Motorola Droid is the newest smartphone on the market to compete for the iPhone's crown. Released by Verizon Wireless on November 6th, the Droid's advertising campaign has been a full-frontal attack on the popular Apple smartphone with a heavy focus on what the iPhone doesn't do. "iDon't run simultaneous apps, iDon't have a real keyboard, iDon't take 5-megapixel pictures," taunts Verizon's Droid ad.The
But did the message get through to potential phone buyers? It appears that it did...at least according to mobile analytics firm Flurry. In their latest report, the company found that the Droid is now the fastest-selling Android phone to date, beating the sales of the myTouch 3G by more than four times.
Droid Sales Look Good
Flurry's analytics service monitors over 10,000 mobile applications on both the iPhone and Android, or approximately two out of every three iPhone and Android handsets on the market. While obviously this isn't a look at the mobile ecosystem as a whole, it's a big enough slice to form some initial conclusions about the popularity of the latest mobile device to run Android, Google's mobile operating system.
By monitoring the new Android devices on Flurry's system, the company estimated the first-week sales for the Droid handsets as compared with both the myTouch 3G and Apple's iPhone 3GS. Although the iPhone still outsold the Droid within its first week, Flurry notes that the iPhone simultaneously launched in 8 countries worldwide while the Droid only launched in the U.S.
It's also important to note that the iPhone 3GS was just the latest model of the iPhone to arrive on the market, it is not the original device. Prior to the 3GS, the iPhone had two previous versions, the second which finally allowed for 3G cellular access and GPS capabilities. This update made the iPhone 3G a hugely popular upgrade and the company sold 1 million or so units on their opening weekend. Comparing the third generation iPhone to the first version of the Droid isn't a true "apples to apples" comparison, but on the other hand, the comparison of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G and the Droid is.
According to Flurry, Droid is dramatically outselling the myTouch 3G based on first week sales. That may say something about the quality of the Droid's hardware, the impact of a good marketing campaign or perhaps even people's frustrations with the iPhone's limitations. Or maybe a little of each. Then again, Verizon has nearly triple the number of subscribers as T-Mobile, so they already have a head start.
The Growing Power of Android
In the end, while we can't take any of these numbers to the bank, what we can learn is that the Android OS is making serious headway in the smartphone market. Although no one Android phone on its own may beat the iPhone, as more and more "worthy competitors" launch on numerous hardware platforms, the Android OS's install base may eventually catch up to that of the iPhone's.
In any event, that's what Google believes. In a recent earnings call, Google CEO Eric Schmidt proclaimed that "Android adoption is about to explode," citing 12 Android phones on 32 carriers in 26 countries. Research firm Gartner predicts that the Android OS may end up ranking second worldwide by 2012. However, if more of the Android launches prove to be as successful as it appears the Droid's may be, Android may move up the charts even faster than predicted. Of course, who ends up on top all depends on Apple's next move. If the company decides to launch their phone on more carriers, all bets are off. If that's the case, Apple's market share could double, says Morgan Stanley's Kathryn Huberty. But that doesn't necessarily mean that Android would be left far behind. "Android is "backed by the power of Google's search engine," said Huberty. "Google's other up-and-coming consumer and enterprise products should make [Android] a dominant platform."