iPhone vs. Android: Most profitable vs. most popular

Feb 1, 2011
Finance

Would you rather be the most popular? Or the richest? That’s how the battle has been shaping up between Google’s (GOOG) Android OS for smartphones and Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone. Android is reported by Canalys to now be the world’s leading smartphone platform. Not to be outdone, iPhone is reported in asymco be the most profitable […]

Would you rather be the most popular? Or the richest?

That’s how the battle has been shaping up between Google’s (GOOG) Android OS for smartphones and Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone.

Android is reported by Canalys to now be the world’s leading smartphone platform. Not to be outdone, iPhone is reported in asymco be the most profitable smartphone.

Canalys published its fourth quarter data on in the smartphone market, showing Android is the No. 1 platform. Android smartphones reached 32.9 million shipped, just ahead of Nokia’s (NOK) Symbian platform with 31 million shipped.

The analysts reported: “In Q4 2010, volumes of Google OS-based smart phones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year.”

HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45 percent of Google OS-based handset shipments.”

Meanwhile, Josh Ong at Apple Insider reported on Horace Dediu’s estimates at Asymco: “With just 4.2 percent of the global mobile phone market, Apple’s iPhone accounts for a massive 51 percent of the total profits.”

iPhone will make even more gains as it join’s Verizon Wireless’s (VZ) portfolio Feb. 10.

Ong notes: “Verizon is conservatively projecting sales of 11 million iPhones in 2011, but executives have said that the handset could help the company’s growth ‘really explode over the next several years.’”  Some estimate as many as 25 million Verizon iPhone units sold this year.

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The entire smartphone industry made major strides in 2010.

Canalys said the fourth quarter saw the worldwide smartphone market continue to soar, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89 percent. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80 percent over 2009.

Canalys VP and Principal Analyst Chris Jones said: “2010 has been a fantastic year for the smartphone market. After a difficult 2009, the speed with which the market has recovered has required real commitment and innovation from vendors and they have risen to the challenge.”

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