The Android OS has been growing exponentially, from its 6 percent market share in 2009 to its 28 percent share in 2011. By 2012, that number is expected to reach 31 percent, one percentage point above Apple's iPhone. Apple is expected to hold steady for the next year, according to eMarketer, a digital marketing and media research firm.
The reason for Android's higher numbers are based on a few things, namely that the Android OS works on a variety of different smartphones, manufacturers and carriers. However, now that the iPhone is available on Verizon, and not just on the much-maligned AT&T, those numbers could lower in the coming year.
Apple, which also likes to have more control over its devices and operating system, is also considered to have more of a walled garden approach to its smartphone and application development. The Android OS, on the other hand, seems to revel in its laissez faire environment where more freedom can create more innovation as well as failures. Users of each operating system seem to have differing views of the handhelds and buy them based on those views.
Looking at the eMartketer information, I notice that Apple users will stay steady for the next year as they have since 2009, a testament to its brand loyalty. The big gain Android will be getting seems to be not from Apple users, but from Research in Motion BlackBerry users, which have been steadily dwindling.
Android will likely win in numbers because of its numerous handheld models, partnerships with manufacturers and carriers. Apple, even with a good smartphone, lacks the diversity to appeal to a broad range of people. Android has the edge by offering phones at different prices, with different capabilities and all the latest bells and whistles.