The Internet is a great place for misinformation at times. I mean, let's go back to all the wonderful FUD which arrived prior to the PlayStation 3 release which had at least two sources claiming that Sony would block used games from being played (which would be nearly physically impossible) and BoingBoing declaring that it wouldn't play Sony's flagship product - Blu-Ray movies (which was tinfoil at best).
On May 10th, the NPD group - a market leader in consumer demographics that many of us gaming bloggers know quite well as "the start of half the fanboy wars on any given forum", made this statement:
“As in the past, carrier distribution and promotion have played a crucial role in determining smartphone market share,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis for NPD. “In order to compete with the iPhone, Verizon Wireless has expanded its buy-one-get-one offer beyond RIM devices to now include all of their smartphones.”
Now let us take a step back and actually read this statement. It is saying, in relatively clear English, that in the first quarter of the year 2010 in the United States, Android outsold Apple's iPhone by some seven percent and that the spike was largely credited to Verizon extending buy one, get one free deals to Android that had previous been limited to RIM's Blackberry.
And that is pretty much all it is saying. Not quoted here is the fact that it does not include enterprise sales here - only consumer.
This was widely reported. In increasingly poor ways:
So kinda right. For one thing, you may note that the original NPD report avoided declaring that Android was outright outselling the iPhone - rather that is "shaking up the market". This is probably because Android taking second place in one quarter of one year by a somewhat slim margin thanks to marketing deals is probably not a strong indicator that the iPhone is doomed to a #3 spot.
We can quickly move from this statement to the just plain wrong:
Comparing first quarter sales to market share is like, uh, well, like comparing apples to the barrel in which they arrived. This mistake would be repeated and once again, NPD results would eventually kick off many a fanboy flamewar.
This is reality:
Android is suspected to take 10% of the overall smartphone market in 2010. Currently the market leader? Not even RIM - but Nokia with around 40%. In 2009, the Symbian OS held 47% off all smartphones.
Short version: even if Android outsold RIM in the first quarter of 2010 - they would be hard pressed to be in double digits market wise, much less second place.
That's not to say the report isn't news. It is, because Android sales have been increasing, and nearly every analyst seems to expect it to contiue to do so. The next couple years are likely to be very formative for the OS - but that does not mean it suddenly dominated Apple.
We have to remember that Apple just got into a massive PR campaign with Adobe over Flash, HTML5, the iPhone OS and the future of the web in general. Adobe responded by buddying up with Google and making several comments about how great Flash runs on Android. Then the NPD releases their report and pretty much the entire techsphere went off to the races.
Course, we also have the opposite end of the spectrum. Beatweek Online seems to specialize in reporting about two things: how great boy bands are and how great the iPhone is. Their homepage literally has two categories: Music and iPhone+iPod+iPad. Suppose in some ways it makes sense, many people listening to pop music do it on an Apple device. It's just a shame that they are so embarrassingly fanboy in their reporting, and so shamefully bad at it:
In light of this news, it’s unlikely that any “data” or claims from NPD will be taken seriously any time soon, and we’re back at square one in terms of knowing how each smartphone is currently selling in relation to the next.
While not mentioned, this seemed to come in response to Apple's press release on the subject ... which seems to be the main basis of all of Beatweek's tech news. You can read the brief twitter spat I kicked off in response. When the extent of one's journalistic skills can't get beyond revealing something which was in the original report as shocking (which, with other statements by Beatweek, suggests they never bothered to read said original report) - one might consider a different hobby than writing about technology.
I have feeling NPD's "data" will still be widely accepted.
Back to work people. Sorry for the long post, short version: Verizon gives away free Droid phone with purchase of Droid phone. Droid sales increase dramatically.