numero watched with great interest last week as a new survey claimed that Android, the mobile platform from search engine giant Google, was the most popular smartphone software. The research, commissioned by YouGov, found that 28 per cent of smartphone users have mobiles on the Android platform. In comparison, only 26 per cent of individuals were using Apple’s operating system.
The investigation, which also looked into the mobile habits of different users, will be a worrying development for Apple. While the Apple platform is installed on all iPhone 3, 3G and 4 devices, the proliferation of the Android software, which is used on a variety of different handsets, will be of some concern.
Of course, the emerging dominance of the Android operating system has a number of effects for those brands hoping to communicate with their customers. Firstly, it demonstrates that organisations solely concentrating their efforts on developing iPhone applications are missing out on a huge potential market. While we welcome the emerging trend of organisations releasing customer service apps on the Apple platform, as seen by the release of the Natwest app, it is becoming clear that users are not solely located on just one platform. Developing just one application, for just one platform, seems to be a quick route to isolating customers on other handsets.
Secondly, the dispersion in the smartphone market provides an interest problem for those hoping to use the mobile market for advertising. Indeed, based on the research, it would appear that different operating systems attracts different types of consumers.
Android users, for instance, were generally younger (35% of owners were between 25-34 years of age), while 18 per cent of Apple phone users revealed they were overdrawn. A huge variety of users exist across the two platforms and, if companies want to be able to target their outreach or customer service accordingly, research has to be done into the different audiences of the two markets. James Richards, one of the team responsible for the research, explains:
“The top three mobile platforms in the UK certainly seem to attract different personalities.
Perhaps we will see the telecoms industry of the future tailoring their apps and services further to suit the variety of demands being placed on the mobile.”
Perhaps we will.