New York Times Android vs. iOS graph

With the launch of the Verizon iPhone, many in the tech sphere were wondering how much impact the phone might have once it hits a second carrier. The New York Times rounded up sales data and created the graph you see above to show the relative share of subscribers between Android and iOS on each of the four main U.S. carriers. They note that nearly half of all American Android users are split between Sprint and T-Mobile while the rest are mostly on Verizon. Unsurprisingly AT&T has the smallest number of Android users probably thanks to only having on high-end Android phone -- the Captivate -- and the availability of the iPhone since its launch back in 2007.

Several big questions around the Android vs. iOS on Verizon debate remain:

  • How many current Verizon Android users will jump to the iPhone when it's available Feb. 10?
  • Will new smartphone users pick the iPhone over the various Android phones?
  • How many iPhone customers from AT&T will leave for Verizon? (and thus not actually increase the overall iOS userbase)
  • Will Verizon also gain users from the smaller networks that wouldn't have left for AT&T?

In time, all these questions will be answered. With HP and Palm ready to jump back in and Microsoft finally in the game, 2011 looks to be a wild ride for the smartphone market. Hold on tight. [The New York Times]


Reader comments

Android, iOS U.S. subscriber numbers visualized


as a iphone user i dont think alot of subscrbers will leave like most tech blogs think. its cancellation fees, they may have to pay a deposit to move to another carrier, and mostly not every one has a problem with AT&T. I know its a problem mostly in san francisco and new york but where i stay i dont have a problem and i know many others that dont. now im sure there are those who cant make a call to save there lives & those might move over in a heart beat. and as far as people switching overfrom android to iphone. i dont think a lot will do that right away but those who are qualififed for full upgrade will definetely get the iphone. yea i know the bionic is coming out & it has 4g but not that many markets have it & we dont know how well it work with early adopters

I would not make the assumption that people who are qualified for a full upgrade will definitely get the iPhone. I'm one of those people and I most certainly am not getting an iPhone. I'm getting the Thunderbolt. Not everyone out there wants an iPhone.

i also think it will really test android's branding power when iphone comes on feb. 10th. specs is not what sell devices it friendly clean user experiences, thats what does.....ohhh & also branding

How many iPhone customers from AT&T will leave for Verizon? (and thus not actually increase the overall iOS userbase)

Answer, none. The current iPhone users on AT&T will of course give their phones to others or sell them. It's not like a perfectly good iPhone is going to go to waist. When an AT&T user jumps ship to Verizon, you get one new iOS user every time.

I see the marked being over saturated with old iphones, at this point people are basically going to have to give them away because anyone who really loves their apple products is brainwashed to want the latest and greatest and will be holding out for the iphone 5 to save their world.

Agreed. I also suspect that Jobs will "invent" widgets, real multitasking and other Android only features for the iPhone by then.

Jobs hates that Verizon/Android ate his lunch over the past year. It lay open his AT&T exclusive licensing blunder. I doubt he, or whoever is running Apple at the time, will make that mistake again.

I think the iPhone 5 on Verizon 4G is going to be awesome. I think Android needs a similar "can't wait for it" phone for that timeframe. I'm not convinced that "Thunder" is really that phone. We'll see.

Nice theory, but not 100% correct.

I had the original iPhone, upgraded to the 3G and then upgraded to the 3Gs, selling the previous model online each time. From what I can surmise from the buyer, the original and 3G went overseas (he bought hundreds of iPhones and other smartphones, but never sold anything on eBay, at least under that name, plus other details). The 3Gs was sold on Craigslist when I abandoned AT&T's horrible service for Verizon and a Droid X. The buyer of the 3Gs was a T-Mobile customer, so AT&T lost an iOS user on that deal. Which brings up something else, the numbers reported don't reflect any T-Mobile iOS users and you know there's got to be a lot of them.

I've been telling my Iphone wanting friends to wait for the Iphone 5.m because I think it will have a larger screen. And most people that I know with Android want to keep Android. Largely because of the software and how fast it updates.

Lte already covers hundreds of cities in 38 markets. Verizon's markets cover huge areas. It currently covers over1/3 of the population (115 million) Another 49 markets coming in the next few months, bringing the coverage to over half the population. By the end of the year, over 140 markets will cover 2/3 of the population. So, Lte covers more than you think, with more coming very soon.

i just got done looking at the coverage map and its not alot. we dont know how lte will do with most of these lte phones how is battery gonna do, are teh lte chips on these phones power excessive, but we will find out when these phones are released. 4g is nice, but its not gonna be a deal breaker for alot of consumers at this time.

We'll definitely see a drop in Android user base. I'd say something around 50% of Verizon Android users CAN/MAY switch to the iPhone. Not immediately of course but over 1-2 years. What Google and the OEMs have to do is create a more compelling CONSUMER product.

Right now Android's main draw is variety. Big screens, more power, cheap/free phones, etc. That will keep a good chunk of Verizon Android users happy. The other half just wants something cool to use; and right now, Android is clunky compared to iOS in both OS and especially apps. It gets the job done but not in a pleasing/smooth way like iOS does. If Google takes the time to fix that by improving the UI further (Honeycomb is a huge step) and enforcing/promoting more third party App guidelines, then that may kill off iOS's wow factor.

Right now though, the US market share will start to morph towards the European share where iOS dominates over Android.

Android dominates in many areas of the world, including Europe. Android is second to only Symbian worldwide. LoL @ Android's apps "just gettin it done." Complete bs!

Your first sentence was way off base, so I didn't read the rest.

The user base is not going to drop.

Did you totally miss the story posted four days ago about 300,000 Android Activations per day?

This is AFTER the CDMA iPhone was announced.

Who are all these people signing a contract to go to Android with a VZW iPhone just a month away? Answer: People who are NOT planning to jump back into iPhone Jail. That's 9 million or so a month.

No way is the Android user base going down.

This is obviously the wrong site to have a unbiased discussion. I see this now and it was my mistake.

Either way, I clearly said that it wouldn't happen until the future because of contracts. This is especially true because of the new Verizon upgrade policies. My only point is that the Android platform is going to be relegated to mostly bottom feeding if it's main stream appeal doesn't change. Where do you think those activations are coming from? Ether from iPhone free carriers or value users.

Now, I don't doubt that Android is genuinely liked by many people but we all know that a lot of smart phone users on "value" position carriers (T-Mo/Sprint) are still pushed into the platform by default. And this will continue to be true as long as they don't have access to the iPhone. But to not believe that the Verizon iPhone won't have a immediate and long term effect on US market share is really freaking crazy.

Bottom line: Expect long lines on the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4. Expect nothing even remotely close for the Bionic 4G.

You make a good point; however, who knows what Android phones will be like by this time next year? Remember these phones advance rapidly and Android is anything but static. While some people have been getting Android phones because "that's what the network they're on has instead of an iPhone" that is giving folks a chance to see what Android is about and what it can do. I know a good number of people who got Android phones because of that who now could care less about the iPhone.

Bottom line: Android isn't going anywhere. It will still be there competing with iOS devices...a great thing for us consumers since it only forces Apple and Google to continue to improve their products!

Oh and yes, I'm certain there will be mass hysteria the day the iPhone launches on Verizon. Thankfully, I know I won't be one of those in line.

50%? wow.. clearly delusional.

Ever since the ipod, apple products have been all about "technology for dummies". That's why they are so succesful, because the majority of consumers are quite clueless when it comes to whats out there.. and Im not even talking about being a techjunkie to understand it. You give them more than 2 options and they're suddenly dumbfounded.

anyone who enjoys android for it's options will not likely switch to iphone (tho iOS has been playing catchup with the iphone4). And many of those who have inclinations towards iphone might be sorely disappointed after coming from an android platform.

The only way anyone will switch from Android To LAST YEAR'S iPhone 4 is if they are clueless, stupid, or bowing to peer pressure. I am doing things with my EVO that can't be done on the iPhone. I've compared my EVO with my son's iPod Touch (iPhone without the phone) and I have more functionality, WORKING FLASH that has NEVER crashed, and all the apps I could ever need, that do EXACTLY what I need them to do. And if I want more functionality, all I have to do is root my EVO. Even if the iPhone came to Sprint, I will NEVER trade in freedom for a "me too" iPhone. There may be some lames out there want to be like their iPhone buddies. I'm not one of them.

I don't think February 2011 is the date that should worry Google Android fans. The only Verizon Android users who might want to make the switch are the original Droid/Android owners who might be coming to end of contract anyway.

The date I would start to worry about is March-April, 2012 when a lot of the HTC Droid Incredible (the first BIG Android seller for Verizon) users come around on their contracts.

At that point, I think many of us will look at the choice of phones available on Verizon and decide whether to continue with Android or give iPhone a look.

from a few articles Ive read over the past 6 months, i believe the Motorola Droid does in fact have the highest ownership count of all android phones. Im also inclined to believe so because they are also the quickest to receive new ROM developments usually have most downloaded ROMs count.

i dont remember seeing much advertisement for the Incredible (tho i do hear abt it frequently from owners). Following the Original MotoDroid i think the Droid X was the next heavily marketed by Verizon.

Here are the answers:

• Very few and if they do, they will jump back next cycle.

• Only if they are not smart enough to realize they are paying for a name and not a better product.

• Quite a few.

• Yes.

I think the iPhone to Android ratio will remain pretty close 50-50 for the next couple years.

Each side has their pros and cons. As the smatphones become more advanced, it only favors android. people who want to take full advantage of their phone will realize, Android is the only way to go, apple just won't allow it. I also see eventually, even the noobist of the noobs will wanted more freedom with their smartphones.

Personally, I thought the iPhone when it came out was dumb. After playing with one for a while, I got the 3G when it was released. I was like. man I made a mistake, this is awesome. But i got tired of all the resrtictions. essentailly told if I wanted the new OS features I would have to upgrade my phone, even though when jailbroke it could run those "new" features fine. That is what did me in with Apple. I moved to Android. Put a custom ROM on my captivate and haven't had a second thought about iPhones. Only way i will go back to an iPhone, is if android goes away.

Someone mentioned Androids branding power. Excuse my negligence, and that fact that I've spent no time in the USA what-so-ever, but I'm not really aware of Android really trying to develop a brand. I'm relatively new to Android,upgrading my RAZR V9 in for an HTC Desire HD last November. I've never really been a fan of Apple, and wouldn't shell out for one of their devices, except for maybe a MacBook Pro. But Android was never something I was made very aware of until I became interested in HTC. I love Android, I think its everything iOS could have been until all the corporate twats decided to lockdown all that was good in the world. I think Android could however, develop a good strong brand. I think that a lot of stuff out there (on youtube) at the moment might be a little too geeky to appeal to the masses. I think some smart advertising could really get the platform wizzing along.

There is some level of advertising going on for Android currently in the US but I do agree it could be more. I know for a fact that the Evo commercials make a point of saying this is the Evo and this is Android, which runs the Evo with the little android robot there. So, some of that branding is already taking place. It just needs to happen more!

One group not mentioned...what about those of us on ATT currently with iPhones that are going to switch to Android now that ATT is finally coming out with some powerhouse Android devices? Lets see, that's a +1 for Android on ATT, -1 for iphone. And I'm sure I'm not the only one; there are some of us who get great ATT service and have no real desire to leave, but can't wait to ditch iOS for Android as soon as the Atrix or Inspire arrive.

Only the quality of a product can say how it will do. Android has proved itself as a true contender. I see how they truly care about what the customer wants and not what they think the costumer needs or doesn't need. People these days at least are aware of what mistakes a company can make, and with ability to be held accountable, (With the help of AC!) these companies have more responsibility to the consumer. So i say let the War continue only we the consumer can benefit. I'm rooting for Android!!!

The answer is not in the devices or the customization of the OS (like rooting). Most people do not care about that. Most Android owners do not read Android Central. We are not the market that Google and friends need to target.

The answer is with creating a simple and universal way to consume media and applications. Apple has spent a lot of time building the Apple way of doing things. Google needs to do this better and cheaper and market the crap out of it to stay competitive in the minds of consumers (in the premium smartphone space). If they cannot do this then Android will be considered always a secondary choice in the market place regardless of how many devices are activated per day (which will be everything from toasters to space ships).

Reality is perception and Android is now sharing the spotlight with Apple. This will be a very important year for Google. Hopefully Oracle doesn't screw it all up.

I want to see iphone like hardware with the android operating system onboard. That would be the best of both worlds. The hardware aspect of the iPhone is the only thing I like about it.

What's so compelling about the iPhone hardware? The Apple Logo? The 3.5" retina display? The video chat that only works over WiFi? The built in battery that you can't swap out if it dies or you want an extended battery? I'm not impressed with the iPhone hardware or software and I was an AT&T customer. Maybe the Verizon iPhone hardware and service will be better. Or maybe not, but I can tell you that when I held my EVO in my hand the first time, I knew I was holding a premium quality phone that could outdo the iPhone any day of the week. By the way, the Moto Atrix and LG Optimus 2 hardware eclipse the iPhone with Dual Core, more memory and functionality that outclass last year's iPhone. Maybe Apple may have something if Jobs is still alive in August. Maybe not.

Verizon sucks!, they are very conceited & there phones are crap. There to worried about how many stores they can build rather then building on the quality of there phones. I and a bunch of friends of mine switched because were tired of getting crappy phones.

Is it just me or do graphs and numbers not seem to match up? Android users have been reported at 300,000+ activations per day now for over 9 months. (basically 273 days). So that would equal 81.9 million users. That would not include the many that came before the big swell of users in the first qtr of 2010.

Yet the graphs show under 10 million on Verizon, and what appears under 5 million on the other 3 carriers. I smell a major flaw in that graphic to true numbers.

People that are still interested in iPhones will probably make the switch to another carrier once their contracts are up. So no big changes in the near future