A similar number of people intend to purchase Windows Phone 8 smartphones as have their sights set on iPhones, according to research. But Android remains the platform of choice for almost twice as many potential purchasers as those who intend to buy either iPhone or Windows Phone 8 handsets. This despite the recent launches of Windows Phone handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920, and Apple's iPhone 5 launch.
A poll asked PC Advisor readers to respond to the following statement: 'Following the recent launches, my next smartphone will be'. Of the more than 3,250 respondents (at the time of writing) 40 percent selected 'An Android phone'. Both 'An iPhone' and 'A Windows Phone 8 device' attracted 22 percent of the vote. 'A BlackBerry' trailed in as the final platform option with just 4 percent of the votes, and 13 percent said they weren't intending to purchase a smartphone at this stage.
The news further underlines Google's dominance of the mobile world just five years after Android was first unveiled, and four years after the first Android phone was launched. Since the launch of the T-Mobile G1 Android has endured issues with device and app security, legal battles over licensing, and issues over platform fragmentation and upgrades for users. But its position as the inexpensive alternative to iPhone has seen it grow to dominate the smartphone world in terms of volume.
Smartphone market stats
In the third quarter of 2012, according to IDC, A total of 136 million Android smartphones shipped around the world. That's three quarters of all handsets shipped.
iOS is currently the second biggest player in the smartphone market, with around 15 percent market share according to IDC. When you consider that iPhones are almost always more expensive than their Android counterparts, this is an impressive stat. It becomes doubly so when you take into account the fact that Apple is competing alone against the combined marketing might of Google and tier-one hardware manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola. (The IDC Q3 figures will also be distorted by the fact that during the period covered many iPhone users were waiting for the iPhone 5 to launch in the final quarter of the year.)
But given that Windows Phone 8 has also only recently launched, the relative popularity of iPhone 5 and the Windows Phone 8 handsets is critical. Android may have the budget smartphone market sewn up, but Microsoft has invested a lot into Windows Phone 8, and handset makers are keen to be able to offer an alternative to Android and iOS at both budget and premium ends of the market. It seems unlikely that all three platforms can thrive indefinitely.
Intention to purchase are notoriously misleading, as customers will often change their minds up until the point of sale. And Windows Phone 8 has many hurdles to vault before it becomes established. But the fact that almost a quarter of respondents to the PC Advisor poll intend to purchase Windows Phone 8 devices suggests that at this early stage the WP8 launch has been a success.
(And BlackBerry has work to do.)
If you disagree with any of this, don't forget to have your say in the comments at the bottom of the article. And the poll remains open to votes: Vote now!