Do Android's shipment figures overstate the platform's market share?

Do Android's shipment figures overstate the platform's market share?
According to stats compiled by web video network provider, Ooyala, the Apple iPhone accounts for 67% of video viewed over a smartphone with Android kicking in the remaining 33%. But those stats don't make sense at all when you consider that according to IDC, Android flavored smartphones account for 68% of shipments with 19% belonging to iOS over the same time period. What could this mean? Is there even a reasonable explanation for this?

The answer could be that the data measures the number of hours spent watching video rather than the actual number of videos viewed. That would then mean that iOS users watched videos for twice as long as Android users. And if that is the case, the next step would be to determine if there is something different in the make up of iOS owners vs. Android owners that makes them more likely to view videos on their phone for longer periods of time. But that really doesn't seem like a valid explanation.

Perhaps the best theory is that Android's "shipping" numbers cannot be compared to Apple's "sales" totals. Apple reports sales of its devices while Android and most other platforms report shipments. A good example of what can happen when you report two different items occurred during last year's Apple v. Samsung patent trial. The court ordered both Apple and Samsung to report sales from from mid-2010 to mid 2012. Samsung reported 21 million units of its smartphones were sold in the period as opposed to 62 million Apple iPhones that Apple reported as being sold during those two years. That comes closer to the mobile video traffic percentages than the IDC figures based on Samsung's "shipments".

While not perfect proof of the validity of this theory, if you look at the percentage of smartphone profits in 2012, Apple was responsible for 69% of smartphone profits last year. If Apple sold only 19% of North American smartphones, even with ridiculous margins, there is no way it could account for nearly 70% of profits. It is quite possible that end user sales of Android models are not as robust as thought. This would mean that the Android shipping figures overstate actual real world market share and other data.

Perhaps it is time for some organization to come to some decision on what standard to apply here. Or perhaps it just is not a big enough issue for the manufacturers to get involved in. But unless something changes, we are comparing Apples with oranges Android.

source: electronista



1. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

Uh oh! I better defend >X< smartphone platform because that's the one that I use! >Z< smartphone platform sucks!!

10. Ohrules

Posts: 327; Member since: Jun 11, 2012

offtopic, but you have to see this:

2. nikenturd unregistered

Android dominates....period


Posts: 210; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

Android is OVERRATED!

9. faisolbauuz

Posts: 121; Member since: Jan 05, 2013

Remember when apple slogan is "think different" ?

14. PhoneArena.

Posts: 28; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Its hard to say that both are.


Posts: 210; Member since: Jul 02, 2012

Yes. Both Android and Apple are overrated! So if you hate overrated platforms switch to Windows or BlackBerry or anything else! :DD

32. Pings

Posts: 304; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

"Windows or BlackBerry" Hahahahahahaha....

3. Equilibrium

Posts: 18; Member since: Nov 15, 2012

I was under the impression Android reports it by devices activated, while Apple reports it based on items shipped. Can anybody clarify?

4. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

Both platforms have different kinds of reporting their devices and items.

6. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

it means +10 % for Android :)

22. Aeires unregistered

Can't speak for Apple but Android does go by phones activated. Funny how so many people think they just ship phones without selling them. You'd think there was a profit in just moving stock around by the arguments of some.

27. ithinkimjoe

Posts: 25; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

As I can post URLs apparently, PhoneArena reported that the IDC reported Samsung topped Apple in smartphone SHIPMENTS in 2012. says nothing about sales or activations. This is consistent with most articles posted by independent companies providing insight. Most android manufacturers don't actually reveal any SALES numbers. Google goes by activation, not all android manufacturers. if you feel like searching, the title is "IDC: Samsung topped Apple in smart connected device shipments for 2012" and its from 2/22/13.

28. Reluctant_Human

Posts: 913; Member since: Jun 28, 2012

People are overlooking the very obvious explanation of this. Most IOS users can't afford the apps in their own app store because they are always saving up for the next iPhone. Hence more free time to watch cat videos on youtube.

5. anywherehome

Posts: 971; Member since: Dec 13, 2011

of course! Kids are usually watching videos......and they mostly like yellow colour! So just try to compare yellow colour displays in videos and you know who uses Apple's iConboards :)

8. Adithya7184 unregistered

oooyala...i never heard that this way apple wants convince people that iOS is f****d up apple

11. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

so what is Ooyala anyway? anybody heard of it? is it a backend of various video services?

12. MartianMe unregistered

Who cares?????? this is none sense.

13. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

Keep polishing Alan, keep polishing. That AAPL isn't getting any shinier.

15. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

What the author of this article kindly fails to mention is the activation numbers Apple and Google mention at keynotes. Are you implying Google is making those numbers up? And market share companies are lying? They have to be getting those numbers from somewhere independent of Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.

21. ithinkimjoe

Posts: 25; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

What you kindly fail to recognize, is that not all Apple and Android devices are "activated." Activated means turned on on a mobile network, not every iOS device, nor every Android device is sold through a carrier and activated on their network. I have a Galaxy Tab that would never show up as "activated" but it sure as hell would show up at "shipped." Same goes for the iPod Touch I have, would show up at "sold" and not "activated." So no, the author is not saying that anyone is making numbers up, he's saying that their using certain terms to imply a higher market share %.

23. Aeires unregistered

I always thought the numbers were counted when you logged into your account to get the Play store and whatnot after powering on a new phone. What network/carrier you are on is irrelevant.

24. ithinkimjoe

Posts: 25; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

you can activate a phone/tablet without logging into google services. so they'd count activation numbers as they'd most likely be higher. just like you don't need to log in with your apple ID after you've activated the iPhone.

25. Aeires unregistered

And who does that? Who buys a phone and never downloads an app? Seriously, I know Google goes by activations and I'm not completely sure exactly how that's calculated, but I don't know of or heard of anyone who buys a phone and doesn't log in. There's no way the massive market share that Android has shown is from people doing what you're saying.

26. ithinkimjoe

Posts: 25; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

I'm sure there are people who have just bought a smartphone for the internet.... i imagine this group consists of older purchasers of the free android phones. also, the play store and google services are not in every country around the world... and obviously i'm not saying the mass market does it, i'm saying activations would give a high number to report because there will be people that don't log in. it can't be very hard for google to track phones that are activated on any mobile network worldwide. and a lot of reports related to android selling companies report phones shipped and does the IDC when reporting market share numbers. they don't mention actual sales when talking about android phones.

33. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

The author mentions all these things related to market share....but leaves out activations? Thats part of my point. By the way....I would be willing to bet an insane amount of money....that devices shipped to customers, bought by customers but not activated is an insanely small amount. Customers...not stores... Activations might also be tied to IMEI, ESN ID's. Meaning that even if I install mutiple ROMs on my Android phones...and have to activate it each time....that happens when doing a major ROM change..... it wouldnt count as 3 activations, but one. I dont know....just guessing here. Even if I pull out 3 old Android phones I have.....and activate them all on my 3 line plan....even tho their old....its still an Android phone in use. Meaning some one is using an Android phone.

16. Edmund

Posts: 656; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

"But unless something changes, we are comparing Apples with oranges Android". You mean Lemons??

18. JunkCreek

Posts: 407; Member since: Jul 13, 2012

i like oranges and lemons more than apple. not haters, but the price is magically, revolutionary, unbelievably tagged.

20. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

Or just another biesed bashing to Android coming from Alan. A more logical explanation: Ooyala is a USA company that's only available IN ENGLISH. In the US and UK iOS has better numbers than in the rest of the world. Add to that statisc that it's counting OS, including smarphones and tablets. As Apple dominate the tablet market and probably tablets are more use to watch videos... there you have the difference. But Alan compared the 70% Android got in SMARTPHONES WORLDWIDE to the statisc of both tablets and smarthphones video usage mainly in the US... So Alan, may be it's you who should learn to compare smartphones to smartphones, OS to OS and Video Usage to Video Usage, and stop mixing things however it suits your taste.

29. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Another pro-apple article from Alan F! Alan, I recommend an addendum to this piece of tripe, namely, investigating what actually constitutes apple's share figures, that is, warranty replacements, returns, and new. A very common solution to even trivial issues with iphones is to swap them out at an apple store, so if just half of apple users have such an issue, that could falsely inflate their sales figures by at least 50%, and even more for multiple lifetime exchanges. If they include returns (a popular option for those that want a newer model at an old model's price) that would inflate them even more.

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