October 25, 2014

Report Finds Android Could Eclipse iOS Install Base Within a Year

We’ve seen our fair share of reports and studies over the last year which show Android’s market share on the rise.  With each quarter that passes another survey comes out telling us that our favorite platform is doing better than the competition.  At some point all this Android momentum has to catch up and push the install base beyond Apple, right?  According to Horace Dediu of asymco, this could happen within a year.

Using data that starts from the launch of both Android and iOS platforms, Dediu plotted the known activations across each quarter.  Four years in, Apple has around 191 million cumulative users whereas Android is at 83 million after 31 months.  Factoring in the impressive growth rate and doing a bit of math, the Android install base should overtake Apple at some point in the next twelve months.

To be fair here, this takes everything as it is today and assumes nothing changes.  We have no idea what either company or platform will be doing six months from now, nor what sort of options are available to customers.

One should be careful about drawing conclusions that this implies effective competition… iOS is growing at at least 100%/yr and Android’s second year was 65x bigger than its first. iOS growth is limited by the ramp rates of a limited portfolio of products. Android growth is limited by how quickly vendors can bring out products. Neither platform is demand constrained and hence they are competing for share of growth not for share of a fixed pie.