends up as a very shiny phone.

  • Orangeplow

    News out today that Apple confirms its exclusivity with AT&T until 2012. This is very bad news for the iPhone, and great news for the Adroid OS. Here’s why:

    1. Anyone on Verizon who was holding out because of rumors of a CDMA iphone coming this year will say “eff-it” and get the Incredible.

    2. Said users will quickly become Android loyalists because of it’s speed, flash, multi-tasking abilities and customization. Then, when the iphone comes out 2 years from now, they will be much less likely to switch.

    3.Google now has two more years to develop and market the Android platform. Along with increasingly better handsets from many companies…it will (already does) out perform the iphone.

    Really, the only thing the iphone has going for it are great design and a “cultural inertia”. There are a lot of people who want the iphone simply because of what they’ve heard or seen and assume there is nothing else like it.

    Apple made a huge gaff by not coming to Verizon this year.

  • Orangeplow

    BTW–
    I’m a current Blackberry Tour user…great keyboard…that’s it. RIM better get with it, or they will die. FYI RIM, my HTC Droid Incredible is being shipped to me as we speak.

    RIM=RIP

  • JBC

    @Josh: I advise you read some of your fanboy mac sites. Its an even battle my friend, but also a stupid one.

  • http://www.thecynch.com Cynthia

    Here’s my 50-second video response to the Verizon-iPhone rumors:

    http://www.thecynch.com/video-post-verizon-gets-the-iphone-summer-2010/

  • Zoom

    Wow… all the trolling and bickering back and forth about which is “better.” Let’s face it — this isn’t a political comparison like Israel vs. Palestine (@Vinnie). That comparison is a little… off at best, paranoid at worst. This debate is more like Coke vs. Pepsi. And look, they both have different product lines and both still have success in selling to their markets. And guess what? They both have very satisfied customers.

    Competition will be great for everyone here, and I hope that iPhone heads over to other carriers soon. Not only will that make the handsets better, but that should help make the actual phone service better — yes, I’m talking to you, AT&T.

    And, look to #45 here… what a great point to make. Instead of Droid users making fun of iPhone users and vice versa, maybe we should all make fun of Blackberry. I mean, look at them! If they were a part of the soda wars, they’d have to be Tab. :P

  • Gary

    I have a pre, moto droid and an iphone and the droid is the best hands down