Nielsen reports that the sale of Android phones outnumbered the iPhones for the first time last quarter. The study reports that Android smartphones now account for 27% of the US smartphone market – 4 percentage points higher than Apple's 23%.
Another study from Canalys estimates that global Android sales grew 886% YoY in the previous quarter.
The results are without doubt a shot in the arm for Google as the search engine giant works towards consolidating its position in the mobile search business. The results are also a vindication of Google's open source strategy against Apple's closed ecosystem model.
However, as MG Seigler from TechCrunch points out, there are two reasons why it may not be entirely fair to compare the sale of iPhones to Android handsets at this point. Firstly, Android is available on all the major US carriers while the iPhone is at present available only on AT&T. The non-availability of the iPhone on multiple carriers is a major limitation for the consumer, which is likely to result in relatively lower sales. Also, with more than 20 Android handsets available for purchase in the market today, comparing the sale volumes of Android and the iPhone is, in Seigler's words, "comparing an apple to a bushel of oranges".
More importantly, the TechCrunch article points out that the latest Nielsen study is for the quarter before the launch of iPhone 4. This is significant since a lot of customers are likely to have held back on their iPhone purchase in anticipation of the new device launch. So the numbers are expected to be lesser than average during this period.
It will be interesting to see how the sale numbers stack up for the current quarter. Also, a more meaningful study can only be conducted after Apple announces the iPhone on other carriers. We've heard several rumors that iPhone is expected to be launched on T-Mobile and Verizon in a few more months from now.
What do you think? Do you think sale comparisons under the present environment is fair? Will Apple rake in more sale numbers once the iPhone launches on multiple carriers? Tell us what you think in the comments below.