This Christmas, more smartphones and tablets were wrapped up and gifted to individuals than any year prior. There were 17.5 million activations of both Apple and Android devices on Christmas Day alone, over double last year’s 6.8 million. Every day in December showed high activations, with an average of 4 million each day. This increase also extended to applications, with more than 328 million apps downloaded on Christmas Day, compared to the average December daily of 155 million.
In 2011, there were 491.4 million smartphones sold worldwide. 2012 is supposed to improve on these numbers as mobile continues to grow even over PC sales. In fact, Mobile devices will outsell PC’s 2:1 in 2012, and there are over 1 billion of them in use, catching up quickly to the 1.5 billion PC’s out there.
Apple and Google make up the majority of device sales (no big surprise there). The danger for Apple lies in Android’s cheap price points. With some Android smart phones dropping as low as $45 at wholesale, a lot of people are getting phone that couldn’t afford them prior. With Apples high cost/ high quality marketing technique, they may lose out on some of the market if they don’t release a product that caters to the crowds that can’t afford a 200-600 dollar smartphone. It is likely that Android sales could reach as high as 1 billion a year if Apple doesn’t step in.
Some make the argument that although Android is no doubt growing, its device type/setup is spread too thin for its own good. Having an open platform is great in the sense that it allows for many developers and manufactures to make a phone using your OS, but having so many versions under so many companies makes cross compatibility a difficult task. With Apple, you know you will get all the updates, and the apps will all work. Android doesn’t have this luxury. Although Google will release updates to their OS, a lot of times the phone manufacturer or sometimes even the phone carrier will hold the update hostage until they add their own code, or at times never even release the updates. On my Verizon family plan, we have 4 Android phones, from 3 different manufacturers (Motorola, HTC, and Sony), with 3 different versions of the Android OS. This makes some apps incompatible between them, and some features available on some but not the others.
There is no doubt a “mobile revolution” coming, and it has started far before this Christmas. Being mobile is cheaper and easier than ever before. How long till they outshine PC’s and all you need is a tablet or phone?