Android vs iOS by the numbers as 2013 kicks off

January 23, 2013
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The mobile landscape was quite exciting throughout 2012 on both sides of the isle, but especially for Android. With millions and millions of devices shipped and sold from the Galaxy S III, Nexus 4, to the iPhone 5. While we've all seen the numbers - which we'll mention again below - now that 2013 is in full stride lets look forward on how 2013 will come into its own.

Android had a strong year in 2012, but there's no denying that Apple did too with their iPhone 5 and new iPad. While we don't know what the future holds for the iPhone 6 (or 5s) or the next Nexus, surely the battle will continue on and grow tighter and tighter. At the same time is it fair to compare one phone to an entire Android platform with hundreds of devices? Research firms with their stats, details, numbers, and analysis all take different approaches but IDC always stands out for some raw data. So we figured we'd start there.

To end 2012 research firm IDC concluded that Android had 75% of the market share, compared to just 14.9% for Apple and even less for the rest. Not only did Android have 75% in Q3 of 2012, but in 2011 it only had 57.5%, which was still ahead of Apple. To put that in actual numbers, about 181 million smartphones were sold, and of those, 136 million were Android. Do these numbers even matter though? Those were just phones too, not tablets. And how many parents do you know who own an Android phone but don't use it for anything other than a dumbphone? Just something to think about. Another thing to consider is later today Apple will be releasing some of their financial results, but the numbers won't be changing too much here.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 10.11.57 AM

Now there's a lot that goes into these research numbers, not to mention product release schedules, 2 year contracts and more that can all effect the outcome. In the end though, it's pretty clear who is winning the battle, and even clearer who will win the war. That is Android! With Google's baby taking a strong hold on 2011, rocking through 2012 to top the charts - 2013 will be even bigger. Another report from Gartner confirmed Android's dominance as their sales completely doubled from 2011 to 2012. Can we expect the same in 2013? Samsung is clearly leading the charge for Android, and we're expecting big things from them, and others. In early to mid 2013 things will really start cruising again for the Android world.

Screen-Shot-2012-12-31-at-10.38.22-AM-540x338

If everything we saw at CES 2013 and what we'll be seeing at MWC is any indication, this will be an impressive year for Android that really puts a cap on Google's success. With powerful quad-core smartphones with 2GB of RAM or more pushing the limits. 5-inch 1080p screens, 6-inch handsets and bigger, 4G LTE as a standard across all carriers, and of course the Nexus lineup things are looking good right about now. The next few months should really set the tone for Android.

Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S IV will with no doubt be impressive. Motorola's looking to imitate their success and release a flagship device on all carriers like the X-Phone, and HTC's upcoming M7 could have a similar approach. If we start seeing top end superphone devices of all shapes and sizes from multiple manufacturers all readily available in one form on multiple carriers (as is the iPhone and GSIII) Google's Android will continue to dominate and only increase its lead as the year moves forward.

We're looking forward to all those devices mentioned above, and surely will be surprised by a few awesome phones this year. The Optimus G was one of those last year that caught us by surprise. Surely we will be keeping an eye on Google with their Nexus line and Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie. The year will start taking shape in March and April as we head into Google I/O and things hit full force. Get ready to enjoy the top spot and doubling sales numbers again folks! Who's excited?


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  • someone somewhere

    Why is Sony not mentioned here?
    They have released the by far most impressive Android phone thus far and I doubt HTC or Samsung will be able to beat it in terms of pure quality.

    • http://www.androidcommunity.com Cory Gunther

      yea you’re right, but Sony barely has any market presence here in the US. I don’t remember the last time I saw one of their phones in public

      • someone somewhere

        I think this will change with the Xperia Z. Based upon the way people have written about it alone is entirely new.
        No other of the Sony phone had such a presence in the news when it was released and here in Germany people are already pretty hyped about the phone.

      • http://twitter.com/add119 adam

        actually i seen xperia ion 3 times in a month is where u live. I live in nyc seen them in brooklyn a couple of times

    • anywherehome

      bought xperia tipo dual:
      1) lcd lifting
      2) second sim no signal
      3) camera error

      shoddy

      • someone somewhere

        There are always lemons. I know many budget people happy with the Tipo.
        But you can’t really compare a sub-100€ phone to a 650€ phone.

        As for bang for the buck, the Tipo might still hold the top spot of devices for 2012 unless of course you get a defective one.

      • anywherehome

        Samsung and HTC are OK, so Sony could be better

      • someone somewhere

        Not at the same price point. Just look at the Galaxy Y.
        HTC Sense is the worst. The whole of the One series is a bunch of beta testing with loads of problems.
        Probably also the reason in Q3 2012 Sony overtook HTC for the first time in ages to become worldwide no. 3 in smartphone sales.
        And anything Samsung has ever produced pales in comparison to the Xperia Z, especially when you hold the SIII next to the Xperia Z.
        And I really doubt, that the SIV will be much better concerning quality.

      • mark beckford

        Err wrong look at the nexus 4 $359.00 compare it to any smartphone on the market $600.00 or not I’ll take the nexus 4 any day.. Sent from my hard to get nexus 4 running Jellybean 4.2.1

      • someone somewhere

        The Nexus 4 lacks in so many specs the Xperia Z has…
        While I believe they share the same processor the Nexus 4 has no
        – 13MP cam with HDR
        – no expandable memory
        – is not waterproof
        – has no full HD display
        – is thicker and worsely built
        – has a smaller battery
        – lacks the software enhancements the Xperia Z has
        – lacks LTE (at least European frequencies)
        All the Nexus 4 has going for it is 4.2 and the barometric sensor, as well as QI.
        so I think the price difference is much justified by the large difference in specs and build quality, considering street prices will probably we well below 600$ once the Xperia Z arrives in the states.

      • Ben Wharton

        +Those ‘software enhancements aren’t really a benefit, they’re just difficult to remove and if anyone with a nexus wants then then they just install apps that do the same thing. I bet you’ll find pure android id faster too.

        +Whilst the camera is only 8MP it does have HDR so you can remove that from the list.

        +Don’t know the exact thickness comparisons, but you shouldn’t make statements based on build quality without evidence. Mine hasn’t fallen to bits yet and feels solid enough.

        +I’m in the UK and only EE has 4G, so it’s not that important over here.

        Sent from my hard to get Nexus 4 running Jellybean 4.2.2

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000391593412 Daenon Janis

        I’ve used both and I personally think the Nexus is more fluid and pleasent than the Z. Just because it doesn’t have the bloatware that I wouldn’t really use.

    • http://www.facebook.com/novembergold Douglas Anderson

      Maybe because they release nothing in the U.S.

  • Hermitcreeper

    I think that this does show a lot as far as who is “winning” however there are so many different statistics. I specifically chose this website and an Apple based website and each side had completely different statistics showing that their side won. I hope that this side is in fact winning, however, because I despise Apple and their products.

    • http://www.facebook.com/novembergold Douglas Anderson

      Apple has to heavily skew and make up numbers to win. Android sells more, The Galaxy SIII sells more single handedly that Apple. The only thing Apple wins at is more profit per device. It is simple Apple screws its fanboys over and they keep taking it by over paying for crapple.

  • http://www.facebook.com/novembergold Douglas Anderson

    The story for 2013 will be how the iPad became an also ran.

  • DeerHunter

    iPhone is good but android does more and does everything better. Check out the Nexus 4 and compare it to the 4S or the 5.

  • http://www.halosystechnologies.com/ Saurabh Saxena

    According to comScore MobiLens data from December 2012, Android currently owns the larger market share at 53 percent, while iPhone holds a strong #2 position at 36 percent. Now i am waiting for the first quarter stats of 2013 in the march end.