Those Stories About Android - iPhone Usage Share Are All Wrong


More than a few websites are getting excited about an article published by Forbes, claiming the iPhone's share of usage is higher than previously thought. That article references a blog post by Google employee Dave Burke, which reveals that two billion Android devices are in use right now.

The argument runs that as Apple released news that iOS runs on one billion devices recently, one third of phones in use today are iPhones, rather than the one fifth previously accepted.

All good as far as it goes, however there's a rather large hole in the theory. Google only measures active Android phones running Google Play Services - and given that no phones sold in China have these services they can't be counted by Google, so aren't included in those usage numbers.

China has been the biggest smartphone market since 2012, so failing to count these Android devices rather skewers any theory about relative usage in the market. In 2016 almost half a billion smartphones were sold in China and more than 80% of them had non-Google Android installed. The same was true in 2015. For the first six months of 2017 its unlikely that figure will be much changed.

That's a billion Android phones not being considered in Forbes' story. Or rather, non-story.

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