The Challenge and Benefits of Android

Android, as a choice amongst consumers, commands about 80% of the market while IOS commands around 16%. Although the leaning is heavily in favour of Android, IOS remains no slouch with an advanced, easy to use OS tightly integrated into the Apple ecosystem. This being said, one has to wonder why Android commands so much of the market.

Android Benefits

To start with, it is worth looking at Android’s benefits to understand this breakdown and then turn our attention to the challenges of Android, what they are and why it might be worth it.

Probably two of the strongest components in favour of choosing an Android device is:

  • price
  • choice

Price

From a price perspective, Android is far better if you’re a consumer. Margins tend to run about 5% on Android devices compared to Apple’s 30% to 40%. iPhones have become very expensive phones. Android phones though run through quite a price range and part of this lies with choice or the diversity of manufacturers who produce Android devices.

Choice

Numerous manufactuerers build their Smartphones using Android. This has become such a strong trend, even Blackberry is building an Android phone and all Blackberry’s can at least run Android applications.

This puts pressure on price via competitiveness and provides you with a wide range of choice. An HTC phone can have the build quality of an iPhone for hundreds less while a Samsung can have every bell and whistle you imagined in a slick platform.

Major Driving Forces in an economic climate of Uncertainty

Considering that our economic climate is going through the throws of yet a new phase of uncertainty as the boomers start to retire from the workforce and will be continuing over the next number of years, this is inducing economic fear; will I have enough to retire on? For the younger people, jobs are not what they used to be in that they can be part time, temporary and low pay.

The Smartphone is not just essential any longer but is rapidly becoming a way of life. If the choice of whether to have one leans to its not a question of choice but a have to, the only thing that can be done on this front is watch the cost of the device you buy. The iPhone is not intended for the rich and famous by any means and actually works against its long terms prospects if it were but when one has iPhone sticker shock, upon seeing the price, it pushes hard to looking at the options.

Thus, Android has the circle of success at its doorstep. As it becomes an option and people buy it, the ecosystem is funneled with money. As that happens, there is more room for investment in better devices at a lower cost. The circle continues and only a huge trip up would stop this circle.

For Apple, they want their cake and eat it too. They’re fueling their current financial success on the back of the iPhone, which could easily break it. As more people get Androids, and report satisfaction it lends itself to even further sales via word of mouth.

iPhone and IOS Remain a force to be Reckoned with

A common thing often occurs with the iPhone. People try Android, like the phone as we said and the price but frequently return to the iPhone. This has to do with the fact, that although Android’s app base is increasing, it remains a difficult phone to learn and often people have an initial pull back reaction. They rush back to the iPhone, even at its steeper prices, as it’s easier to learn and use. The OS is polished and it is highly integrated into the Apple ecosystem.

For some, they might end up vascillating between the two. If people can hang in with Android long enough, they will learn it and with the move to cross platform, they are able to integrate it into the Apple ecosystem. Price and choice work in Android’s favour while simplicity, integration and high quality apps work in the iPhone’s favour.

In the end though, price will generally win out over anything else especially in a climate of economic uncertainty. When the person starts feeling in control of their OS rather than the reverse, the trend to Android will continue.

Apps is one Factor that can Win the Day

If you have an app on the iPhone that cannot really either be replicated in Android and it is critical to your function or is very tightly integrated with your ecosystem, this could keep you with the iPhone.

However, the trend to cross platform is strong. In Android, Omni has not produced an Omnifocus for the platform. Regardless, there are two apps available from third parties that replicate the function of the app. Omni could probably do a better job on an app, but if you really want to use Android and save a few pennies, this app, called GTD Focus, definitely does the trick.

Then there are the other apps that are cross platform such as:

  • Todoist
  • TODO Cloud
  • 2Do
  • Swipes
  • Conqu
  • Get it Done
  • etc

Apple’s Hold is Fragile at Best

If we didn’t have a fragile economy, Apple’s position would be less precarious. However, when you have a fragile economy, a product that is not very price competive, will push people to look at the options.

IOS is definetly a richer app environment, tightly integrated into the Mac ecosystem and is generally considered easier to use, has strong factors that weigh in its favor. However, it is so tightly controlled, that customization is quite minimal on an iPhone. People, after they get used to their Android, venture out and customize the phone to their liking, something it is quite amenable to.

In lieu of numerous factors, some of which are well out of Apple’s control, command of this market by Apple will wane if it already hasn’t. At this point, they are the only IOS player in town and based on that are doing well. Can they maintain this position. Finances, money, costs and uncertainty fuel a lot of buying decisions. Can Apple continue to support a 30 to 40% margin on really something which is a phone. Should they be able to support such margins. Such questions are important when one considers the future and what may or may not happen.

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