Android Gains, But Faces Tough Battle Against iOS 5 and iPhone 5

Smartphone buyers over the last three months chose Android 56% of the time, double the 28% choice of iOS devices like the iPhone.

The new data from Nielsen shows that more consumers are picking Android than iPhone, but it looks like the big losers over this time are BlackBerry and “Other”, which is likely Windows Phone 7.

Android vs iOS

Android gained while iOS was flat last quarter.

The growth of Android adoption has been helped by the launch of many major phones in the last 3 months, like the Droid 3, Droid X2, HTC Evo 3D and others. This trend may continue with flagship devices like the Droid Bionic and the affordable Pantech Breakout, but Android will face stiff competition in October.

Android Has Had an Easy Quarter

Android has had a relatively easy go of the past few months, Apple did not release a new iPhone this summer and iOS 5 has not yet been released. This has left many shoppers who are up for an upgrade with two options. While a number of them are choosing to wait for the iPhone 5, many are purchasing Android phones.


Android winning at T-Mobile

By purchasing Android phones, we are seeing a continued validation of the platform by the average consumer. It doesn’t hurt that companies like T-Mobile and Verizon are focusing heavily on Android. This week, T-Mobile announced that 75% of the phones they sell are smartphones, and 90% of those run Android.

Android does need to stay vigilant, and Google needs to get the latest Ice Cream Sandwich on many phones when it launches this year because a recent survey by UBS showed that 31% of Android owners would consider an iPhone for their next phone, a large amount compared to the iPhone, which only has 11% thinking of leaving.

Apple Launching Offensive

As I mentioned, Android has had a relatively easy go of the past 3 months, but that all changes when Apple announces the iPhone 5 on October 4th.

(Read: iPhone 5 Rumor Roundup: Latest on Hardware, Release Date, Carriers)

This large number of Android owners considering an iPhone will now have a brand new iPhone. For those looking for a budget iPhone, Apple may release an iPhone 4S for $99 or it could count on an iPhone 4 running iOS 5 to satisfy budget smartphone buyers — who have traditionally picked Android.

iOS 5 addresses many of the complaints of iOS — giving better notifications, better browsing, a better camera, iMessage and much more.

The video above shows off some of the iOS 5 features that help Apple catch up to Android in important areas.

Android’s Secret Weapon – 4G LTE

Android’s big chance at success may lie in support for 4G LTE phones. While we don’t expect a 4G iPhone this year, Android manufacturers are quickly producing 4G LTE devices on Verizon, T-Mobile and soon on AT&T. These phones have a good chance, because 4G LTE is not their only selling point.

We are seeing Android devices with 4G and great cameras like the HTC Amaze 4G, and we are seeing success from the Samsung Galaxy S II which recently landed on T-Mobile with HSPA+42.

Competition is Good

This competition is great news from consumers who will be the ultimate winner. We talk a lot about which operating system had which feature first, but at the end of the day, Android pushes iOS to improve and iOS pushes Android to improve. If patents don’t muck the whole thing up I expect to see many more amazing devices in the next year.