Android vs. iPhone. Free App vs. Paid App Developers

Nielsen surveyed U.S. mobile consumers to create snapshots of:

1. Which smartphone platform is being used by the population
2. Which smartphone platform people bought in the past six months

U.S. Smartphone Market: Who’s the Most Wanted?

I took Nielsen’s two pie charts and created a single bar chart to help us visualize the response to both of these questions in a single picture. The left (blue) bar in each pair represents a platform’s marketshare in the entire installed base of smartphones in the U.S. The right (red) bar in a pair represents marketshare in terms of recent acquisition.

The single take away from this image is that Android’s momentum is picking up speed at the loss of every other platform including iOS (iPhone). In a previous blog post, I discussed a survey of developers that indicates their interest in developing apps for Android has flattened according to one survey.

Which Mobile Platform Interests Developers Less? BlackBerry or Windows Phone?

But, if Android has so much consumer market momentum, shouldn’t interest in developing Android apps be picking up? I think the developer survey needs to be segmented a bit more. They should separate developers into groups of those primarily focused on developing paid apps compared to those who are developing free apps. I suspect developers of free apps (which may have the primary goal of drawing eyeballs for some other product) may have increased interest in Android while those primarily developing paid apps fall in the iPhone camp.