Now that it looks like the release of a new Apple iPhone is imminent (the company has invited the press to its headquarters next week to "talk iPhone," according to published reports), it may be time for the makers of Android phones to look for an angle to compete. One possible solution: speed.
According to analytics company Localytics, just over a third of Android-powered phones (37%) are capable of running on 4G networks (which in itself is a bit of a construct as there are several different formats that the companies are calling "4G"). What's more, the number of 4G-capable Android-powered smartphones has increased sharply, up 50% since the beginning of the year.
"Looking at how much it's grown in the calendar year, it's a significant amount of growth," Daniel Ruby, director of online marketing for Localytics, tells Marketing Daily. "For people going out looking for a smartphone, they see 4G as a thing that is appealing to them."
Moving into the fourth quarter, when many people may be looking to purchase smartphones in the holiday season, the makers of Android-powered phones (which include Samsung, Motorola and HTC) may look to push these phones' faster capabilities to compete with the expected late October release of the iPhone 5 (particularly if that release includes availability through Sprint, which would mean the phone is available from the nation's three largest carriers for the first time).
"Connectivity is going to be the key," Ruby says, adding that the makers will have to "pound the table" to stress that connectivity is keeping consumers from getting the most out of their phones. "That becomes a major part of Android manufacturers' efforts to compete, to say, 'Don't buy into the hype of Apple. We've got a faster network and phone.'"
Much is not known about Apple's latest iPhone. But Ruby and other tech observers have expressed doubt the phone will be 4G capable at the outset. Such phones require bigger batteries (or have faster battery drainage) and larger antennas than the iPhone generally has or Apple is willing to work into their design, Ruby says. "If it were anybody but Apple, I'd say it's a bad decision," Ruby says. "But they have shown time and again that they're dictating where consumer demand is going."