CES launches the 2013 Apple versus Google market war

Google and Apple gear up for 2013 at CES this week. The two giants continue battle over market share. Photo: Jon T. Norwood

DALLAS, January 8th, 2013 — Apple continues to lead the mobile app and tablet markets. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the company revealed that 20 billion apps were downloaded on the various iOS devices in 2012. This brings a grand total of 40 billion downloads since 2008 with about half of them occurring last year. In December of 2012 Apple saw more than 2 billion downloads. 

Continuing their onslaught of market penetration, smart TVs and new tablets were unveiled at CES, providing even more Apple devices that will gladly run many apps. This should give more incentive for the 500 million active App Store users to keep downloading, but more importantly to stick with Apple across multiple devices. iOS loyalty has never been an issue, and it would seem it’s not going to become one any time soon.

Android Growth Explodes

But here comes Android. In Q3 of 2012 Google revealed that it reached 25 million downloads from its Google Play app store and that more than 500 million devices running android had been activated across all markets. While Apple is the clear winner of the tablet race, Android now lays claim to 53.7 percent of all smartphones in the United States. So while Apple enjoys their 78.9 percent market share in tablets via the iPad brand, Android has broken through half the smartphone market. In fact 72 percent of all smartphones sold in Q3 of 2012 were loaded with the Android operating system.

Google smartphone dominance in the market is due in a large part to the popularity of the Samsung Galaxy line of phones. 26.9 percent of all smartphones used in the United States are from Samsung, and they all run some version of Android. The company has forecasted selling 290 million smartphones in 2013, which is a 35 percent increase from 2012. What is good for Samsung is good for Google

Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, suggested that there was a Nokia Android phone possible in the future and if this is so then Google may capture what little market Windows Phone currently has and increase beyond current projections.

Apple in 2013

Neil Hughes at Appleinsider.com said, “With 100 million iPads sold in its first two and a half years, Apple is predicted to sell another 100 million in just one 12-month span thanks in part to the addition of the iPad mini.” Analyst Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity, the global capital markets division of Canaccord Financial Inc. (CF : TSX | CF. : LSE), agrees with this rate of growth and claims Apple will sell 101.6 million iPads in 2013.

Smartphone sales look a little different, with Apple forecasting 194 million iPhones in 2013. The recent release of the iPhone 5 in China certainly makes that number attainable, but they will need to increase their retail stores quickly. There are currently only 6 Apple Stores in China, and it is likely the market will demand more.

Google in 2013

Information and analytics provider IHS (NYSE: IHS) forecasts annual unit shipments of Android phones will increase to 451 million in 2013, up from 357 million. Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst for IHS said, “The Androids are taking over the world of smartphones. We expect the Android operating system to become the first to reach the milestone of 1 billion shipments during its lifetime. For Google, this accomplishment highlights the success of its growth strategy for Android, which is based on providing the operating system as an open-source platform to third-party smartphone brands free of charge. Google hopes to make significant revenues from mobile advertisements and other services. Such an open-source model means that Google offers handset makers the ability to customize Android easily, and by also eliminating licensing fees, is greatly encouraging adoption among smartphone handset manufacturers.”

Google’s growth doesn’t stop there. Android tablet shipments are growing each month, and many market analysts expect that growth to continue throughout 2013. The Asus Transformer Pad Infinity, Nexus 7, and other Android powered tablets are expected to begin reducing the market gap with iPad if for no other reason than their relatively lower price point.

Android will not surpass Apple in the tablet market in 2013 at its current rate of increase, but it is clear Google will continue to dominate smartphones. The mobile market as a whole is a battleground with no obvious victor as of yet, but by year’s end 2013 it might look very different.

Jon T. Norwood is a writer at Mobile Informers and can be reached via twitter @JonTNorwood


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Jon Norwood

Jon T. Norwood is a managing partner at Mobile Informers. Jon has over 15 years experience in the wireless communications field and is a frequent contributor at High Speed Internet Access Guide.


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