Albeit the booming sales of Androids over the past year – being the top player in mobile device sales by selling over a billion phones in 2014 alone, nearly five times that of iphones – there are still some challenges that Google faces with Android. As Apple’s mobile device popularity continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, there are some known facts that Google is beginning to face. Over the years, many people have used Android for it’s affordability over Apple. In general, this has, demographically, represented Android users as less financially well-off than Apple users. As a result, Android users have invested less money overall in Google Play – Androids’ app store. The sales generated from phone devices alone is meager in comparison to the revenue made from apps. The issue for Google is that although Google Play has become increasingly popular in past years, Apple continues to generate more from it’s app store – about $4 billion more than Google Play.
Given that a majority of revenue of mobile devices come from apps, Google has suffered significantly, specifically from China’s focus being primarily on iOS platforms, which has resulted in the country essentially blocking Google app sales. On top of that, Google has had a difficult time generating money from ads on Android. Being an ad company that owns most of the popular internet, one would think the company would favor their own product over Apple advertisements. However, it has inadvertently been quite the contrary. Instead, a recent analysis by Goldman Sachs found that 75% of the $11.8 billion Google collected on mobile search ads came strictly from iphone or ipad advertisements.
With the growing popularity of Apple devices and the steady interest in iOS application development, specifically in Silicon Valley, Google is struggling to keep Android as a first choice among consumers. In addition, it seems that those that are not invested in Apple devices are looking for alternatives, as many are not wanting to support Google. Since Google has colonized much of the tech world – yet is ceasing to be a dominate player in the mobile device market – other companies, specifically smaller players, are using this as leverage to market their apps and new forms of interface to different companies, in effort to keep money within their own “ecosystem”.
Google is now reconsidering it’s priorities. Initially Android was used as a smartphone platform to get users to more easily access Google. The founders claimed they weren’t originally necessarily interested in phone sales. However, now that they have seen the direction the future is going, and the future seems to be lying in the palms of our hands, Google is reassessing how to compete with their competitors, and if that is even something they are interested in doing. It seems that Androids, being a more affordable smartphone device for so long, had become known as a “gateway” for phone users. As mobile device users become more savvy and intelligent , Google is finding their customers to not be so loyal as a mass migration has taken place from Android, straight into the bosom of Apple. Maybe it’s Apple’s sleek advertisements or their disciples’ cunning proselytizing, either way, users are converting. This past year alone, 16% of iphone purchasers were previously Android users
It seems that Google needs to more clearly delineate their intentions with Android. Considering Google is such a major force of power that has monopolized the internet to a point where the word “google” has now become a verb, there is some curiosity of whether now Google wants be more altruistic, offering Android as an affordable product to the middle class, and not simply cater to the successful, ambitious tech oligopoly. Or does Google have no such plans to remain the underdog for long. Time will only tell, but something tells me that Google is not interested in supporting the proletariate in the long run.