Google Android versus Apple Mac who will win the gadget tablet showdown

Zokem’s Mobile Life panel in the US reveals that iPhone scores 84% higher in loyalty ratings than the nearest competitor, Google Android for the year 2010. Among non-iPhone users, the number one preference for the next smartphone is iPhone. The study also show that older Windows Mobile devices and Nokia’s Symbian devices have already lost the game in the US. Both Microsoft and Nokia are, however, coming back with new offerings and trying to challenge the top three platforms – iPhone, Android and Blackberry – when measured by user loyalty.  Perhaps that is why Nokia is saying bye bye to Symbian and hello to windows.

Android emerged as the single best selling mobile platform in the US. Out of individual device types, however, the few iPhone models that are available on the market are actually selling more than any specific Android device, and for the time being, Apple’s well-controlled ecosystem, including the iTunes app store and traditionally higher revenues per device, seem to make an unmatched combination. As a platform, however, Android is a fair competitor –and in certain numbers, bigger than iPhone – but the industry attention is still geared towards the iPhone as the leading smartphone platform, particularly in the US.

Zokem, a mobile analytics company focused on smartphones, is running mobile consumer panels in all major markets. The panels do not only measure what people do with mobile phones, but also track how loyal people are towards different phone models and carriers.

From the 2010 summary report that was published recently, a few figures are worth pointing out. First of all, “the figures suggest clearly that iPhone is the top performing platform in terms of user loyalty, and therefore, it is an increasingly likely pick for a repurchase” tells Dr. Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Zokem. “Android is a good number two in the US market, even though the loyalty score is not nearly as high as it is for iPhones, but it seems that people who are using Android are also very likely to buy an Android-based device as their next smartphone too”, Verkasalo continues. Zokem is using a standardized net promoter score (NPS) to analyze user loyalty.

Figure 1.

Figure 1 reflects the loyalty that mobile users have for the phones that they are currently using. Net promoter score between -100 % and 100 %, is measuring the loyalty that people have towards the phone. Generically NPS score higher than 60 % is considered good. The only smartphone platform that exceeds that is iPhone, at 73 %. Google’s Android platform comes second, followed by Samsung’s Bada-based phones (Samsung has now shifted strategy more towards Android-based devices) and then RIM’s Blackberry phones. It is notable that two remarkable players, Nokia and Microsoft, received very low loyalty ratings for their own platforms. Also Palm’s Webos, sold to HP during year 2010, did not achieve a very high NPS score.

Figure 2.

Low loyalty correlates with higher churn, meaning the likelihood to shift to a competing platform during the next 12 months, as seen in Figure 2. There are, however, certain exceptions, like Samsung Bada, Palm WebOS, and Nokia Symbian S60. These platforms have suffered from lack of mass adoption, weak app stores, and relatively moderate push by US carriers. “Even though Samsung Bada, for example, received relatively good loyalty rating, most users were still committed to jump to one of the better known platforms, and therefore the churn for Bada was very high”, says Zhao Hanbo from the Zokem analyst team.

Figure 3

Figure 3 reflects some key correlations, underlining the fact that users of iPhones, Blackberries and Android devices are all more likely to buy a similar device in the future, rather than to change to a competing platform. The results are quite contrasting regarding Palm and Nokia phones, reflecting the fact that the weak platforms of today might be even weaker in the future.

The results of this analysis are based on Zokem’s Global Smartphone Study 2010 report from the US, where over 1 500 smartphone users were surveyed per quarter regarding their device preferences and perceptions. Zokem continues to run its Mobile Life panels in the developed smartphone markets providing insights on consumer behavior, user satisfaction and loyalty, serving its customers to improve their current product and service offerings, and to benchmark against competition.

There is no denying that Google came out from the cold and is catching up to Apple based on the graph above.

In another yahoo article,

Third-party Apps

Both Google and Apple have already reached its critical mass a long time ago that ensures it has the third-party apps people want such as Dropbox, Evernote, Angry Birds and Amazon Kindle. There are some gaps, such as Android’s lack of a Netflix streaming app, but for the most part each store has its fair share of apps. iTunes has more than 350,000 iPhone apps plus a few thousand more specifically for the iPad. Android had more than 100,000 apps at last count in late 2010, that number has likely gone up dramatically since then. A recent study by security firm Lookout found the Android market was growing at a rate three times faster than the iTunes App Store.

Music and Video

Apple’s U.S. iTunes music store has more than 13 million songs and is the dominant player in the U.S. digital music business owning about 70 percent of the market. Google hasn’t got into the music game yet, but the search giant has been talking about a cloud-based music service for Android for close to a year. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Sanjay Jha, CEO of Motorola Mobility, said Google’s music service would be launching soon, according to the Guardian. Google and Motorola have a close working relationship on Android products such as the first Honeycomb-based tablet the Motorola Xoom.

As for video, Apple again has a wide selection of movies and TV shows on iTunes, while Android relies on third-party services such as Blockbuster.

Mobile Hardware

Hardware is easily the biggest differentiator for the two platforms. Apple currently sells just two smartphone models–the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS–available on two different carriers in the U.S. There are different storage configurations you can get, but there are only two different base models. Apple also sells the iPod Touch and the iPad.

Android has nearly 40 Android phones available for sale in the U.S. at all four major U.S. carriers. So far the only significant iPad-like Android devices have been the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Dell Streak 7, but the Motorola Xoom and HTC Flyer are coming soon as well as devices from LG, Toshiba, a new Galaxy Tab and many others.

TV Boxes or Set-Top Boxes

Both companies are using their mobile platforms to enter the highly contested set-top box market facing off against competitors such as Microsoft, TiVo and Roku. Google TV is an ambitious project that combines television, online video and the Web into one platform for set-top boxes and Internet-connected HDTVs. But Google TV has seen resistance from major television networks unhappy with Google’s multimedia mash-up.

The iOS-based Apple TV is a more humble offering than Google TV that includes Netflix, iTunes and PC-to-Apple TV streaming via AirPlay. Google plans on opening up Google TV to third-party apps, and Apple is expected to do the same for Apple TV.

The Web

Each platform is touting the wonders of HTML 5 and the highly functional Web apps the new standard brings. But iOS and Android differ on how to deal with Adobe Flash video–the most popular format for Web video. Apple refuses to allow Flash functionality to be built into iOS, and is pushing for Web sites to adopt iOS-friendly H.264 video with an mp4 wrapper. Android, meanwhile, supports Adobe Flash 10.1 in Android 2.2 or greater.

But Android’s Flash advantage is becoming less of an issue. A recent report by video encoding service Encoding.com said that 78 percent of its customers are now encoding mobile video in iOS-compatible formats.

Goodies

There are tons of miscellaneous goodies offered on the two platforms. Google’s Android, for example, offers extensive voice commands for sending text messages, e-mail, placing phone calls, Web browsing, opening apps and search. The iPhone’s native voice commands include music playback controls and voice-activated dialing; however, you can use Google’s iOS app for voice-based search.

Both platforms recently unveiled in-app subscription plans allowing you to subscribe to your favorite news sources, music and video services or other subscription-based content providers. Android also offers free turn-by-turn directions in Google Maps for Android; while Apple relies on third-party services such as Waze and MapQuest.

Each company is also trying to get into social in a big way, although neither has adoption rates close to social media’s big players such as Facebook and Foursquare. Google has Google Buzz for information sharing, Orkut for a Facebook-like experience and a third social push, the oft-rumored Google Me. Apple has Ping, a music-based social network built into iOS and desktop versions of iTunes. The company may also be overhauling MobileMe to include location-based and media-sharing features, according to recent rumors.

sources: yahoo, zokem’s study,

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