In 2011 something big happened … the number of smartphones sold exceeded the number of PC’s sold. In a few years the number of mobile phones being used will dwarf the number of PC’s and Tablet sales will also outpace PC’s. This will totally change how the world does business.
For now though the number of smartphone users worldwide are outnumbered 7 times by feature phones. In Australia as of the end of 2011 smartphones are now 65% of the total mobile phone market.
Globally the shift is occurring at a slower pace but this has been accelerated by the availability of budget Android smartphones at prices similar to feature phones.
At the moment the mobile platform war has two titans – Apple and Google Android. Every other competitor is struggling to keep marketshare and gain mindshare. As of late 2011 according to IDC in Australia Android had taken over from Apple as #1 mobile operating system with 49% market share. Apple was in second place with 36% which is expected to bounce back once shipments of the Apple iPhone 4S are counted in later results.
Popularity with end users is not the same as with developers though. Developers still prefer to create apps for Apple iPhones compared to Android for several reasons but the most commonly mentioned are that iPhone apps earn more money and have only a few handsets to test for compared to Android which is installed in different versions on countless devices of all shapes and sizes.
There are any number of potential events which may occur in the future: Apple could retain the premium smartphone market with Android holding the rest, Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia could revamp the fortunes of their mobile platform or Blackberry could be purchased by another manufacturer who will use it’s secure systems.
What Are People Using Mobiles/Tablets For?
- Consuming content – advertising is more difficult on mobile devices as they often have smaller screens than desktop/laptop computers
- Interacting with social media
- Shopping – both directly purchasing items/services and researching for near term purchases
- Use Apps – this market is measured in billions of dollars and is growing fast. Apps like Angry Birds and Draw Something are delivering serious revenue to the developers
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