Horace Dediu, a well known Apple analyst and former Nokia employee who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting once or twice, recently published two numbers that are important: Android used to have a 52.4% share of the US smartphone market. That number has now hit 52%. Even Horace notes that this difference falls within the realm of margin of error, but looking at things a bit deeper, it’s obvious that with each year going forward, Apple’s iPhones become more popular.
Does the US even matter? This is a hugely debated question. In terms of volume, China (1.3 billion people) makes the United States look like a postage stamp. The same can also be said about Europe, India, and the cluster of countries that make up the rest Asia. All that being said, most developers, at least the developers of hugely popular services (Facebook, WhatsApp, Netflix) are all US based.
Ignoring the US was a mistake Nokia made half a decade ago, and they’re still trying to fix that mistake today, albeit unsuccessfully. So what has to happen to Android for it to “fix” the Apple problem? That’s a tough one. Android gets better and better with time, some say faster than Apple improves iOS, but none of that really matters when compared to Apple’s brand power.
Sure, Samsung has a tremendously strong brand, but as strong as Apple? Nope.
The only brand that has the same sort of cachet as Apple’s, in my honest opinion, is Google, but the company has swore up and down that they don’t want to get into the hardware game, and that there’s a massive firewall between Motorola and the rest of Google.
So I don’t really have any good solutions. Sorry.