Google's Android operating system is gaining the interest of increasing numbers of U.S. consumers-and potentially distracting them from Apple's iPhone, according to a Dec. 17 report from ComScore.
When in August mobile users were asked which phone they planned to buy in the next three months, 7 percent said the T-Mobile G1 or T-Mobile MyTouch-the only two Android-running devices available at the time-while 21 percent named the iPhone. When the question was asked again in November, 17 percent of respondents said they planned to buy an Android-supported device and 20 percent said they planned to shop for an iPhone.
Among those with eyes for an Android smartphone in November, 8 percent named the Motorola Droid in particular. Verizon Wireless has thoroughly advertised the Droid, which is currently exclusive to its network, and ComScore calls the effort a success, noting that while Android's market share is small, it has doubled over the course of the year, reaching 3.5 percent in October.
"With handsets on multiple carriers, from multiple manufacturers, and numerous Android device models expected to be in the U.S. market by January, the Android platform is rapidly shaking up the smartphone market," Mark Donovan, ComScore senior vice president of mobile, said in a statement Dec. 17.
"While iPhone continues to set the bar with its App Store and passionate user base, and RIM [Research In Motion] remains the leader among the business set, Android is clearly gaining momentum among developers and consumers," Donovan continued.
ComScore additionally found that iPhone and Android users behave differently than other smartphone users, engaging with more mobile media and making use of the full capabilities of their devices-which should offer developers and carriers more encouragement still. Averaging numbers from polling in July, August and September, ComScore found that 94 percent of iPhone users and 92 percent of Android users said they interact with "mobile media" on their devices, while only 80 percent of other smartphone users said the same. Android and iPhone users also equally turn to their browsers for news and information-80 percent in both cases-while only 65 percent of other smartphone users do.
However, while Android and iPhone owners use instant messaging and engage in social networking more than other smartphone users do, e-mailing broke up the pair, with 70 percent of general smartphone users saying they e-mail on their phones versus 63 percent of Android users and 87 percent of iPhone users.
Dominating the survey, however, was a desire for RIM's BlackBerry handsets. Among those asked in November which smartphone they planned to buy in the next three months, 18 percent-a higher percentage than for any other device-said the BlackBerry Pearl, while another 13 percent named the BlackBerry Storm and 11 percent said the BlackBerry Curve. The BlackBerry Bold and Tour also made the list.
Only 2 percent of consumers said they planned to purchase a Palm Pre, while 1 percent planned to buy a Palm Centro. On Dec. 17, Palm announced a net loss of $81.9 million for its fiscal second quarter of 2010, citing low demand for Palm smartphones on the Sprint network, which also offers several handsets running Android.