Analyst opinion on how the Verizon iPhone 4 will impact Android handsets is mixed. Most agree the Verizon iPhone will lure customers from AT&T, but will it lure Sprint and T-Mobile customers, too?
Most high-tech analysts in the free world agree the CMDA-based
Verizon iPhone 4
will impede both AT&T's iPhone sales and the growth of
Google Android handsets on Verizon Wireless' network.
Few agree, however, on just how much Android will be
affected. EWEEK found some analysts who have some insight into the Verizon
Gleacher Co. analyst Mark Mckechnie, who estimated
Verizon accounted for 7 million of the 14 million Motorola Android phones shipped
in 2010, said that number will likely fall to 5 million through 2011.
That's quite a hit, but not catastrophic, particularly
one when one considers Samsung sold 10 million Galaxy S Android units in just
half a year. Remember that HTC, Sony, LG and others also make Android models
for all four U.S. carriers.
Many analysts expect
Verizon to ship 9 million to 15 million iPhone 4s this year, minus the
benefit of a full year of sales because the device won't hit stores until Feb.
Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe is going with 16.5
million Verizon iPhone 4s sold in 2011. However, Howe also believes that despite the cachet of
Apple and its iPhone, Android will weather the Verizon iPhone storm well on
sheer diversity of handsets.
"Android provides a lot of choices that Apple
doesn't," Howe told eWEEK. "Want a hard keyboard? You're not going to
be buying an iPhone. Want a 4G device? Not available on the Apple platform
today. There are still lots of ways to differentiate other than with the OS."
Forrester Research analyst Charles Golvin takes a
slightly dimmer view of Android's prospects as a result of the Verizon iPhone
coming to the market
Golvin believes that the majority of Verizon's iPhone
sales will be to its existing customers, some of whom may be trading in their
Blackberry or Droid to get an iPhone.
"It's also reasonable to assume that a high
percentage of those who will migrate from Sprint, T-Mobile, and smaller
carriers are already carrying a phone running another smartphone platform," Golvin said. "All
told, this means that Android will see some actual losses in share as well as
lost sales opportunities."
However, Golvin has some caveats to keep Android from sliding to far. For example, the
flagship devices from T-Mobile and Sprint are fueled by Android, and LG, Dell,
Sony Ericsson, Sanyo and others are all getting into the Android handheld
Most importantly, he said Verizon will maintain a strong
commitment to Android. "They have strategic benefits like customizing the
UI, operating their own store, and promoting their own apps that are simply
unavailable with Apple."
Moreover, he believes the iPhone 5 won't
, while all of the handsets that Verizon will be promoting for its
new network will run Android. The Motorola Droid Bionic
, HTC Shift and Motorola Xoom tablet will all tap into
Verizon's 4G LTE network later this year.
Verizon itself acknowledged that while there will be some
cannibalization of Android by the iPhone, many people will stick with their
Droids. A spokesperson for the company told eWEEK:
"You may have some customers who will switch from an
Android phone to an iPhone but we will also have many who are perfectly
satisfied with the device they are using. One of the advantages we have is our
stores will be stocked with both so customers can not only look but touch
before making their decision."
Yankee's Howe added that there's room for Apple, Android,
RIM platforms, if not more, such as Microsoft Windows Phone 7.
"After all, the global market for cars is smaller
than mobile phones, and we have hundreds of automobile manufacturers worldwide,"