Apple may enjoy immense popularity thanks to its sleek gadgets, but when it comes to what consumers want out of their smart phones Android is the clear choice. According to a report from market research firm The NPD Group, Android garnered top scores in a consumer preference study which polled both current smart phone owners and prospective buyers. 63 percent named Android their favorite OS, while 36 percent said they were “most interested” in it over all others.
Android’s success on store shelves is comparable. Since the end of 2010, around 50 percent of smartphone buyers have chosen an Android-powered device over competing offerings, said NPD.
“The Android juggernaut continues, and that’s not great news for some of their OS competitors,” said Linda Barrabee, research director for NPD’s Connected Intelligence division. “For example, one-third of BlackBerry smartphone owners are most interested in Android for their next smartphone purchase.”
Barrabee quickly tempered the statistics with some skepticism about Android’s continued dominance, naming Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Apple’s iPhone as staunch rivals. Neither is going away she said, but the former has its own set of obstacles – including a lack of advertising (46 percent of smartphone shoppers said they lacked substantial information on it) and customers resistant to change. To wit, 21 percent of those polled cited WP7’s ecosystem lock-in as a barrier thanks to previously-forged allegiances with iOS or Android platforms.
Microsoft’s mobile OS still shows some promise, with 44 percent of current smartphone owners telling the NPD that they may jump ship to a Windows 7-powered device soon.
“Windows Phone 7 has a way to go before consumers really understand what it is,” said Barrabee. “But with the right marketing mojo, apps portfolio, and feature-rich hardware, Microsoft could certainly improve its standing and chip away at Android’s dominant market position.”
What’s your OS preference? Let us know in the comment section.