Smartphone competitors are about to begin feeling the impact of the Google Android operating system, according to a Jan. 4 report from ChangeWave, which shows consumer interest in Android to have spiked during the last three months.
In a survey conducted from Dec. 9 to Dec. 14, ChangeWave asked consumers who planned to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days which OS they'd prefer to have on their phone. Twenty-one percent said Android - which was a huge jump from the only 6 percent who said the same in September and the 3 percent who wanted an Android-running smartphone in June.
"To put this in context, three months ago Android OS was tied for last place in consumer preference among the major mobile operating systems," analysts Paul Carton and Jean Crumrine wrote in the report. "But since then it has surged into second place ahead of all competitors except the iPhone OS X ... which remains the No. 1 choice for operating systems, although down [4 points] from previously."
Though the Android OS has been available for approximately a year, and runs on devices such as the T-Mobile G1 and the Samsung Moment, Carton and Crumrine write that the Motorola Droid - which arrived on the Verizon Wireless network Nov. 6 - is the "biggest and most immediate beneficiary of the enormous wave of new demand for the Android OS."
Google, however, is expected to introduce a new smartphone, the HTC-based Nexus One, on Jan. 5. The much-buzzed-about Android-running phone is expected to be available unlocked, allowing users to sign up for service with either T-Mobile or AT&T. Early reviews have likened the Nexus One to the Droid, however - not the iPhone.
The number of ChangeWave survey respondents who named the iPhone as the OS they hoped for on an upcoming purchase was 28 percent, which was down four points from the 32 percent who responded in kind in an identical September survey. Still, Apple continued to dominate, with 18 percent of respondents saying they planned to buy a phone with the RIM BlackBerry OS (up from 17 percent in September), 6 percent naming Windows Mobile (down from 9 percent in September) and 3 percent wanting a Palm OS, or WebOS, smartphone, which was down from 6 percent in September.
The December poll additionally showed smartphone ownership to be steadily rising, with 42 percent of respondents saying they currently own a smartphone, which was up from 39 percent in September and 37 percent in June. Additionally, 12.8 percent said they plan on buying one within the next 90 days, which ChangeWave reports as the "second highest percentage ever recorded in a ChangeWave survey."
When asked about the manufacturer of the device they planned to buy in the next 90 days, responses also boded well for the Android OS. Apple and RIM led the pack, with 32 percent and 21 percent, respectively, though both of these were down since September - Apple by 4 points and RIM by 6 points. Motorola, however, dramatically rose from 1 percent in September to 13 percent in December, and HTC, which makes several Android-running devices, was named by 9 percent of respondents in December, compared to 5 percent in September.
While noting how Android has introduced a "huge transformation in consumer planned buying trends," wrote Carton and Crumrine, Apple remains the big winner.
"In the six months since the iPhone 3GS was launched to enormous fanfare, Apple's planned buying has fallen just 12 points, from its high ... far less than the 26-point drop we saw in the six months after the 2008 iPhone 3G launch," states the report. "In short, the current survey shows Apple is still excellently positioned to outperform in the consumer smartphone market going forward."