Android Struggling In Europe?


According to research by IDC, manufacturers and carriers are pushing their Android Phones in Europe but consumers are pushing back:

“Consumers steer clear of Google’s OS and sell-out is below everyone’s expectations. Consumers recognize the Google brand, but still do not understand what Android is,” IDC analyst Francisco Jeronimo said in a statement.

droidreutersIn the United States I think the Motorola Droid for Verizon Wireless helped to bridge that gap of understanding, largely due to the Android/Droid naming scheme which forced the issue onto consumers. When the Motorola Droid launches as the Motorola Milestone in Europe I’m not sure it will have the same effect. Sure, it will sell like gangbusters… but that familiar “DROIIIIIIID” sound won’t be there to make you think of the word “Android”. There isn’t enough connection. Each carrier/manufacturer are building their own brand detached from the Android name and sure, you and I know what the deal is, but everyday consumers have no clue.

Meanwhile the article highlighted the powerful presence of Symbian/Nokia:

Global market leader Symbian — used extensively by Nokia — continued to be the leading operating system also in Western Europe, controlling 48 percent of the market.

If you call an old geezer clutching their walker with a grip that a butterfly could break as “controlling” than yes – I would agree. Like I’ve said for awhile now… it is only a matter of time. The sheer number of Europeans reading Phandroid and participating at Android Forums is a testament to the growing population of Android lovers in Europe. It will continue.

[Via Reuters]

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Didn’t know anyone that had an Android phone when I first got mine. Im loving it and have recommended it to people in my office. A year on now I am one of 5 Android users in my dept. Slowly but surely, ppl will see the light.

  2. London, UK. by the way

  3. I’m from the UK and I’ve been following Android developments since before the G1 came out but I’m still sat here with my crappy Samsung dumb phone. I want a cheap smart phone and Android has failed to deliver that. It’s no cheaper than Window’s mobile. The only budget handsets – Tattoo and Pulse – have been flawed. And on contract they’re no cheaper than the Hero, so who’d go for them?

    I’ll continue to follow development and look forward to seeing the price point for the HTC Tide and Buzz ( They look good and possibly aimed at the budget market.

  4. The only matter in Europe are CARRIERS !

    They do not try to update OTA or very late comparatively to the US. And some others manufacturers are shamefull : SAMSUNG do not care about consumers and do not propose updates on their non modified androids…!!!!

  5. I hope android will become more popular in Europe, but I think that Google shouldn’t block Maps navigation for Europeans for example.
    If you see that verizon spent 100,000,000$ for ads in the USA but in Germany there are nearly no ads I think they don’t have to wonder that the Milestone for example is sold so badly.

  6. I’m from Germany and would LOVE to get an Android phone – if a decent one was available here.

    I think, currently the HTC Hero is the best Android phone available in Europe, but I don’t like its case design compared to the US Sprint version.
    The Milestone aka Droid would be an alternative, but I don’t want a physical keyboard and would like HTC’s Sense UI.

    So for me, there are currently two actually decent Android phones available, with only one of them being quite new.

    Thus, how can anyone wonder why Europeans aren’t buying many Android phones?

    I SO want an HTC Bravo or something equivalent and I guess I’m not the only one in Europe.

  7. There’s no massive verizon/Droid campaign in Europe.

  8. Struggling? Not in the UK as far as I can tell. I know of at least eight people with Android phones now, and a couple of people with iphones who want to get Android phones when their contract is up. Which is more than I could say for WinMo or Symbian.

  9. Europe needs a big hype up campaign about android. not like what t mob did with setting up in the store and hoping the sales guys can push it to folks. what verizon did brought android to the front of the mind by pumeling ad after ad till we all walked in and bought our phone. the look over here is our android phones days are over. either you pump big money into your ads or android will get left in the dust in europe

  10. UK.
    Its only the geeks and nerds that know android, the carriers are not pushing android as a platform. They need to advertise, HTC have started with the hero on billboards, but I am sure they don’t mention android!
    Local conversion seems to make it happen, a geek gets an android, then shows it to people at work, they like, they get one at contract renewal. So far now 4 collegues out of 25 have converted. Isn’t that a 16% market share.

  11. I, too, would say it all depends on the marketing…
    Being a Milestone buyer from the first hour, nearly no one of my friends had ever known about the phone or even Android…

    It’s a shame, because it just is awesome!



    Don’t want to troll, but we fela a bit left alone there because there is no real information if or even from whom we’ll get one.

  12. @cnstntn

    Sounds like you’re in about the same boat as the US. The Hero and Droid are the best android phones available here too. And trust me, we’d all like the HTC Bravo.
    Android hardware in general I think has been slow to catch up. Even HTC is still giving all its best hardware to WinMo phones. That seems to be changing though starting with the Droid and with the reign of the 528 mhz qualcomms hopefully on its way out.
    Maybe Europe in general just cares more about hardware and less about software than we do in the US; Symbian is pretty old and crappy after all.

  13. At universities in Amsterdam (both of them), Utrecht and i dare say, generally in the Netherland, Android is already dominant amongst both tech and business students. I have a company, and more and more i see clients (managers, company owners) exhanging their Blackberries for G1’s. At UvA we have many research programs for building Android front-ends for AI applications that will be made available on the Market in time. I foresee a bright future!

  14. Yap. Belgium here. IT student. Android is the future and everyone is smiling!

  15. @bastian

    google didnt block maps nav in europe. the problem is that google doesnt own any maps of europe. once they have their own maps, then they will most likely release google nav.

  16. To Tim@10.

    Yes, exactly my situation. I sit at a desk holding 8 developers. They ALL have an iPhone, I have the Hero. I believe through my constant showing them what I can do, and seeing they cannot do the same on their phone that as soon as they can get shot of the iPhone they will.

    The thing is, this is an IT development team who knew nothing about android, how the hell are the general public supposed to know anything?

    There needs to be a massive push, like the droid in USA, once people hear about it its all uphill, but they NEED that push, and soon.

  17. I dont know how many people in australia would know about it, not excatly advertised and Harvey norman are now stocking the HTC Hero with Android 1.5 but they dont advertise it, unless u know they have it u would have no clue and there stock is crazy they get like 1 or 2 in :/

    IF optus took the htc hero under its wing im sure it would be a hit

  18. Regarding the OTA update for Milestone, I assume everyone else gets the “Unable to connect” error if they try to update, right?

    There’s nothing specific announced, but Google *did* say all Android 2.0 devices would be getting the update before the end of the year.

  19. I’ve slowly been converting a few people to Android, and I think the amount of people I’ve made aware, and make take the platform seriously warrants some sort of commission?! It needs the one handset to rule all handsets, the one with the over hyped release date, the slew of TV ads, basically a Droid, but no carrier seems upto the task here? Reckon that’ll change next year though (HTC Espresso?). We do alright for Android phones here in the UK! Never been able to complain.
    Ps. Didn’t know there was so many European readers here?! Hey fellow Europeans!

  20. RIM and Apple still control Canada for what its worth… :(

  21. i’ve got an htc hero and as an everyday user, honestly i dont really understand why people would call android (or maybe any OS for that matter better than the other)… you can say android is open therefore more apps would come, but apple’s app store have tens of thousands of apps despite being, perhaps, less open ? if android is “open” because people can tweak the OS itself, means android is good for geeks not so much everyday users ? i think its all about user-interface and the “technology” itself Blackberry is a very dfferent OS/technology with its push email so you can say its better than any other OS, iphone with its supreme usability for regular users like me and the app store, symbian+windows are becoming similar regardless which copying which… but one thing for sure, i got myself a new nokia e72, pluged in my sim card, all settings were automatically configured (wap/mms/internet-tetherig to my laptop) and ready to go…and that is something i didn’t (still dont) get from my htc hero, heck i set the setting and all, still cant send mms with my hero..

  22. Here is an educational site that, non other than educate others on what Android is. It also compare Android vs. iPhone. It talks about why phone manufacturers shy away from using the name ‘Android’. It has a good historical timeline on Android’s progress and list somewhat comprehensive list of Android phones with pictures and specification.

  23. The problem is that European carriers hates there current and future costumers with a passion. And does whatever they can to stop the flow of technology to the everyman.

    If its good for there customers, then they will run away from it.

  24. Spain
    The problem here is that carriers like Movistar gives 300MB of data/month -> 15EUR…nobody wants to pay that money for 300MB/month. Also companies haven’t promoted Android phones so early adopters (like me) are the ones that show Android to friends who see how it works and buy them. Also HTC has started an ad campaign itself to show its Android phones on TV.

  25. Well, there are majors problem with Android phones.

    First, the “android” brand is unknown to the public, it has only been displayed in the LG advertisement here in Europe (and not even “said” in the TV ad). For end-users “google phone” mean you can access google on your phone … so does an Iphone, a proprietary OS or even a Windows Mobile. So the benefit of the OS are unclear.
    Second, there is a lack of OS update. For instance, Samsung behaviour is very odd. They had quite a strong position with the galaxy, but lag to update the 1.5 to fix major issues (still not all fixed), and the lack of migration path to 1.6 and 2.0 really deprecate their phone line.

    Who on earth want to spend about 500€ (or 100€ with renewal) and get a deprecated phone after 2 month ?!?

    The community has pushed strong to bring improvements to the OS or to the firmware … but they do not have the same momentum has a corporate backed developpers set, plus do not hold all the sources to build the same experience with some added feature.

    By not using GPL everywhere, Google has given the manuacturer what they want : a “community tool” (read not much R&D/cost required to jump) they can customize giving not much back to the community (read, I keep my investment home and can jump out quick). This will cause middle term and long term trouble to Android if not solved as Android is not having benefit from the various improvement brought by each manufacturers. This thing also pushes the fragmentation, because there are key changes (if better) you can not replicate easilly.

    Another problem, is the lack of de facto Java support on Android phone. Really, what is is m*ss ? A Java based phone that is not Java compatible ?!? For a non-technical people this can not be understood … Alright, I know this is only a money issue (Sun’s patents vs Google not willing to pay to get Android goes thru a TCK), but this will hurt Android as well.

    Android should have been Java compatible de-facto from day one, and even at Java SE level : remember the embrace and extend ? And not “reduce and yet-build-the-same-damn-thing” ;-)

    Doing so, it would have been clear for everybody, that ey … this is a Java and ey, this is Linux :)

    As a sum-up, full GPL the code, bring Java back so that we can have addls saying something like : Linux + Java = Android, and you would solve part of the problem.

    This would force manufacturer to make choices. And if major public manufacturer (Samsung, LG …) does not make their choices, second rank manufacturers would have jumped into the opportunity, no doubt.

    Let’s hope Google will understand the strategy problem that their product is having and will solve this very soon.

  26. Still not shipping the biggest Android handset of 2009 in the UK yet and still no word if in it’s – default – unlocked / SIM-free state it will be able to get upgrades and use the market properly.

    Time for some introspection in the Android camp if they want answers.

  27. SWEDEN
    Android is not big here and for good reasons. First of all, unless you’re considered an somewhat early adopter here Google is a search engine, end of story. Few people use Gmail, even fewer use google maps and no-one I know except from my girlfriend and yours truly uses google docs. Orkut is completely unknown and so is Picasa. This is Sweden, one of the worlds mst connected countries. This means that Google has failed in marketing themselves here. On top of this there’s no push for Android phones, google navigation is not available since google is using the maps under license and swedes are not allowed to buy apps at the Android market.

    Bottom line is that google hasn’t invested in Sweden and Sweden naturally doesn’t invest in Google. It really is as simple as that.

  28. And I express myself a little less good than crap today, I notice…

  29. UK….

    @Wagster. There are plenty of cheap options out there. I got my Magic free on vodafone on a £35 a month / 18 month contract. Unfortunatly you can have the best and not pay anything for it ….

    The problem at the moment is that simply no one knows …. I have converted 2 people to HTC Magic and they both love it, most the people i show my phone to love it also. If there was a big marketing campaign then that would change everything

  30. UK. As many have said, you’d often be hard-pressed to see “Android” even mentioned in the details of phones like the HTC Hero listed on UK carriers web sites. The mobile networks don’t seem to view Android as a marketing “plus” for these phones, and their branding just confuses, e.g. “T-Mobile G2 Touch” is actually HTC Hero… when all the press reports are about Hero, how are consumers expected to find this phone in the shops? When I got my Hero from T-Mobile, the shop assistant seemed unaware that the “G2 Touch” is a Hero, or maybe they have been told to stick rigidly to the T-Mobile branding. There’s also a false perception that Android is complicated from a user perspective; this would be reduced if shop assistants were more willing to talk about Android and have the knowledge of it to show the phone’s features to customers.

  31. I love the Hero and I am from the UK..

    I do however think that we need an “iDont” esque ad campaign to boost awareness of Android.

  32. The thing that’s causing Android to struggle is the trend for exclusive deals. This is a terrible idea as it means the phones are expensive and less accessable as a lot of people are reluctant to change phone network for this.

    It limits the choice for the consumer and will hurt Motorola and the Android community as they will ultimately see less sales and get fewer users using their technology while the initial distributor makes a quick buck from the early adopters.

    I am an early adopter but I’m not going to fork out £450 for the phone, nor am I going to change networks just to get it under contract on a network I dislike. Same reason why I didn’t jump on the iPhone bandwagon a few years ago.

    What I want is for the phone to be on my network of choice and then I’ll get it instantly. I know plenty of people in this boat.

    It’s an open platform with a great community and the Motorloa droid looks like an excellent phone so why are the phones marketed in such a terrible way that puts exclusivity with an online retailer?

    /Sigh hopefully we’ll see this phone on the mainstream networks soon…

  33. In Denmark people I talk to seem to think that iPhone is the only way to go if you want a nice smartphone. Everyone who gets their phones from work use windows mobile for some reasons which escape me.
    People love their macbooks and the logical step for them is to buy an iphone. Perhaps when we get google OS on netbooks people will also go for android on their phones?

  34. They say, we in Europe are pushing back… Hero in my hand says something different…

    Still… It`s just because a lot of European counties do nat have (unroot) access to payd apps on the market. And without things like documents2go full and so, Android has only a half of its power…

  35. And a little more adwertising on why and how is Android fantastic and special, how it is superior to WinMo, iPhone and symbian… For example here in Czech Republic, there`s no add about any Android phone. Just WinMo and Symbian.

  36. london here. android just keeps on getting better. whew!

  37. swiss here, android will got us :P early.

  38. I think the problem is that they need to see more google android tv commercials. As an American living in Germany I can tell you that many people dont know much about the Smart phones abilities. I see lots of people with blackberries in Germany but 9 out of 10 dont have the data plan hooked up and dont even now about BB messenger! its like they think having a big phone is cool. the Iphone is the only one that i see people using with data, and I belive that is has to do with the adds on TV . Google Android needs to somehow promote itself before the Euro market finds something else to get into.
    I have got a few Germans to jump on Gmail but its alot harder to exsplian the Pros of Android when all they hear about is Apple.

  39. Just waiting for better handsets to arrive, not point buying at the moment.

  40. @testman
    Android is Java 1.5 SE compatible minus some undeeded crap which I am happy to do without. Sun’s Java has become so bloated after ver 1.5 that I am glad Android came to our rescue. Android represents what’s good in Java while getting rid of bloat. And I would say good riddance to Sun (or Oracle now)…

  41. It’s all about marketing the product but the thing is who will pay/promote it? The carriers or Google?

  42. android is not pushed back by consumers. carriers seem to have cold feet, and there isn’t enough communication (read: marketing) going on for android.
    no carriers has the milestone, is the only one selling it.
    i have ordered my milestone but it won’t be delivered until at least december 20th… that is waaaay too late for it to have any success for noël/christmas in france. shame !
    And let’s not forget apple has a very strong foothold over here in france.
    Marketing still sells well… android doesn’t have enough.

  43. I’m from Latvia, EU and I can say, that only one provider selling androids is Bite (Vodafone subsidary). If you buy Hero at them, you pay 285$ right away with two year contract and pay 40$ every month and you get only 1GB per month of traffic. So in the end Hero costs 1245$. WTF?

    And the choise is HTC Hero, Magic and Tattoo. WTF? I want Droid! I want Acer Liquid! Nothing here… And these three appeared months later after rest of the world.

  44. Yeah, I don’t really get why… part of it seems to be the marketing. They definitely got the word out about Droid here in the US. My German friend was looking into getting a phone and asked me what I thought was best. I told him the Milestone(Droid) just came out in Germany and is probably the best bet for what he wants (a high-end smartphone). Well he came back telling me he was pretty sure the Palm Pre was what he wanted! It took me a while to talk him into getting the Droid. For some reason Android doesn’t click with Europeans… or maybe it really is just the advertising and the salespeople are not really pushing it. But what salesperson would steer a person away from the Droid and towards the Pre? It’s a nice OS and everything.. but it’s basically dead in the water.

  45. Oh that headline…

    Android isn’t struggling in Europe. There are plenty of phones sold, seeing people using it, and the numbers according to T-Mobile/Vodafone/O2 are okay.

    You wonder why there are no new records set in Europe? Because we have no, really no advertisement for Android.
    Sure T-Mobile made ads for G1… without mentioning Android. Samsung Galaxy is a just a phone in Germany e.g. but no company make a big ad in TV which says “with Android”. I blame Google for that. Google need to make heavy advertisement in Europe. Not only for Android.

    BUT to make it very clear: Despite the non-existent ads, the numbers of Android phones sold are good, really good. But the people don’t buy it as Android phones, but as ordinary cell phones. That need to change.

  46. Norway here
    Only one of my friends has an android. And my friends are all geeks. Though, that will change as soon as the Milestone is available. The number will surely jump to four within weeks.

  47. It’s the carriers’ and manufacturers fault! (In Germany)
    While T-Mobile and Vodafone sold their respective G1s/Magics for more than an iPhone and only with insane plans, o2 sold the crappiest Android device on the market: The Samsung Galaxy. I guess that more than 50% of these devices have or will be returned due to an almost uncountable amount of issues.

  48. I have to be honest. I live in Europe and I’ve been thinking about buying a new phone. The iPhone is the obvious choice over here, or alternatively the N96 for top of the range models. I’d love to know more the Android phone, but as your article says, to be honest, I don’t really understand it. Is it a phone made by Google? What does it look like? I’ve seen no marketing of it here in Spain. From my brief research on the web, I’ve learned that there lots of different Android phones – this only confuses me more. Which one should I buy? Where to start? etc etc

    So, while I love the idea of Linux-based phone, I think realistically it’s a long way from consumer markets. I’m not a hardcode geek by any means, but I’m a lot more geeky than most consumers. And if I don’t get it, they won’t get it either.


  49. By the way, I just Googled “where can i buy android phone” and apart from your good selves, couldn’t find any clear answers. This isn’t a criticism, just pointing out the confusion and lack of information available to the non-geek public.

  50. I think European who don’t like the style of hero, keyboard of the Droid, and wanna stay in budget may consider getting a Acer Liquid? It just released in Hong Kong For $3380 hkd which is about $430 usd. I think it is pretty cheap for a unlock phone with 3.5 inch screen and a snapdragon processor.
    By the way, I still love my Droid :)

  51. There are barely Adnroid phones here, and there’s a lot of competition. The Droid isn’t even for sale here.

    The Hero has many faces and I don’t think it’s related to continent what people do and don’t like. I’m annoyed that people use the phrase “i think Europeans don’t like”. 1. You’re talking about people you don’t know anything about. 2. You’re talking like every ‘European’ is the same. There is no comparison here. The Milestone, for example, is available in only two countries so you can’t just throw that all on a big pile and say the Milestone isn’t doing well in ‘Europe’.

    On top of that I haven’t seen a single advertisement for Android. The headline is retarded, like ‘Europeans’ would reject Android for some reason.

  52. It’s the carriers who aren’t doing enough to spread the word. I’ve had my Magic since May, and have demo’ed it to everyone I know, people are impressed, but I’m shocked at just how many are still hypnotized by the glitz and empty glamour of the iPhone.

    Ever since O2 lost it’s exclusivity on iPhones, all the carriers are pushing them hard. I was disappointed that the Acer Liquid didn’t get picked up by any UK carriers – a trend I think we’ll see repeated for other handsets.

    I agree there needs to be more publicity, to build momentum, until that happens, I’m considering buying unlocked handsets outright, and getting a sim-only deal from the carriers.

    I’ll continue to recommend Android to anyone who’ll listen, and when any of the iPhonies get all smug, I’ll just pop of the back of my handset and wave my battery at them.

  53. @Herman – I agree it is dangerous to generalize and put people into groups. But I just would like to say, for myself, I feel I have a decent background to say what I’m saying. My wife is German, I lived in Germany for five years and I am in constant touch with many Europeans on a daily basis through my job. And while it can be bad to say “European do” this or that… in the end things like sales numbers and trends cannot be ignored.

  54. Midlands of England, small town: 4 people I know have an Android phone, specifically after seeing what my G1 can do. They’ve bought G1s (2), a Magic, and a Dext. All are pleased.

    They’ll demonstrate their ‘Google Phones’ to x no. of people, and so many of those will also buy in to Google. And so the cycle goes on….

  55. I seriously doubt that the Android phones are “struggling” to convince Europeans. In my country the offering is very recent and somewhat limited : vodafone has HTC Magic, while orange offers HTC Hero. So it’s too soon to comment on the success of the android phones.


    Hi guys, I am so loved with my Nokia N97 mini, it rules. Next one I will buy Nokia N900, fully Linux based machine. No need for Android crap.

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