Data Monday: Android's Gateway OS

by April 30, 2013

Despite many more device sales, usage of Android smartphones and tablets frequently lags behind Apple's iOS. While lots of theories have been proposed to explain this Android engagement mystery, the most popular idea suggests many Android buyers are not aware of what their devices can do. And, perhaps more interestingly, Android serves as a "gateway OS" for them before an eventual switch to iOS.

  • The rate of new smartphone users in the United States was the second highest ever recorded with over 1 million new-to-smartphones users every week during February 2013. (source)
  • The growth in smartphones has been driven by iOS and Android. Together they now make up 91% of the user base. (source)
  • AT&T and Verizon WIreless had about 65% of US smartphone sales in Q4 2012 (source)
  • On these carriers, Android is not growing at all and not subject to seasonality and new "hero" devices launches. iPhone on the other hand, is growing and shows strong seasonality. (source)
  • iOS user gains have out-paced Android for the last four periods which resulted in a decrease in Android share of users. (source)
  • The implication is there are two kinds of smartphone buyers in the United States. Those shifting from non-smartphones to Androids and those shifting from Android to iPhone then upgrading iPhone when new ones are released. (source)
  • For many of these first time smartphone owners, Android becomes a "gateway OS" to Apple's operating system. 91% of iPhone owners said they would stick with the iPhone when it’s time to upgrade. 24% of Android users, on the other hand are planning to switch. (source)
  • The Android OS currently loses about one in five of all the owners put into it. (source)