For the first time in a long time, an Android phone has managed to outsell the Apple iPhone at a major US carrier. The Droid Razr MAXX outsold the iPhone in the first quarter of 2012. What does this mean for Android? Has the mighty iPhone begun to falter? Not so fast, says analyst Anil Doradla at William Blair. He points out that Verizon has been “aggressively marketing competing 4G devices”. This is a fair point, as Verizon has spent a lot of money building out an impressive 4G network and is eager to get customers using it (and paying higher monthly bills). The iPhone is marketed heavily by Apple, but not as much by the carriers. Here’s what else Doradla had to say:
Since Apple’s iPhone launch in North America, we believe this was the first quarter where the iPhone was not the best‐selling smartphone at a North American mobile operator (where it was available). While Apple continued to maintain its top position at AT&T and Sprint, Motorola’s Droid RAZR MAXX was the best‐ selling smartphone at Verizon. Our checks also indicate that at this stage consumers are not pausing in front of the iPhone launch as it is not influencing their purchasing decisions (but we expect it to start impacting over the next couple of months). Despite the “increased competitive landscape from 4G devices (and the iPhone 4S is not 4G),” Doradia is “not worried” as the next iPhone model, a true 4G phone, “will be an important catalyst for the company,” he believes.
If I had to guess though, it’s that consumers just wanted a phone with an large screen, impressive battery life, 4G connectivity, a thin body style all backed by a company Google just purchased. Android phones and the OS itself have rapidly caught up to (and surpassed) the iPhone, so this won’t be the last time we see a story like this.
By the way, the ICS release for the RAZR and RAZR MAXX is expected very, very soon.