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Android Growth: Why the Smartphone Revolution Has Just Begun

Steven Blum
Android growth. For a while, it was just about all we could talk about. Android's meteoric rise to the top of the global platform heirarchy has been a big story lately. But it's worth remembering that, when it comes to the "smartphone revolution," we're still in the early stages, according to Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget. Android growth has really just begun.

Right now, there are 835 million smartphone users and 5.6 BILLION dumbphone users. In the U.S., we're around halfway through the "dumb-phone conversion style" as a full 46% of all Americans own a smartphone (41% own a feature phone while 12% have no cell phone). But in the rest of the world, the "dumb-phone conversion cylce is just getting started. Feature phones are still the primary phones being sold in the rest of the world, accounting for more than 65% of all phone sales. Android growth could still come from the developing world.
Smartphones today are sold primarily to young adults with money, but soon everyone will be buying smartphones.  That will certainly affect the kind of advertising we see for Androids (I wonder if those "Droid Does" ads will stay similarly sensationalistic) as well as the kind of apps developed for the platform. 
And the platform wars have really just begun, as well. When fewer dumb phones are sold, there will be more of a market for competing platforms. Right now, it's worth remembering, as amazing as Android growth has been, developers still prefer (and make more money off of) iOS. So, really, there are plenty of reasons for a competing platform to emerge and steal marketshare. Android can't rely on its high saturation; it also must get its act together and work on fragmentation to maintain its dominance.
There are also plenty of other great factoids in the Business Insider piece, including:
  • Apps are now a $10 billion market, growing at 100% per year.
  • Apps grow FAST: It took AOL 9 years to get to 1 million users. It took Facebook 9 months to reach the same goal, but it took "Draw Something" just 9 DAYS.
  • Global Internet users will double over the next few years – and most will be mobile.


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