Old iPhone Outselling Motorola Atrix, HTC Inspire at AT&T?


With hundreds of different Android phones on the market and available, every one can’t be a blockbuster hit. You’ll have some that are hugely popular, some that hit a niche crowd, some that find mainstream success, and some that perform full face plants. It’s no secret that the Motorola Atrix and HTC Inspire are intended to be two of AT&T’s hottest selling Android products, so how and why are old iPhone 3G devices outselling them?

There are several possibilities, but it’s most likely a combination of many factors. Here are a few of them:

  • The economy is sucking and people are looking for a bargain. They don’t want high-end Androids or the new iPhone 4 at a premium price, so they go for last year’s batch of goods. Unfortunately, AT&T’s previous batches of Android goods weren’t so good. See what I did there?
  • Despite Verizon now carrying the iPhone, AT&T is notoriously the iPhone carrier, so people walk into AT&T and think iPhone. Not to mention they’re much more forward about promoting Apple.
  • There are realistically only 2 choices when looking at AT&T iPhones – the 4 or the 3G/S. Meanwhile, you’ve got a handful of options for AT&T Androids. Obviously then, you’d expect Apple to win slice vs. slice matchups, because even if the iPhone were to own a smaller pie, they’re comparing bigger pieces.

You’ve also got to remember that this is just one analyst’s statistical estimate. They could be wrong. Just because someone writes it, doesn’t make it true. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some truth to this, but again I believe it’s a combination of several factors, some seen above.

In related news, Apple has overtaken Google as the world’s #1 brand based on a report by WPP Millward Brown. If they were to include Verizon’s “DROID” campaign in that branding, I think Google might enjoy the edge. Brand value is inherently a speculative and unquantifiable aspect of marketing, but I don’t deny that Apple has huge equity in this regard.


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. this doesnt even matter, noone likes the atrix and the inspire doesnt have any marketing campaign

    1. Actually, love my Atrix. Well done phone.

    2. Jim,
      Which is sad, because the Inspire is a winner. And sells quite well. Could be that it is a great phone and the price is right.

      1. V,
        I couldnt agree more but like what stephen said more people know what the iphone is. its very sad. i have a thunderbolt and if on att inspire would be my phone

  2. Go out and ask someone if they know what the Atrix or Inspire is. Most will have no clue. Ask what the iPhone is, and everyone will know. This is why. ATT doesn’t really advertise their Android phones.

    1. Well, that and the fact that your average savvy high end android user knows enough to avoid AT&T like the plague. This phone was looking so beautiful until AT&T decided to nickel & dime on things like requiring a tethering plan if you decided to drop the $500 on the lapdock… really? Are you trying to fail?

    2. I’m not sure if that’s true, as I see commercials for the Atrix all the time. I think the real problem has been AT&T’s handling of android devices. If someone is looking for a quality android phone that hasn’t been crippled (not allowing third party apps, etc.) AT&T is the last place they should look.

      1. I rarely ever see Atrix commercials. Maybe 1-2 a week, and I watch a few hours of TV every night.

        1. I agree with you. I rarely see any Android commercials and most of the time, they aren’t nearly as good as the iPhone commercials. I will go ahead and say that I think that 90% of Android-related commercials suck. Google needs to put out their own Android commercials. Just Android, not the Nexus line or any other phone. Maybe then people will know it’s an operating system and not the “Droid” line.

          1. Meh. iPhone commercials are lame. Showing a close-up of the phone being operated is played out. Personally, I like the T-Mo commercials making fun of AT&T.

          2. Ah, yes, those commercials are good. But I was just saying that at least the iPhone commercials show the phone and usually state what it has/can do. They show the UI and the user’s movement through an app. Whereas the few Android commercials haven’t even stuck with me and I can’t even tell you what they show. If I remember correctly, I think the Thunderbolt commercial talks about a “blazingly” fast phone is even faster on Verizon’s LTE network? I could be wrong, but none of the Android-related commercials stick with me.

            I’d just love to see a commercial that talks about Android and it’s possibilities. Hell, there are so many opportunities for commercials that attack iPhone’s limits. I think a commercial like this would be pretty cool(and amusing): There is an iPhone on the left and an Android phone on the right. Both are on the default interface settings. Then, have a finger moving through the menus and customizing it. The iPhone would stop at changing the wallpaper, where as the Android finger is continuing to add widgets, change the lockscreen, change the dock and icons, etc. It would be great publicity for the major apps that people use and emphasis on the options Android users have.

      2. I disagree, any “tech savvy” high end Android user will know that there are simple workarounds for any of the so called crippling that at&t does. Plain and simple, here’s how it works. Walk into wal marts cell shop, you will see a round kiosk with 10th to 15 phones, including androids, and a separated desk with iPhone and huge floor to ceiling iPhone posters, and sometimes a huge flatscreen playing a constant iPhone commercial. Same goes at at&t stores. The phone the stores push harder are going to sell better, simple as that.

        1. I’m tech savvy enough to get around the crippling that ATT does to their Androids, but I would never buy one. It’s the principle of the thing. AT&T needs to be sent a message that that shit ain’t cool.

      3. I think another huge problem is android commercials. They come off as really techy (is that possible?) rather than showing off the device. I mean look at the original iPhone commercials. They show the device and how it actually works. These android commercials show off space ships, transformer-like animations, rarely ever showing what the device does. Even the Xoom commercial could do more to show off what it’s capable of.

        Marketing has to be playing a huge role for these devices. I wouldn’t doubt that AT&T has something to do with this like others have stated.

  3. How is this relevant? It’s almost as if you picked whatever arbitrary stats you could to make iOS appear to be outperforming Android, despite the all the facts that say this is false.

    1. Because Apple will likely use this statistic to promote the “success” of the iPhone by inappropriately quoting it when talking about the iPhone 4. It’s important to know the BS statistics we’ll likely hear soon to be able to counter them

      1. The only stat that Apple needs is that it captured 50% of all mobile phone profits worldwide and that all Android manufacturers combined only captured 20%. There is a reason that the iPhone still accounts for 65% of all smart phone sales on AT&T and that the iPhone s outselling all Android phones on Verizon combined.

        People aren’t choosing Android, they are choosing to stay with their own carrier.

        1. Kindly cite your sources on that, as I don’t believe that the iPhone is outselling “all Android phones on Verizon combined.” I think you may be confused with it outselling individual phone models. I’ll grant that around the release window it probably did, as iDiots that go “OMG VZW IPHONE” rushed out and got one, but I’m not believing that it continues to without evidence.

  4. If Motorola was smart, they would make an higher spec Atrix that is thinner with stock android. Then proceed to call it the DROID RAZR on Verizon.

    Wheres my sack of money Motorola?

    1. Droid RAZR FTW!

    2. That’s awesome. Though I think DROID SLVR would be nice as well since it’s a candybar phone.

      1. Nexus x!

  5. Probably minor but it might also have to do with the fact that anyone who is buying Android for it purely being Android wouldn’t go to AT&T since they lock it down and you can’t install from the Amazon App Store or beta apps directly from developers.

    1. Why is this a surprise? AT&T pretty much spurned Android until its iPhone exclusivity was about to expire. The Android line-up is still fledgling for the carrier. It’s a lame comparison.

      1. Exactly, Nobody with brain would buy a locked down Android phone on AT&T

    2. The samsung infuse 4g being released on the 15th WILL allow sideloading of apps, if i’m not mistaken.

  6. By the way… that’s an iPhone 4 in the pic, not a 3G/S as described in the article ;)

  7. Uh, folks, it not just kicking Android’s ass at AT&T……but also Verizon:

    2 carriers down, 2 to go…..

    1. Um,no Android just raped everyone to become no 1. Apple’s marketshare barely climbed so those Mac-biased sites (usually devoid of any facts) are full of crap.

      1. *moves the goal posts back to their original position*

        Uh, John, we’re not talking about overall marketshare. We’re talking about the fact that the iPhone is by far the top selling smartphone on both AT&T and Verizon (hear that, Thunderbolt fans?) and a 2 year old phone (3GS) is outselling brand spanking new Android phones…..stay focused

        Uh, this Mac-biased site is referencing data comprised by Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley, so this isn’t some Apple biased information. This is what Mr. Walkley had to say:
        “Our checks indicated continued strong sales of the iPhone 4, as it remained by far the top selling smartphone at AT&T and Verizon. “Interestingly, our April checks indicated continued strong demand for the iPhone 3GS at AT&T and iPad 1 at Verizon, as these older generation products with reduced prices often outsold new Android products,” Mr. Walkley said. “We believe this highlights Apple’s significant competitive advantage, and these older products help Apple offer a tiered pricing strategy at key channels and the older Apple products are still very competitive versus new competitor products.”

        Not an opinion from Mac Observer……this is from an independent analyst

        1. Hey iKing, play us an app from your app jukebox. I love it. Every screen has so many apps to choose from. Can you open the Lame Ass Fanboy app? How about the Pathetic app where you post on sites that aren’t of your interest just to boost your inferiority complex? App jukebox for the loss.

          1. Translation: I resort to insults bcuz I don’t have the facts to counter iKing….

          2. Facts, must read yours. Thunderbolt was outselling the Iphone on Verizon. thats a fact. AT&T gimps Droids, thats a fact. I $49 is a bargain price for a smart phone and your buying a brand. Fact. Talk with Apple users and most will tell you, its an apple, it has to be good. Marketing is King in this game and Apple has it where no one else does. You cannot deny this. I was one of the first to say I wanted a Iphone if only it was not on AT&T. Now that uncle Steve tells me what I can and cant do with it, I think not. Every OEM hates people who modify their devices but Apple is the worst of them all. Bottom line, its about the mighty dollar and if Uncle Steve can squeeze another penny out of you he will. Besides, your on an Android tech site did you ‘Not” think you were going to get attacked or is this just how your get you kicks?

          3. iKing
            Where were you on this thread?
            Seems cowardly if you ask me–only able to pick your fights when the article favors Apple.

          4. Wow! You mean 200 Android phones are actually outselling 2 phones? Really??? I’m shocked!!!

          5. Christ.

            This site really drops to into insults if someone makes a good point you don’t like.

            No doubt Android phones will sell more in the future over iPhones, its shotgun effect on the market has to work everywhere at some point, but as an Android user I’m really starting to get embarrassed at the way Android fans are starting to become characterised as egg headed, closed minded idiots who’s only defence when pushed in an argument is to start shouting insults at people.

        2. One last thing iking…most people who take the time to play with a high end Android phone and a iphone-will likely pick the Android over the iphone. ihave seen this doen many times. This happens simply because the ios…on phones and tabs is boring compared with Android…thats the way it is…well this also depends on if someone is smart enough to know how to use Android-which really is not that hard to use.

          1. To each his own Mensah…..I’ve witnessed it the other way around just as much…

      2. Again, no facts, just an opinion. Where is the actual numbers? What does ‘by far’ mean? I do believe the iPhone 4 by itself is outselling any one Android phone but this is nothing new. We knew this all along. Android has always been and will always be about the ‘collective’. It’s covers all bases which is its strength. So this story is nothing but a re-hashing of stuff we already new. The 3gs,now as low as $39, is going to outsell the higher end Android phones AND take a bite out of iPhone 4 sales so I don’t see how that’s a big advantage. And what exactly does ‘outselling’ mean? How many units? It does matter.

  8. I haven’t seen an Atrix or Inspire commercial around here since early March. Yet i see AT&T advertising the iPhone 3Gs 2-3 times a day.

  9. Also probably related to the fact that the 3gs sells for 39 bucks and the inspire and atrix fluctuate between 79 and 199.

  10. Why the hell would anyone wants a drop call Iphone 3GS? I got my Atrix and glad I NEVER BOUGHT THE I phone when it first launch and never will. My Atrix is better than the Iphone.

  11. No matter how you cut it, it just doesnt get better than a jail broken iPhone. 3 or 4 doesnt matter.

    1. Sure, if you’re a grandmother. For real users, Iphone is kiddie-pool.

      1. Hello Robb… I am a real user and like I said, I currently use both OS’s. I have a fascinate for work and an iPhone for personal. The iPhone was originally from work, but I switched them as I preferred the iPhone to the Fascinate. I can’t agree that the iPhone is “kiddie-pool”.

        I am an advanced computer user and am a huge Android fan. I am a big supporter of the Open Source project. I originally hated Apple and talked all kinds of shit… that is, until I used the phone that I rec’d from work. The build quality is insane and I find the OS is not only easy to use, but quite elegant as well. I still like my Android without a doubt, the screen on the Fascinate is simply gorgeous. However, I can no longer deny that IN MY OPINION ONLY – the user experience is much better on the iPhone and the apps I have downloaded, (a large amount on both OS’s) are better quality on the iPhone.

        In my opinion as what I would consider an advanced user of tech, the apps will continue to be more to my liking on iOS as they are developed for specific piece (or small number of pieces) of hardware. Android apps have to scale to all of the different screen sizes, resolutions, processors, ram, etc. Just as with a console, dev’s know what hardware they’re working with and can do some amazing things. This is harder on a PC due to the Scalability factor.

        I’m a fan of tech overall and no longer plant flags and fight over these companies… trust me… they don’t give two shits about you, why should you care about them? Just use the product that best suits your needs.

  12. No one phone is going to the outsell the iPhone, old or new (yet), but collectively Android is still number 1. Also the 3gs is being sold as low as $49. So what do you expect? It means little in the grand scheme of things as Android is till number 1.

  13. When they are selling the old iPhone for $50 of course its going to sell more than a $200 phone of any kind, regardless of the OS. But with the super low price, comes low quality(in comparison to the standards set by the latest batch of phones).

    1. The sad thing is that $50 is overpriced for a 3GS. The damn thing will probably choke on iOS 5.

      1. You got that right. I doubt iOS 5 will even make it to the 2G or 3G models. They already started dropping features for the 3gs and lower on the iOS 4 update.

        1. Haha iOS fragmentation!

  14. Again, no facts, just an opinion. Where is the actual numbers? What does ‘by far’ mean? I do believe the iPhone 4 by itself is outselling any one Android phone but this is nothing new. We knew this all along. Android has always been and will always be about the ‘collective’. It’s covers all bases which is its strength. So this story is nothing but a re-hashing of stuff we already new. The 3gs,now as low as $39, is going to outsell the higher end Android phones AND take a bite out of iPhone 4 sales so I don’t see how that’s a big advantage. And what exactly does ‘outselling’ mean? How many units?

    Anyway in the grand scheme of things, Android is whipping IOS’s butt in terms of growth which is all that really matters.

    1. Funny…..when it was reported a few weeks ago that the Thunderbolt was “outselling” the iPhone 4 I didn’t read a lot of fandroids questioning the report or asking, “what exactly does outselling mean??” (as if you don’t know). Pure hypocrisy….

      This report simply backs up the results of several scientific surveys that conclude that the main reason why many people who reside outside of the geek bubble chose Android is because the iPhone was not available on their carrier of choice.

      And for those of you who state suggest that a $50 iPhone outselling a $200 Android phone is somehow an unfair comparison, you sure don’t mind comparing the sales of nearly 200 different Android phones against the sales of just two….the iPhone 4 and the 3GS…..

      1. Apple fanboys giving their biased opinions are now ‘scientific studies’ lol. The growth numbers aren’t supporting their wild exaggerated claims, sorry. If I saw Android’s growth slow or IOS pick up, I’d agree but that has yet to happen.

        Also considering how much hype was built around the iPhone 4 coming to Verizon and the predictions of it ‘killing’ Android, the Thunderbolt outselling the iPhone by just 1 unit at any store was significant.

        In reality the iPhone 4 coming to Verizon wasn’t even a bump in the road for Android. Yes it is selling but Android is selling just as well as it did before which is significant and disproves the myth that Android was gaining share simply because the iPhone wasn’t available.

        1. “Yes it is selling but Android is selling just as well as it did before”

          Uh, no it isn’t:

          Report: Apple Third Largest OEM in U.S., Android Loses Ground

          1. LOL, I’d hardly call that ‘losing’ ground or a slowing down. 53-50 percent after the hype of the iPhone 4 launch? It should have been much worse. It doesn’t mean squat. Like the beginning sentence of that story said:

            “Android and its many devoted OEMs may be growing its market share in leaps and bounds”


            ” Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones
            sold in the quarter”

            Those are the little tidbits that matter, not the rest of the Apple-biased crap.

          2. Oh so it took android releasing hundreds of phones on 4 carriers nearly 2 years to win the marketshare crown and the iPhone is supposed to win it back in 3 months? With two less carriers? I hope you have more business sense than that.

            What it shows is that with the release of the Verizon iPhone, Android actually LOST marketshare for the first time since 2009. Despite the fact that the iPhone 4 is nearly a year old and released in the middle of Apple’s normal release cycle, still with 2 less carriers (Tmobile and Sprint). The tide is turning…..

          3. @4627b98075e9806b106d74abed59e858:disqus

            I guess you didn’t get the memo. When the iPhone 4 hit Verizon everyone was supposed to drop their Android phones for it. Apple was supposed to magically rocket to no1 as everyone finally got their hands on the iPhone.

            Well that didn’t happen obviously and your tide is turning comment is hilarious because comscore just posted their marketshare report in which Android was no1 and Google just revealed they’re activationg as much as 400,000 devices a day and there are now around 200k apps in the market. Tides turning? Keep dreaming.

      2. android has gone beyond geek bubble phase, that was early 2009 and 2008. There are now 100 million plus android devices in existence and in use, I would be surprised if there are more than 2 million geeks worldwide. Not all who work in technology oriented industries are geeks

  15. Is this surprising? The iPhone is notoriously easy to use and the last generation is on sale for dirt cheap compared to a brand new iPhone 4G. Its the natural choice for a lot of people.

  16. Well as others have already pointed out …iPhone 3 is selling for 50 bucks, these androids are selling for 200.
    My brother just bought a 3g because he broke his last phone and did not have a bunch of money……now though I make fun of his decision when you can replace a phone for such a cheap price even upgrading from a dumb phone becomes easier. Most people with feature phones would see a 3g as a wonderful phone.
    Also techie android folks could give a crap, my observation is most of us jump carriers for phone selection, the last choice would be at&t period…..

  17. I really couldn’t care less about market share, what I care about are things like 2/3rds of the websites I go to on my phone not looking like garbage and being able to download and install my own updates so I’m not at the mercy of my carrier and not having to install vastly overrated software on my computer that wipes out half my music library every other time I update it just so my phone will work … maybe it’s just me, but I’ll take the superior product and let the accountants worry other about the sales figures

  18. $50 phone outselling $100 and $200 phone.

    Apple will probably stop updating it when iOS5 comes out (a la 3G and original) but stupid people are stupid people (and unsurprisingly, there are ALOT of them).

    3GS still has solid hardware (same GPU as the 4, decent processor, everything works fairly smoothly), still think it is a horrible purchase at this point.

    1. “$50 phone outselling $100 and $200 phone.”

      200 Android phones outselling 2 phones (iPhone 4 and 3GS)…….two can play that game

  19. Heyyyyyyy iking though your a ifan boy to the maxxx ithinks that your also a in the closet Android fan. With that aside…last iheard the thounderbolt thoundrrbolt hooooo! Has out sold the Verizion iphone…thats what iheard…and truthfully though the battery life sucks in a big big way….its a better phone then your beloved iphone…thats a fact.

  20. This is just baseless statistic, like hte Xoom’s 25000 sales number by some analyst trying to sell AAPL shares

  21. I would love a 2GB data cap, no tethering, so sideloading and bad customer service!

    Android users prefer Sprint, VZW and Tmo for a reason.

  22. Motorola android should have stay with Verizon.

  23. iPhone 4 still rocking!!>.

  24. The Atrix is junk, and the 3gs is cheap. Not much more too it I dont think.

  25. The real question will be – will any 1 android phone compete with the latest Iphone? When a single android phone can outsell the Iphone, then google has truly dominated.

  26. I mean really…. why does anyone give a flying shit? Christ. I have an Android phone for work, iPhone for personal use and an iPad. I don’t give a painted horse turd about allegiance to Apple or Google. I just want what I want and I don’t care what you have. This need for something you personally own to be considered “the best” is fucking retarded on all accounts.

  27. Iphone is cheap to get and advertise d alot. Android advertise expensive. For example atrix laptop dock. Wtf advertise the phone att. Plus sideloading was a nono until the infuse came out. Many normal att costumer dont know that.

  28. I have said this before and will continue to say it forever apple and their iphone old or new is just plain USELESS simple as that.

    1. If it is indeed “USELESS” as you say, then why is the iPhone so popular? Why is the older version of the iPhone outselling the more advanced Android devices coming out now (as the article points out)? Why did Verizon post a press release stating the iPhone 4 was it’s biggest seller in it’s entire history as a company? Get educated or don’t post on things you obviously know nothing about.

  29. AT&T advertising and pricing for the Atrix sucks. The entire point of the Atrix is that you don’t need to carry around the lapdock most of the time (dock at work, lapdock at home ). They make a commercial that shows someone carrying it through the airport. The audience collectively says “Cool tech, but I already own a laptop” and ignores the real potential of the device.

    I suspect that AT&T really doesn’t want to sell many Atrixes (Atrices?) because their network can’t handle the data usage. Otherwise they would price the data plan more attractively and make commercials that don’t suck.

  30. Can’t you get an iphone 3g for 19 bucks and an Iphone 3gs for 49.99

    i can definitely see people snatching them up.

    But some of your points about the phones of last year not being that great,
    you can get an HTC aria(which is a wonderful phone, one of the most powerful midrange devices I’ve seen) or a Samsung Captivate at a pretty cheap price

    But i wouldn’t be surprised if there was any truth to this

  31. Well the inspire isn’t that great of a phone, and if the attic had 2.3.3 on it it would be better. IPhones are so cheap right now. But you get what you pay for

  32. How about older Android phones? Are they outselling the Atrix and Inspire at AT&T?

    EDIT: never mind I found this lil article:

    From the article:

    “After launching on Verizon’s network in February, Apple’s iPhone 4 further solidified its position as the top-selling mobile phone in the U.S., while iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and HTC Droid Incredible rounded out NPD’s top-five mobile phone handset ranking. Unit sales of smartphones increased 8 percent in Q1 compared to the previous quarter; however, total handset unit sales fell 1 percent.”

    Great news for the iPhone 4…but wait. What are the other phones on that list? The iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and HTC Droid Incredible.

    Is that the same 3GS that this article is about? How come no mention of the 3 older Android phones? I wonder why….So along with the 3GS, 3 older Android phones are outselling the Atrix and Inspire too.

    Can someone say biased reporting? Yea it says AT&T but there are still older Android phones outselling them.

    Amazing what a lil searching can do isnt it? Guess where I found out about this lil tidbit of info? Apple Insider…lol

    Great post I just came across on Apple Insider:

    “But apple aren’t interested in marketshare or the “race to the bottom” (or so I’m told).
    Are we now saying the low end of the Market matters?

    The flip flopping by cheerleaders is amazing.”

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