Android isn't just growing market share, it's growing in mindshare too. A new survey from market research firm ChangeWave shows that an increasing number of consumers plan to buy phones using the Google mobile operating system at the expense of future iPhone sales.
In September, 37% of those surveyed said they preferred to have Android as their smartphone OS compared to 30% in June. At the same time, the proportion of people who plan to make the iPhone their next smartphone dropped from 50% to 38% over the last three months. That puts Android and the iPhone on a roughly even footing among people who plan to buy a high-end device in the next 90 days.
More remarkable is that Android's share among prospective smartphone buyers has jumped from 6% to 37% in the last year. Google is now activating 200,000 Android handsets a day worldwide, and in the second quarter outpaced the iPhone for the first time in U.S. unit sales. Gartner recently projected that Android will become the second-most pervasive mobile OS globally by 2014, with about 29% share to Simian's 30%.
With respect to the iPhone, it's not surprising that consumer enthusiasm around the device would drop off after the surge of interest around the launch of the iPhone 4 in June. Still, the survey suggests the flagship Apple device is no longer the object of desire it was for smartphone users at the start of summer.
One of the drawbacks of Apple's OS being limited to a single manufacturer and wireless carrier (AT&T) isn't just availability across fewer handsets and service providers.
While Apple has been launching a new iPhone each year, new Android phones are coming out on what seems like a weekly -- if not monthly -- basis, giving Google an advantage in mindshare among mobile consumers.
New flavors of Android are introduced on a rolling basis while iPhone adherents have to wait a year for a new model. That's an inherent benefit of Google's more open approach that should continue to help the company compete with Apple's long-standing reputation for superior design.
The upside of Apple's more tightly controlled model might be seen in the higher satisfaction rating with the company's iOS. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of iPhone owners said they were very satisfied with their current device, compared to 65% of Android owners, 32% of Palm users, 31% of BlackBerry users and 24% of Windows Mobile owners. ChangeWave's survey of 4,000 mobile users was completed on Sept. 23.