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

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