Android users aren’t real smartphone users, we’re just looking for freebies


Here we go again, another post on the internet talking about how Android’s market share is inflated with nothing but junk. We’ve seen inflammatory posts like this before. One of the more recent ones titled, “Android is cheap, not good.” Now comes Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson talking about the real reason for Android’s success: free handsets.

We get it, the reason why Google’s mobile OS has spread like wildfire is because — unlike iOS — Android is free and opened sourced. Anyone with a little coding know-how can throw it on anything from a smartphone, to a toaster oven. More than often, that means you can find Android running on bargain bin handsets. But what BI’s author fails to recognize are high-end superphones like last year’s Galaxy S3 that have sold upwards of 40 million handsets, Galaxy Note 2 sold 3 million units during the first 30 days of its release — numbers that keep Tim Cook up at night. Remember, these are all smartphones that are still being sold on their respective carriers for upwards of $200+ on contract (same as the iPhone 5).

The logic behind BI’s post? While Android reins supreme in overall market share, less Android users are actually doing anything “smart” with their phones or tablets. Things like watching video, shopping on Black Friday, or even browsing the internet. Of course, all these findings are anything but definitive. In most cases, this is data gathered only from specific users who visited specific website (people streaming video from OOYALA for instance). I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that maybe Android users are simply doing other things with their devices, using video streaming apps like YouTube or Netflix perhap which combined, make up for almost 42% of total web traffic in North America alone. But I guess you have to shop on Black Friday to be considered “smart,” huh?

So, exactly what has been going on with all these numbers anyway? How can we explain them? Well, Business Insider hasn’t been able to figure that one out, but I’ll propose an idea. Maybe, just maybe there is a good number of iOS users who are using their iPads as laptop replacements. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this, my own grandma for instance does all her Facebooking, online shopping, etc., straight from her iPad. No need for expensive and clunky laptops, when an iPad fits snugly in your purse. Is it really too far fetched to think that Android users are multiple device consumers who, perhaps, prefer to browse the web from their laptops or home computers? It’s possible.

The author also goes on to say that the real reason for Android’s success is simply because it’s cheap and more than often free (on a contract). While I believe that could be true to an extent, what about all those free iPhone 4’s currently offered by AT&T and Verizon Wireless? You know, the top 2 carriers in the US? Carlson briefly acknowledges that while it could be technically possible to get a free iPhone, “most people who get them don’t.” Because Apple shipping 17.4 million iPhone 4S’s in Q4 of 2012 is hardly worth mentioning. If Android is only popular because it’s free, I suppose the very same could be said about the iPhone, which has always had a previous model available for smartphone buyers on a budget.

But let’s get back to Android. We shouldn’t forget that the only reason we’ve seen a smartphone boom these past few years is because of fierce competition between Android manufacturers using high-end hardware as their weapons. Mobile hardware is advancing at such a rate it’s hard for even Apple to keep up. Again, this is all thanks to high-end smartphones, not low-end freebies. Let’s also not forget that “feature phones” that once only had the horsepower to run a dumbed down OS, are now smart. Once again, all thanks to Android. Moving into 2013, we’re beginning to see OEM’s who gained a significant market share due to their low-end hardware, are now focusing solely on premium, flagship devices for 2013 and we expect that trend to continue.

I guess it just roasts me a little bit when someone attributes Android’s success to nothing more than low-end hardware and a user base of monkey’s slapping their smartphones. Are there a lot of soccer mom’s and Joe Schmo’s using Android devices? No one can argue that. But the same could be said of iOS users (maybe even more so). Of course, until we get a whole lot more numbers, let’s not jump to any conclusions about iOS and Android users. For now, let’s just say Android’s success is due to it being a smarter mobile OS that runs on great hardware, and just so happens to provide a better value in many cases. Bygones be bygones.

[Business Insider]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Didn’t know iSheeps would start raging.

    1. They hold monthly “rage circles” to align their android hating chakras.

      1. And every month their leaders bring in new “Ohmmm”. Last one I heard was: “I don’t consider everything that’s sold with Android, an Android device [in typical arrogant iSheep tone]. For example all those Chinese gadgets are not Android!”

        Chinese gadgets more often than not bring pure Android interface, because they don’t bother with skins and Sense/Blurring their devices, dambass!

        1. Like that one time I purchased that hyundai tuscon that wasn’t really a car lol
          I mean it got me from point A to B but it was all for fakesies :p

      2. LOLOLOL oh man… nearly spit out my coffee.

        Thank you for that gem! ^_^

  2. Every site that is covering this is giving BI more buzz and clicks. Nothing hurts a news website more than ignoring them, so let’s get over it and ignore them.

  3. It would be more apt to say that Android’s success lies in the fact that it runs on a vast range of hardware, from the free budget phones to the most powerful handsets that exist today. It serves a wider range of customers than the competition.

    1. Yes, and there happen to be more people who want cheap or free phones, which is a good reason why Android has come to dominate worldwide market share.

      But in the Android masses are plenty of people who can afford Vertu but choose Nexus. I’m one of them, and – surprise! – I didn’t do any black Friday shopping on my phone either.

  4. Anroids success is that its not Apple!

    1. One of its many successes indeed.

      I love how most people that own an iPhone and/or iPad think that people that own Android devices only do so because they can’t afford to get an iPhone and/or iPad. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “You only own that because you couldn’t afford something better.” I then proceed to laugh when I show them some of the features of my HTC Droid DNA, such as multitasking that isn’t crappy, the ORIGINAL notification pull-down, and wireless charging. All that is usually followed up with, “That’s neat. That screen’s also pretty nice. Much bigger than mine.”

      Some people call it short/small man syndrome. Other’s call it a Napoleon complex.

      I say it’s a classic case of tiny penis.

      1. lol i don’t have a better smartphone because they don’t make one…yet. I have a Note 2 and Nexus 4. People are silly.

        1. I’m usually a pure Nexus guy but I saw someone with a Note 2 and I wonder what it would be like to have a phone with such a big screen.

          1. It’s wondrous dude.

        2. Thats perfectly stated Daniel!!!!!!!!

      2. tldr

        Use a couple paragraphs next time…

        1. Let me sum it up for you.

          Apple upset they aren’t #1.
          Apple says Android isn’t good.
          Apple says Android users don’t use smartphones.
          Chris Chavez says Apple is f*****g stupid and they should just be quiet now.

          But I guess it would be too difficult to take 1 minute to read the article…

    2. What does that make Windows Phail 7?

      1. lol, I suppose he will think about it when WP becomes a bigger threat.

        1. Watch even WP leapfrog the iPhone…
          i’ll just laugh,

      2. I’m sure that day will come if apple doesn’t step it up cuz even the low cost windows phones have an amazing end user experience, And obviously you call it windows phail 7 not even knowing they moved to 8 last year. Don’t knock it till you try it, and don’t tell me you tried it when it first came out and didn’t like it cuz it was a 1st Gen OS then

  5. Domino’s probably has better cell service and customer support than Sprint.

    1. Oh you have no idea how much I will agree with this. If you don’t have 4G with Sprint you don’t have nothing. That 3G is slower than Tmo’s 2G. *angry face*

      1. Yeah… I tried loading google play with a Note 2 and an S3 that were on sprint 3g while i was trying to set them up for my aunties and uncles and it thought there was no connection I would wait like 5 minutes still didn’t load and then I had to switch them over to wifi LOL its pitiful.

  6. way to fan the flame with this one

  7. lol. didnt even bother read the article. its from business insider.

  8. Chris you should take things more personally.

    1. Currently en route to Nicholas Carlson’s place of residence with a paper bag full of human feces and a lighter…

      1. HAHAHA! Good one!

      2. Shouldn’t you be on a plane to NY ?

      3. Human? Um, I guess we know how you spent your afternoon. You at least wore gloves right?

        1. Just wanted to add a personal touch. I’m a romantic :p

      4. Are you using Google Maps to get there? Such a great feature we exclusively had until Google had to save iOS users from their own company. ;)

    1. Oh please, if you want ad-blocking apps you can simply side load. Just because they’re taken from the Play store doesn’t mean you can’t download the apps if you really want to.

      1. side load

        1. Yeah, you know, the thing that you can do on pretty much any Android device right out of the box without jailbreaking?

      2. Woot

    2. So use another app store like Amazon or GetJar. Oh wait… you didn’t know you could do that did you…

      1. ooo burnnnn, kudos where its due!

  9. What if there are more high end smartphones shipping as compared to the mid and low range? Where are the numbers based on that?

  10. Best article you’ve written yet, Chris! Tell ’em like it is! I guess it’s too much for them to point out that, while Android is a robotic name, iPhone expresses far less individuality than Android. So, while Google’s mobile OS has more of a robotic name, Apple’s mobile OS provides more of a robotic “smartphone” experience. I personally enjoy having freedom to be an individual…LOL.

  11. Funny thing is I know a lot of iOS user and android users alike. Most if not all of the iOS users and asking me to look something on my phone. My line for them has always been “you have a smartphone and smartphones are not made for dumb people”. Not everyone is gonna be an enthusiast but each side has people that just have a smartphone because its the popular thing to have.

    1. Same here except its usually either because they don’t like working on their small screen or they aren’t able to get around their device as fast.

      1. Or when they can’t watch a Youtube video because 3g buffers so much.

    2. I like to say that iPhone is the smartphone for people who hate smartphones.

  12. Sound like mitt romney

    1. Just without all the binders.

  13. Business insider is just a link bait article spam site. Don’t bother giving them any revenue, their articles are meant to inflame fan bases and drive ads.

  14. “I guess it just roasts me a little bit when someone attributes Android’s success to nothing more than low-end hardware and a user base of monkey’s slapping their smartphones.”

    literally LOLed.

  15. I was reading with interest until I saw “Business Insider”….Oh. never mind.

  16. I have metro pcs w/4g tethered to pc, $55/mo. unlimited data. Why would I pay what it costs for a Why?Phone?

  17. jealousy can make you do and say stupid things!

  18. My 12 year old niece has an iPhone and her arguments for why it’s better than my Android sound amazingly similar to that of the supposedly adult Nicholas Carlson…

  19. The fact that this was said was truly ignorant. So it makes this statement not “smart”.

  20. I don’t say this in a bad way, and accept or not, there is a little stupidity in all of us, most manage to keep it at bay but a few manage to show it spectacularly well including Nicholas Carlson.

  21. I will be the first to admit that GB and before wasn’t quite as ready for prime time as iOS. Yes, boo hiss, burn me I’m a witch. (And yes I used quite a few GB phones. The inconsistency with the back button drove me crazy. And their still was menu lag).

    But since ICS, Android has really been the superior OS. It’s just as fluid, offers more options and features, feels more complete and integrates into my life better.

    Anybody who says “Android is a cheap incomplete laggy POS” is living in 2010 and is also demonstrating their complete ignorance when it comes to mobile devices.

    1. I’ve always said, ICS was the rebirth of Android. I was always a Android fanboy, but I turned to things like Sense and MIUI to try and pretty things up. Today, I wouldn’t even touch a Gingerbread phone (I guess that shows how far Android has come in such a short amount of time).

    2. I agree. @Butters619:disqus @Gamercore:disqus
      But I will say honestly, the Android is still not as smooth as IOS.

      1. the Android?

        And go compare a Nexus 7 with Jellybean against an iPhone 5. My girlfriend hated Android and had never used an Android device before I bought her a Nexus 7. Even she thinks that Jellybean is as smooth or smoother than iOS. iOS vs GB: iOs wins. iOS vs stock JB: Android wins.

        1. That*
          And I think it is just the tegra 3, very bad chip

  22. lol its funny how iPhan’s claim that Android phones are only popular because they are cheap or free while at the same time the best selling iPhone’s are the free iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4s which is free in some regions and starts off at 50 dollars in others. The only time the iPhone 5 (same price as the Galaxy Note 2 and other new high end Android devices) outsold them was during the month of December (Holiday season) when Apple offered discounts. I have said it many times before, its hard to approach hardcore iPhan’s with common sense or rationality when they are stuck in a wonder land where everything that comes out of Tim Cooks mouth is a rainbow of raining skittle’s. Now im not saying that hardcore Phandroid’s are any better but at least we don’t write an Article based on our own bias opinion and call it fact without any facts or actual research to back it up. .

  23. On the subject of web surfing, I can say I’ve used my phone for more web browsing, video streaming, and purchasing items than most iPhone users I know. Just last month I used 30+ GB in data (Wifi included), and here’s the screenshot to prove it: https://www.box.com/shared/2to40zaqhkjrq3uudp76

    I constantly web browse, post on forums and threads (which I am currently doing with my Razr HD), use social media, stream video, shop and make purchases, order take out, and play games from my Android smartphone. Just how many iPhone users can match that?

  24. i like the reactions i get from my s3 is that that samsung phone? how much does it cost to get one? its like when the iphone was released and everyone except me flocked to anyone that had one. (i did like the touch screen part but was not ready to call it a smartphone, i was on verizon at the time motorolaQ music edition with 3g the iphone was on at&t with only 2g even all of verizons feature phones at the time were 3g) just on tuesday i went to 7-eleven the clerk was a hipster guy with an iphone i payed with google wallet all he kept saying after that is “my mind is blown” i think i sold him on android at that point.

  25. That’s okay BI is not a credible source. They write their posts (not articles) on their iPads. The lowest end Android phone you can purchase today can stream a video. Could it be maybe, just maybe that Android users are a but more geeky (often the people with higher grades and literacy rates) prefer to read content over watching shiny videos? Who knows, who cares the fact is, even Apple can’t keep up the race that’s why iOS devices are now limping behind when it comes to new features. In hardware (ie. S3 recognizes when you look at screen and doesn’t turn it off) and Software side (ie. gee say Widgets?, which every iPhone user wants once they see my N4).

  26. Chris, this is where you’re wrong. ALL soccer moms use iOS. That’s all it’s good for.

  27. I often wonder if these journalists understand that articles like that drive people away from the iPhone
    When they say iPhone users spend twice as much on apps, the average Joe hears that it is twice as expensive to own an iPhone. When they write that developers make more money on iPhone, people hear that they will be charged more for iPhone apps.

    1. Exactly my thought. You can’t use that argument though with people with “small penis” complex.

  28. Note 2’s sales must worry Apple more, because it was actually not selling at a similar price as iPhone 5, but much more. On AT&T, whereas iPhone 5 is sold for $200, the Note 2 is sold at $300 price tag for a 2 years contract. Selling so many devices even after that speaks volumes.

  29. Note that this article hits the same talking points that Phil Schiller hit in his interview with Wall Street Journal. Is Nicholas Carlson part of an organized astroturf campaign?

  30. I’ll bet Apple will eat their words when the release a budget iphone, just like they did with the ipad mini.

  31. “Android users aren’t real smartphone users” — not true. I’d say the 90% of Android users use their phone for chat and games is pretty comparable to the 90% of iPhone users who only use their phone for chat and games…

  32. It’s interesting to read that “Soccer Moms and Joe Schmo’s” are typical Android users. I am a techie and I can tell you that most of my friends and associates use Android. Even more humorous is that the ones that design Crapple apps still use Android phones. Why you ask? The primary reason is that they see iPhones as an income source, but they also acknowledge that Android is the greater furore revenue market. While it it’s true that iPhone apps are usually paid and Android apps ate primarily free, that merely describes a different income stream methodology. In app purchases and ad revenue are the Android revenue model and iPhone is app purchase based revenue. Two sides of the same chin do not make the coins different in value. They know that Android at it’s root has the bigger up side in the long run. While there are many budget Android phones and deals on previous models of Android Super Phones, they create users and that creates revenue. Locking into only a couple of phone options with iPhones limits accessibility. The deluge of Android models and price levels increases the buyer base. At it’s most basic level, Android has exploded the market base by offering something for anyone interested in stepping out of the dark age of dump phones.
    While these are my colleagues’ and my opinions, the actual data on market share and quarterly market base share increases since the inception of the Android OS bear the proof in my observations.
    No amount of wishing, posturing, or hate mongering based on fear by Tim Cook or the Apple sheep can alter the real data released quarter after quarter. Android is the best thing to happen to mobile phones and the iPhone, for without Android we would never have experienced the rate of growth and exposure the entire smart and super phone market has enjoyed.

  33. I believe that 2013 is the year that Android Phones become more than the cheap plastic feel that they’ve been known for. My Nexus 4 is amazing, solid and awesome. The new HTC One looks to be amazing, and I fell that Sony and Samsung will begin to follow this trend as well.

    Android is complete, beautiful, and personal. I think more and more people are realizing this every day. Apple is watching their market share disintegrate, and it is killing them.

  34. No doubt about it, Nicholas Carlson is a first class douche nozzle.

  35. Yeah… because watching video = smart. Glad they figured it all out, god forbid I thought this Nexus 4 was a smart phone…

  36. Chris this freebie excuse is getting old. Average user just butt hurt cause are OS cost nothing. While their choice is companies makes them overpay for a name not pay for hardware. This is nothing new to a Linux user. Us Linux guys her this all the time when we ask why Game developers never issue games for us.

  37. The iSheep’s superiority complex is sickening. Apple may have created a template for the modern smartphone but Google and their partners have made it better, faster, and more accessible. I love the fact that this bothers those elitist douchebags. I can’t WAIT to see their faces when the S4 becomes the hottest phone of the year.

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