Why iPad is untouchable while iPhones were beaten by Android

iPad ads everywhere

Over on Techcrunch it’s fun to watch the comments come in after it ran yet another “Apple’s iPad still has no competitors” rant.

The Android fans are saying “just watch, Android will beat your iPad just like it beat your iPhone in market share.”*

No, this time won’t be the same.

(* I put an asterisk on this because I still haven’t seen convincing numbers that Android has beat Apple at anything that matters, like number of apps, profitability, or even sales at Verizon).

First of all, ALL THAT MATTERS IS APPS. Let’s keep repeating that until you get it.

See, with the iPhone Android got to “enough apps” that it largely took away iPhone’s advantage there. With that advantage gone, now the market could look at other things. Android beat iPhone in several key places: more carrier choices, more device choices, cheaper prices.

The thing is iPad has a total lock on the app market RIGHT NOW. Consumers won’t even be able to consider other advantages Android has until Android gets enough apps.

Now, some people think “enough” is 16, which is currently the number on Android. I totally disagree and believe the market will, too. Apple’s iPad has 60,000 apps.

Until Android gets “enough” apps (let’s say that’s 5,000) it won’t enable average people to consider it because they will look stupid when going into the store to buy one.

That’s why Google’s IO conference this year is so important. Can they convince iPad developers and others to build apps for tablets on Android?

Google needs to have a great developer story and, so far, it doesn’t have one. Mostly because its slates won’t sell nearly as well as iPads do, and even if they did have a runaway success, their app store doesn’t monetize nearly as well as Apple’s does. Can they fix that before the IO event? That’s worth watching.

That said, I can’t see any scenario that takes Apple’s iPad out of the #1 slot this year. That’s why it has no competition and why Techcrunch is right.

UPDATE: another proof point? Technologizer noticed how bad the Google app store is. Think that makes developers excited? Nope.

Comments

  1. When will you grow over your app mentality? It seems you only have one point for everything you are defending.

    Apple has millions of apps today, how many do you use? 500? 1000? Do you even know how many crap apps are out there in the app store? Also do you think that the situation of apps will remain the same all through the existence of these devices and OSs?

    Android has an equal amount of crap apps.

    1. I have 380 apps loaded on my iOS devices, I only use 30, but you sound like the folks who kept asking Microsoft to remove features from Office to make it “lighter weight.” The problem was that each feature was used by 100,000 folks.

      Look at the app for my bank. How many people use that? Not many.

      Or, even better, let’s go to the World Economic Forum. Loic pulled out his Android tablet. But his apps didn’t work. He missed classes and couldn’t sign up for stuff. Then he pulled out his iPad and it worked great and the apps were a lot better. Will you use that app? No, but 3,000 people did and they won’t buy Android.

      It’s the apps that sell these devices. At least today.

      Put yourself in a consumer’s shoes at Best Buy. “Does this slate run Oprah’s new app?” “Does it run Flipboard?” “Does it run Angry Birds?” “Does it run the New York Times?” “Does it run that cool star app my friends showed me on the iPad?” “Does it have the BBC app?” “Does it have the cool drawing app?” Etc etc etc.

      1. @scobleizer Your iPad’s 60k apps is jus a fraction no of apps on my Windows 7 laptop. I think iPad itself is useless.

        1. Windows 7 apps aren’t designed for touch, though. Believe me I’ve been through this. You remember I worked at Microsoft and NEC (where I sold tablets back in 2003).

          1. “Windows 7 apps aren’t designed for touch” – They don’t need to. Touch is part of NUI (Natural User Interface). Every task has its own UI. Content consuming may be good using touch, but what about content creation?

        2. so use your win7 laptop. I can’t part with my 13″ MBP, nothing can replace it. for everything else there’s the iPhone.

          just so you know, we are talking tablet vs. tablet.

      2. Does your iPad run Photoshop? Does your iPad run Office? Does your iPad run AutoDesk? Does your iPad run Flash? It does nothing.

      3. Does your iPad run Photoshop? Does your iPad run Office? Does your iPad run AutoDesk? Does your iPad run Flash? It does nothing.

        1. Interesting, I am living quite fine without any of those four, and if I cared, I’d just get a machine that was designed for those.

          iPad is designed for personal use at home on your couch. I don’t do any of those kinds of apps at home on my couch. Neither do most people.

        2. I don’t even run office on my computer…so what. One thing the iPad has done for me is make me much less reliant on .doc files. It’s so much easier not using them and using txt instead. When, or if, I need to format a document I can use it.

          Flash…I’m in the process of disabling it on my computers, I’m tired of it crashing all the time.

          1. I use ClicktoFlash to block Flash in Safari, OpenDNS to block all Flash-serving ad domains, and AdBlock in Safari and Chrome to remove ads, which make extensive use of Flash. I only enable Flash as a last resort if content I want to see has no HTML5 equivalent.

          2. Since Flash is built into Chrome (isolated to Chrome processes so no Flash crashes interfering with the system and is kept up to date through Google), the only copy of Flash on my laptop is in Chrome. If I need to run Flash, I use the Develop menu in Safari to “Open Page in Chrome”. I don’t use Click to Flash any more (although it works very well).

    2. your argument here is that Android matches up when it comes to the number of crappy apps? okay Android wins there. so what?

      robert is just stating one of the important reasons WHY? and it makes sense to me, as of today.

      1. My point was not that, my point was that we use 500 apps and say Apple has 200K+ apps or 60K+ apps even when we know that we wouldn’t use those damn things even if it were free. Like Scoble said he has 380 and uses only 30, and then he brags about Android having only 15 apps, they have half of what he uses…. this was my point.

        1. The problem is everyone has a different set of apps. For instance, look at just banking. You might use the Bank of America app. I might use the Wells Fargo one. My boss might use the USAA one. Your friend might use another.

          So, if your platform only has the Bank of America one, it will keep the rest of us from buying your platform.

          The long tail here is a LOT more important than most people are giving it credit for.

        2. you are assuming that all 15 of those are useful. Look you are right when you talk about the number we use. I have around 90 apps on my iphone 4 and use around 25. maybe the same for you on your device(any platform)

          now your needs are different than mine. our 25 most used apps are not the exact same set. quite possible my essential apps arent there on your platform. thats all.

          once the app store has enough to cater to everyone’s needs, goal attained. which is clearly not to attain just a huge number.

          maybe android tablets will beat App Store at this in 2012. But it’s not 2012 yet. We are therefore buying iPad this year. Peace!

        1. Yes, but those were not dedicated Apps. I am a iOS app developer, to run an iPhone app on an iPad is not hard…. you need to make some changes, the same will happen with Honeycomb. Code drop happened this month and there will be 5000 apps soon, XOOM is the first Honeycomb tablet to come out and you praised it yourself, so….. wait don’t hop onto horses and crucify something before people even have a chance to look at things.

          Early adopters != Early crucifiers

          1. I’m sure there WILL BE apps. We’ll see what happens then. Motorola Xoom is pretty nice. But there’s lots of bug reports coming in that I never saw on the iPad, too. I hit one myself. I can’t add calendar items in Google’s own calendar.

          2. hmm, engadget got 8hrs and 20 minutes of videoplayback out of their Xoom, Robert. My iPad runs for about 9-10 hours on the same task. Not sure if the “Mossberg” benchmark is accurate

  2. If iPad is going to remain untouchable, it won’t be because of apps. I am sure you would have made the same arguments for the iPhone remaining untouchable, which, as we all know, has not turned out to be the case.

    1. Nope, I never could make the case for the iPhone like this. Android had apps out of the gate and I could see that it was attractive to developers. So far I haven’t had a bleeding edge developer show me something cool for the Android tablets. That was NOT the case on Android phones.

      1. This is where the Android tablet is in the market. Until you see hot services released simultaneously on Android tablets and iPad the difference to end users with these two platforms is huge.

  3. Being able to do something with a device always outshines the technology. Cool to see a geek like @scobleizer say so.

    When we can get anything we want on the Android, it will be a different story.. for the time being, the app store is the primary force

  4. You have a really good point Robert, Apps are critical to the user experience and not only do Android tablets need enough but they need the right ones.

    One issue for Android tablet developers is all the different screen sizes. An app designed for an 11 inch screen may not translate well to a 7 inch screen even if the ratio is the same. This means that the app developer may need to tweek the app for each device.

      1. sorry guys but this is a myth. most android apps are developed for 800×480. It’s easy to scale them up to 1024×600 or 1280×800.
        The Galaxy Tab has a resolution auf 1024×600 and there will be 10-inch tablets with the same resolution. It’s no big deal at all to scale it up to 1280×800

        1. ….? myth? C’mon, be honest. It is certainly NOT a myth, nor is scaling for dozens of options trivial. And then there’s the effects of scaling on UI elements, drop-down menus, icons etc…. and fonts??…ugh! It may be ok in your messy world but it’s not for everybody. For me, it’s a deal breaker and I’m uninterested in supporting the long tail of legacy handsets. So until some standout Android tablet achieves big sales I’m not interested – and I’ve heard the same reasoning from dozens of devs.
          Chicken – meet egg – meet chicken – ….

  5. Unless Google and the Android manufacturers get their acts together with regard to platform updates, I think the Android lead is temporary. The situation is so bad now that I think it may be possible that few users will buy a second Android. Look at the situation with the Samsung Captivate on AT&T. It took up until Feb 24 (2011) to get Froyo…and you can’t even upgrade OTA. In fact, OSX users can’t upgrade at all without a PC. No, the iPhone and iPad have arguably superior user experience and it won’t take long for Android users to give up and switch over. At least, that’s what I might do. It’s doubtful the Android tablet experience will be any different.

    1. Seriously, these are the instructions provided for Galaxy S/Vibrant/Captivate users to upgrade their phones:

      http://ars.samsung.com/customer/usa/jsp/faqs/faqs_view_us.jsp?SITE_ID=22&PG_ID=2&PROD_SUB_ID=557&PROD_ID=558&AT_ID=368733

      And, once a user goes through all of this, their phones/apps running on their phones may still not be at 100% (and they’ve likely lost their data & apps). Sprint pulled the update as they’ve become overwhelmed by support calls on it: http://www.androidcentral.com/sprint-halts-epic-4gs-froyo-update-due-data-sd-card-issues (reports from our users indicate that it’s not just the Epic affected, however).

      As an indie developer, this stuff is really frustrating…you spin your wheels investigating these issues as the reports come in only to find there’s nothing you can do about it. And, if your users only use your app and the update breaks it, users report that your app is malfunctioning (in so many words…) and there’s nothing you can really do about that, either. And can you imagine the pleasant mood your poor users are in when they’ve jumped through hoops to get their (already obsolete!) OS upgrade and their data is wiped and apps they’ve been using daily for months are being force-killed by the OS even after a reinstall? It doesn’t matter whose fault it is, your app is broken, find a way to FIX IT NOW.

      What is the solution? Not sure. Maybe allow developers access to the phones and upgrades at least a month before they’re unleashed? A more open beta program for early adopters/XDA developers? The manufacturers and carriers obviously need better test coverage any way they can get it. After the recent Windows 7 brickage issue and the Android 2.2 upgrade issues, I would hope at the very least that Samsung is working hard on ways to improve upgrade QA (and that the carriers, Google, & MS are putting their feet to the fire for improvement).

      Good QA is really hard, but bad QA is *expensive* all the way up and down the line.

      1. Wow, but matches the swearing I’m hearing from other developers. This kind of swearing didn’t happen on iOS. Yes, devs swear about iOS because of other issues (pricing, or approval, for instance) but not because of lack of QA. Makes me even more certain it’s an Apple world.

        1. Yeah. If developers are making money and their users are happy, a gripe is just a gripe and no real cause for concern–Devs are never going to abandon a platform that’s giving them belly- and soul-satisfaction.

  6. Google not bothering with ‘fragmentation’ is a slap in the face to developers. ‘We care about carriers, not code’ is happening again with Honeycomb tablets.

  7. It took Android to get to version 2.0 before it penetrated the mass market (ballmer: “Android is only for geeks living in the Silicon Valley), Honeycomb has got what it takes to go head to head with IOS. Looking past one year Apple will struggle to keep the lead.

    BTW
    Let’s not forget HP they are the dark horse

    1. Ilan: that assumes something HUGE: that you can get developers excited. So far they are NOT, based on my discussions with them. Google needs to really energize them at IO with a better store and better tools AND explain how they are gonna get consumers enthusiastic about them. Start with Oprah. She regularly says that the iPad is one of her “favorite things.” Imagine what will get her to say that about an Android-based device.

      1. Without being cheeky you’re argue is around marketing and not the technological aspect. Porting a 2.1 Android app to 3.0 isn’t a drama so this is my technological argue. As for the business side (which is the important one) nor Google nor the vendors will sit on the side line watching Apple taking on the market. Apple didn’t reinvent anything and they aren’t light years away from the rest of the pack so this is not where the battle will be decided. As for marketing blue collar approach should always work in an Anti Apple campaign

        1. How did Microsoft beat Apple in the mid 1990s? Apps.

          Why do you think Ballmer dances and shouts “developers, developers, developers, developers.”

          Right now iPad has them. No one else has gotten them. Will they? We’ll see! So far, no.

          1. I agree with you on all accounts,

            But on the apps sides I suspect that its not all in the hand of the developers, I know of some companies that outsourced their product to MS request for phone 7, expect the same thing with Android / WebOS tablets.

          2. Yup, but Microsoft only offers to do that for the “important” apps, not the “long tail” ones. I believe the long tail is almost as important as the head of tail in this world.

  8. The honeycomb SDK was only officially released by Google a few days ago. While a beta version was available, developers were not allowed to release any new Apps until the final SDK was released. Now that it’s official, the number of Apps will slowly start to grow. Having now spent some detailed time working with and using Honeycomb, while there are some things that still need refinement, the overall capability of this OS is quite good, and in many respects far more advanced than what the current iOS can do. Additionally, the Honeycomb SDK comes with an amazing set of APIs that will quickly let a developer create an App with very little coding. Honeycomb is not perfect, but the capability is there to develop some creative and sophisticated Apps that general non techie users will want.

    1. Yet another example of Google not executing well. Let’s look at their recent past:

      Google Wave. Fail.
      Google Buzz. Almost fail.
      Google TV. Fail.

      Android is a moderate success, but why didn’t it have its SDK out earlier? Apple gave devs months to build iPad apps before its first release. That’s why there’s no apps out now.

  9. The Xoom is the G1 of tablets. Motorola is rushing it out just to have something competitive on the market. I’d agree that Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market throughout this year. However Android has huge potential for 2012 and beyond as newer and better tablets are released.

  10. I don’t think iPad is untouchable, but it certainly is a much harder game to compete against Apple in. Smartphones had the advantage of subsidies (hiding the true cost of the handsets) and carriers (which greatly affected the course of mobile phones over the years).

    Tablets have neither of these barriers. In terms of setup, it is very similar to the iPod market. Apple doesn’t have any third-parties to deal with. Therefore, it seems logical to believe that the outcome will resemble iPod-dominance.

    However, it still is up-in-the-air. Android has phone dominance now, but will that continue? No one really knows. You could even make the argument that the computer market is still in flux. Counting iPads as tablets, Apple was shown to take a much higher role in the computer market, after all.

  11. The 30% rule Apple made last week could be one of the most crucial mistakes they have made. And that’s not me talking. That’s Andy Ihnatko. He said on MacBreak and I quote, “If Apple does anything to restrict the amount of content available on the iPad, game over. They lose.” He was referring specifically to Amazon but there are a lot of other business models that can’t handle that tax. That’s Andy Ihnatko talking. Even Gruber last year said that if Apple doesn’t come up with a credible Cloud Strategy, the iPad will be a toy and Google will overrun them. And they haven’t. I’m almost punished for having two iMacs, for buying a new one. The phone doesn’t know what to do. The ipad doesn’t know what to do. I buy movies here, can’t watch them there. Heck I can’t even get photos from the iphone onto the iPad without doing some kind of bs with iTune, hell I still don’t even understand. I know the geeks that read this can, but not the average mainstream user. It’s all locked up. I hold my iPad and its so beautiful to hold, like a tablet, yet I can’t even write on it like a tablet. Who writes with their finger?

    So there’s a whole host of issues. This game has not even begun. I’m confident Apple will re consider the 30% thing because as Ihnatko said, if they don’t, we could be looking back in a few years and say, “What happened to that iPad? It was such a great device!” while it lingers with a 5% share.

    Apps are not all that matters. Content is all that matters.

    1. Content=apps. :-) But, yes, this is something to watch VERY closely.

      I bet Vic Gundotra will repeat that on stage at the IO conference about 50 times! :-)

      Will it really matter, though? So far Android’s app store sucks for selling stuff and everyone knows it. Will Google demonstrate how they will get hundreds of millions of people to put their credit card numbers into the store? If so, then watch out. So far, though, Apple has the only store that monetizes.

  12. Wrong, she’s said it on at least five shows, including one a couple of weeks ago that MC Hammer has been on. I guess you don’t actually watch Oprah.

  13. What is your basis for believing that Android tablet apps won’t hit the “enough” point in the next 2-3 months? Apple went from 0 – 2000 in the space of just 2 months and that was when tablets were an unproven market.

    1. Apple had more than 1,000 apps on day one if I remember right.

      But the market is different now. Developers have choices to make. They can’t build for everything. You can’t compare today to when the iPad came out.

      1. It was just short of 2,000, but the vast majority of those were no more optimized for tablets than the hundreds if not thousands of Android apps that already scale for use on a tablet.

        Small developers certainly have choices to make, but if you think that a sufficient number won’t tip toward Android I think you are underestimating its popularity by a large margin. The large developers are going to cover their bases on both platforms even if there is some lag time on the Android releases just as we saw on the phone side.

        1. I disagree with your point there. I sat with many developers who did a LOT of work to make their apps as good as possible on the tablet form factor. And, in fact, apps that got rewarded by the marketplace were indeed designed especially for the large form factor. Yes, many of those refactored even further after they got their hands on one and we did see a second wave of apps a few months later (Flipboard is the best example). But the ecosystem was a LOT healthier on that first day. Did anyone wait in line to buy a Xoom? No.

          1. I’m not suggesting that there were no apps that utilized the tablet form factor at launch, but they were few and far between. I’d credit that there were dozens, but no more than that. If we don’t see a similar wave of tablet optimized Android apps in 2 months now that developers have their hands on devices I’ll be shocked.

            I can’t think of a single Android phone that has had a line and yet somehow they keep gaining.

          2. Funny that you say that. Coincidently, I went to my local Verizon Store on the day the Xoom came out and was very surprised the person helping me told me that there was a line of people waiting at the door when they opened and only 2 were left. I was shocked…

  14. Of course the 90s were before the internet or at least the functional broadband one. In a world with not internet, Apps will rule, for sure. Also, I don’t understand, couldn’t developers just as easily have developed for Apple back in the nineties? But they didn’t because of market share. So market share comes first, then developers. I almost feel that Apple lost the first war (which ironically enough as I type of my iMac they are sort of winning now!) because of greed. They priced things too far out of reach. And then suddenly the windows machine became good enough. Steve definitely learned his lesson on that one though. The iphone and iPad are priced perfectly. Androids not going to win through price, that’s for sure. Apple may be greedy (I’m not saying they are, just saying) but they are not stupid. That’s why I think they’ll push the envelope just enough, but then back down when its crucial. Just like Facebook. No problem. I want Apple to succeed. I want Google to succeed. I don’t necessarily think one’s success means the others failure.

    1. Me too, which is why I like the Xoom as well. I’m realistic, though. I don’t expect to see bleeding edge apps on it for quite some time, where on iPad they were there almost immediately.

  15. I don’t think the app argument you’re using is as valid now as it was back when microsoft was fighting apple because of the internet and web. The only people that continue to propagate this myth of apps is people like you and Apple people that drink the kool-aid. The conversation needs to be shifted to how do we make the mobile web apps better. I agree the mobile browser is not where it needs to be yet, but the hardware is getting better and faster. You more than anyone should stop propagating this myth of apps and start pushing for more mobile HTML5 apps. Unless its all lip service like Jobs.

    1. I think you’re pretty uninformed about how people actually buy devices. Have you ever worked in a Best Buy, or sat there and listened as people considered a purchase? I have. They care about apps and compatibility with what their friends and other family have.

      Apps are ALL that matters at this point in the Tablet wars. Except for weirdo geeky people who just like buying the first thing out from any company. Yeah, that’s why Xoom will sell a million, but EVERYTHING will sell a million. Getting more than that requires apps.

      1. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      2. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      3. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      4. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      5. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      6. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      7. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      8. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      9. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      10. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      11. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      12. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      13. Agreed. The greater the number of apps, the greater the possibility of things you could potentially do with a device. And to a consumer’s perception that equals value.

        The key thing about apps is that they can be incredibly niche-y. It’s sort of like the tablet is the cable TV system of the Internet (tons of channels for this or that and a totally fragmented audience). It’s a great model that fits in well with what an app can offer: very specific functionality that translates to small resource consumption.

        Mobile-enabled websites (perhaps leveraging HTML5) are the way to extend an online presence onto a mobile device. That should be the default for everyone with a website. How many times do you click on a CrunchBase link from within the TechCrunch mobile edition only to be greeted by a non-mobile website? I hate that. But a mobile site isn’t a replacement for a well-designed, device-specific, app.

        Still, to reiterate my previous comment way up above, unless the Android experience improves it will quickly gain the same reputation as Windows, namely a less ideal user experience in exchange for market dominance. Only the outcome might be different. Since it’s easy to migrate from one mobile device to another it could mean a huge period of churn is in store for the Android platform down the road as users discover (during their initial contract) that it ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Apple might have all sorts of weird limits but they tend to get the overall experience right from start to finish. Anyone that’s used Apple products knows this. The Xoom might be a technically better device but I doubt it’s a better product (when device + user experience is considered).

      14. I’m not disagreeing with you at all on the point of software. What I am disagreeing with is your insistence that success is only limited to developers to a particular platform, where as the conversation should shift to regardless of platform how to make successful software for the form factor itself.

        “They care about apps and compatibility with what their friends and other family have.” By your logic then people should only build software for the Ipad. Where what I’m saying is people should be building for the mobile web so that everyone no matter what platform should be able to enjoy with family and friends.

        This battle should not be about Apple vs Google but vendor lock in vs free.

  16. I think the premise is wrong. The idea that 3rd party apps = sales. The iPhone did fine without any real 3rd party apps on Day 1 — except for the Maps app with Google maps.

    The Androidverse is a bit different than the Appleverse. The phones are selling like hotcakes and it’s not because some magic number of 3rd party apps was reached.

    It’s because the form factors meet people’s needs and the apps included out of the box are pretty awesome.

    That’s true of the Android phones and will be true of the Android tablets.

    If the Xoom has hardware issues or if someone comes up with a better form factor or form factors that appeal to more people or have hardware features that are must haves (like the Ink’s daylight friendly screen), then that will play out in the marketplace.

    Most of the people I know who aren’t reading the technosphere buy only a handful of apps and they’re not really so obsessed with them. I know people who’ve switched from iPhone to Android and what they say they miss the most is the games from iOS.

    So I’ll grant games helping gamers decide between devices. But not apps as a whole.

    Tablets’ main use is web surfing, reading, and watching videos. With Flash available and hardware optimized with a screen ratio for actually watching movies à la letterbox, Android has a place.

  17. Most of the Android Taliban that comment on TC and all over the Tech web are Microsoft PC Gamer/haters. What they want most of all is APPLE LOSE/FAIL.

  18. I got the iPad right when it first came out and it already had a lot of apps to choose from. Those still were not enough for me. There still are major brands still not even have their own iPad specific app. I am just starting (one full year later) to feel like the apps are catching on/up.

    That being said, I see the Android tablets choking for at least a year or maybe even more. I am an Android fan but its all about the apps which Apple clearly has. The iPad is still lacking I think at 60,000 apps. Where does that put Xoom?? I think the answer will be even obvious to the normals.

  19. Yea, I am not convinced the ‘droids have won out in phones… nor do I expect them to. It is up to Apple to give the lead away; remember, “you have to knock out the champ”. As long as data integrity matters, Apple will rule. At least in my business as far as I can see into the future.

  20. My iPad has replaced my computers as my go to device. I use my tools for what they are…tools. I use the best one for the job. My iPad is like my command center, I go there first and do things that I don’t do on my computer. Project planning and execution are iPad items.

  21. I agree with Robert, Android hasn’t won any of the most important metrics and if you look at iOS platform as a whole vs the whole Android platform, the latter hasn’t necessarily even “won” the unit sales race. This is because smartphone sales per quarter are only part of the story. The far more important numbers for developers, advertisers, investors and consumers are *total* unit sales of each platform, overall installed base, software and peripheral hardware market share, developer mindshare and developer income.

    *Unit Sales Q4 2010* (source: Canalys)
    - 32.7 million Android smartphones and tablets (tablets like the Galaxy tab and Dell streak were counted in these numbers because they all have cell phone hardware).
    - 33 million iOS devices (16 million iPhones, 10 million iPod touches, 7 million iPads)
    Note that Android numbers are inflated by inclusion of the Tapas and OMS forks of Android (which aren’t compatible with Android or running Google apps or services) running on millions of Chinese smartphones.

    *Installed base*
    - “There will be an installed base of 140 million Android portable devices, including smartphones and tablets, by the end of 2011″ according to IMS Research.
    - iOS installed base (Dec 2010) = 160 million with the vast majority of those added in the last 2 years.
    With Apple shipping 33 million iOS devices in q4 2010, the projected iOS installed base will hit somewhere north of 250 million by the end of 2011 if current iOS sales rates stay the same. However, iOS sales rates have been doubling every year so this figure is enormously conservative.

    *App Store Revenue 2009 – 2010*
    (source: IHS):
    - iOS App Store grew from $769 million to $1.782 billion = $1.013 billion increase
    - Android Marketplace grew from $11 million to $102 million = $91 million increase
    So annual Android developer income is a meagre 6% of iOS with an annual rate of increase only 9% as large as iOS. The gap between the two is getting far larger every year.

    *App numbers 2009 – 2010*
    (source: Distimo)
    - iOS Apps grew from 120,000 to 400,000 = 380,000 increase
    - Android Apps grew from 20,000 to 130,000 = 118,000 increase (not including ringtones, wallpapers and soundscapes)
    So the annual increase in app numbers was greater for iOS by 322% compared to Android. The gap between the two is increasing each year with the iOS store growing over three times as fast as Android. Also, approx 45% of Android apps are spamware according to Appbrain so the real Android total is far less.

    *Advertising income per user*
    (source: Mobclix)
    Mobclix’s Jan 2011 stats demonstrate that in the Advertising game, iPhone users are far more valuable than Android users.
    In the Games category, the average iPhone user brought in more than double the advertising revenue per month compared to the average Android user, a third more income in the entertainment category and 30% more in the utilities category.
    Even on Google’s home turf – advertising – iOS beats Android.

    *Phone Manufacturer Profit Share*
    (source: Asymco)
    Despite only having 4% market share of the entire cell phone industry, Apple captured 51% (up from 48% last year) of the profit share of the entire cell phone industry compared to Motorola on 1%, Samsung on 2%, LG on -2% and Nokia on 17%.

    I think it is also extremely obvious that the quantity of quality apps is indeed absolutely vital. Android has had only 20 or so top tier games versus over 300 for iOS from the top mobile games publishers like EA, ID, Gameloft, PopCap, ngmoco, Pangea for example. Increasing app numbers also reflects the increasing wealth of regional, niche and specialist apps that are available in the iOS App Store that are missing in action.

    Of course no-one will have all 400,000 apps on their phone (what a stupid comment that is), but with that huge range to choose from, there is so much more chance of finding the perfect set of apps for each person’s individual and special requirements.

    -Mart

  22. Google doesn’t have a great developer story.

    They just released the final SDK for Android 3.0 and I wanted to test in the virtual emulator the new OS. Guess what, the performance is very very poor so I’m not able to test anything, not even a Hello World application.

    So far, I am not convinced to put my money in an Android tablet to start writing apps for their platform.

    PS : I am testing all this on high-end hardware.

    1. I can vouch for the slow performance of the Honeycomb emulator on Mac OS X. They know about it as written on their website, and they’re working on it. But saying that Google doesn’t have a great developer story is stretching it too far.

    1. …and will you eat your hat when your fantasy crumbles in Apple’s dust?
      iPad share 2011 85%
      2012 80%
      2015 75% and holding

  23. wow thanks for the great post, got me thinking a lot, should people focus on making apps in the iPad rather on the iPhone? like we use this time tracking software from tsheets on the iPhone, we havent tried it in the iPad yet though.