Apple is scared of Androids
Apple is going to be ending its 5 year agreement for exclusivity with AT&T this year and it’s because their scared of Androids.
Apple had given everyone in the smartphone industry a wakeup call in early 2007 with the launch of the iPhone and Google is giving it back to them this year. A few key elements most likely set the bells blaring at Apple HQ. First was Android surpassing iPhone in the previous quarter in sales, second was Android surpassing iPhone in app and web usage according to Admob, and finally Google’s impressive Keynote at the 2010 Google I/O and their announcement of what’s to come with future Android releases.
Apple is scared because they must release a hardware and software update that will be competitive for a whole year and that’s just not possible with the amount of competition in the smartphone industry. Android is showing some rapid growth and with what’s to come it shows no signs of slowing down. Currently they have the HTC Incredible and the EVO 4G, Froyo is coming Spring\Summer and Gingerbread is coming Fall\Winter. We will probably see another 50 Android handsets land by the end of the year, with 20 just from Motorola alone.
When Apple releases the iPhone 4G in June it will sell huge and they may even take the next quarter back and take their place back in second. But I suspect by years end Apple will indeed be in 3rd place as I suspect that Android will take number 2. Android will not last long in second as by the 2nd quarter of 2011 they will be number 1. Since Apple will have nothing new for the fall and winter, their sales will plateau. To help this Apple will make their phone available on Sprint and \ or Verizon. Apple is betting Android’s sales are due to a lack of iPhone on the other carriers. This may have been the case for some in 2009, but by the end of 2010 it will be clear that Android has a life of its own. It won’t kill Android but it will help Apple stay in the game.
The end of the year has two unlikely candidates also vying for a chance at smartphone stardom. Microsoft will launch Windows Phone 7 and HP will be trying to give WebOS another push. I’m not completely counting them out, but no matter what momentum they do bring to the market they won’t have any chance of taking the top 3 till well into 2011.
The smartphone market has always been interesting, but this year will truly be the best so far.
These are my predictions for the year to follow if Apple does not make their phone available on another carrier they will not be able to maintain the growth they will see when they launch the iPhone 4 on AT&T in June.