28
Oct
Android1

After reading a couple of great pieces on Droid-life about how Android manufacturers seem to be moving at breakneck pace to advance hardware and iterate handsets like crazy, I had an idea - let's visualize it in different ways. First, we'll start with a pretty basic comparison, showing the US's four major carriers and the number of Android devices they currently offer.

graph1

*includes upcoming DROID RAZR and Galaxy Nexus on Verizon. Based on respective carrier websites as of 10/28/11.

Next, we'll see how much each of the major handset manufacturers contributes to these numbers at the present moment.

graph2

*includes upcoming DROID RAZR and Galaxy Nexus. Based on respective manufacturer websites as of 10/28/11. Shared platform duplicates excluded (eg, Samsung Galaxy S II variants).

Still seems like a lot of phones - even with the devices using similar hardware platforms accounted for. But how many of those are real competitors to something like the iPhone 4 or 4S? We need to break it down further, based on real-world pricing.

graph3

*data based on 2-year upgrade pricing and availability on Amazon Wireless as of 10/28/11. Includes Galaxy Nexus and DROID RAZR (price >$100 assumed). Includes all shared platform models. Phones priced at $99.99 and higher.

Shared platforms skew the data here a bit, though - particularly with four different versions of Samsung's Galaxy S II smartphone floating around here in the states. There's also the fact that QWERTY keyboard phones aren't typically considered competitors to something like the iPhone. Let's just go with touch devices. How does the data look once we account for those copycats and keyboards?

graph4

*data based on 2-year upgrade pricing and availability on Amazon Wireless as of 10/28/11. Includes Galaxy Nexus and DROID RAZR. Shared platform duplicates excluded. QWERTY keyboard phones excluded. Phones priced at $99.99 and higher.

After seeing the graphic, you're probably wanting to see which phones these are. Let's list them out:

LG

  • T-Mobile G2x
  • Verizon Revolution 4G

HTC

  • T-Mobile Sensation 4G
  • T-Mobile Amaze 4G
  • Verizon ThunderBolt 4G
  • Verizon Rhyme
  • Sprint EVO 3D

Samsung

  • Galaxy S II (all carrier variants)
  • T-Mobile Galaxy S 4G
  • Verizon Galaxy Nexus
  • Verizon DROID Charge

Motorola

  • ATRIX 2 (AT&T and Sprint Photon)
  • Verizon DROID BIONIC
  • Verizon DROID RAZR

What does it all mean? Well - that's a matter of how you look at the information. Verizon is definitely has the largest number of high-end Android handsets currently, though the carrier's high pricing on 4G phones has a lot to do with that.  It looks as though HTC currently makes the largest number of high-end touch platforms, and while the ThunderBolt is probably nearing the end of its life, so is Samsung's DROID Charge, meaning HTC would still be on top of the heap. But end of life and release timing is something we're going to save for part two of this series (if you can call it that), so keep an eye out.

Honestly, I just thought this would be some interesting information to plot out and share, so I hope you've enjoyed it.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Theodor Hellesvik

    I think the US's phone system is upfucked, every operator makes their own phone out from f.eks the galaxy s2. In norway we have the original s2 and no problems with that, i can't see why you have that thingy in the US...

    • Bob

      Because it's america, everything's gotta be different from the world.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com Cody

      It's a leftover problem from the days of dumb phones. Back then, none of the US carriers had any meaningful way to distinguish themselves from each other. Sure their coverage areas and quality varied wildly, but other than coverage maps there was no way to communicate service. In addition to claiming the most coverage or lowest prices the carriers tried to push individual dumb phones (dubbed "Feature Phones"). Most of the carriers, especially Cingular (now part of AT&T) and Verizon, would take a generic phone from Nokia, Eriksson, Motorola and HTC (before anybody knew who HTC was) and rebrand them with various names, then claiming they had an exclusive on said phone. This stupidity didn't go away with smartphones, rather it got worse with Windows Mobile (ie. Tilt, Fuze, etc...)

      Unfortunately, the marketing teams of the big carriers haven't learned their lessons, so they insist on stuffing their own branding on every device and pushing for very minor feature variations.

      • Andrew – Des Moines

        I have been saying this for a long time. Android's growth potential is not just high-end devices but mid-range replacements for 'feature phones'. Why should the individual carriers bother developing individual phone OS's and try to support app development when Android and its market is right there and free. Everyone wins (except Apple).

        • oilflame

          You make a great point.

    • Jon Garrett

      The problem in the US is that all the carriers have their own network whereas in the rest of the world you all have the same.

      we have 5 networks here (CDMA, TDMA, PCS, IDEN & GSM) so each carrier has requirements for phones to work on their networks. as in the case with the Galaxy S2, physical changes may even be necessary.

      US carriers dont want to spend the money required to build a better network and US carriers are competing with each other so its to their benefit to have their own networks.

    • mostlyDigital

      Let's start that answer with the FCC who, in their infinite wisdom, decided that there would be no common standard for cellular and each provider would develop their own incompatible version.

      Actually, I think that that's as far as we have to go.

    • Deepak

      Really true .... at the end you don't know which phone and which ... and then they go, "OH Android is tooo fragmented", no wonder updates take ages there....

    • RL

      Tell me about it.

      I'm not willing to pay for 2-year contract on anyAndroid phone and will just buy it outright since these things get EOL-ed so fast.

      The Samsung Infuse was out for all of 6 months and then gets discontinued in November this past week in favor of the Galaxy S2 Skyrocket which came out a mere month after the AT&T Galaxy S2 that everyone was waiting for 6 months after the rest of the world.

      Galaxy S2 won't get discontinued that fast but if it does, its pretty retarded. AT&T is really pushing the Skyrocket a lower speced phone merely because of LTE. More people who don't know the difference will get Skyrocket due to the marketing brainwashing this company preaches.

      This is enough to make anyone's head spin.

  • droidddd

    There aren't too many phones, just too few and too little support for them.

  • bikerbillsbolt

    You firgit the htc rezound since you are including yet to released phones from samsung(gnex) and moto(razr) just saying

  • Cory

    Cool way to break down the data! Illuminating. As for other comments about why so many phones that are similar, and it's branding and product positioning in the market. As one carrier releases a phone, other carriers have to release one to stay many current. It like toothpaste - ever wondered why there are so many options to choose from?

  • Fabulas

    the numerous handsets causes nothing but segmentation among the Android platform. There should be no reason a phone is released just with Froyo and they are about to release ICS.

  • nnuus

    Again, US-based news site uses US statistics to reflect the world.

    • http://www.AndroidPolice.com Artem Russakovskii

      Who said anything about the world?

      • Mesmorino

        Don't be disingenuous. You're talking about Android phones... Since they're not limited to the States, using only US statistics is not going to give an accurate result.

        Either include the world in your analysis, or change the title to "Are there really too many Android phones *IN THE US*?..."

        Or you know, do whatever you want.

        • George C

          Wat? How about you realize it's a US based blog.

        • Zomby2D

          Android Police is a US-based blog so they tend to report on the local situation. However, a lot of people from outside the US come to this site as it isa reliable source of Android information. I tend to just ignore news that doesn't apply to my own country but I agree, I prefer to see news and stats pertaining to the whole world.

        • David Ruddock

          My graphs specifically state the data is for the US.

          If you'd like to gather data for every major carrier in the world in every country and the handsets they offer, research which ones are based on common platforms, and which retail for the equivalent of >$100US on a 2-year upgrade, be my guest.

          You'll need to look at the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, and probably some more that I'm not thinking of at the moment. You'll also need to sift through a lot of poorly translated pages.

          The plurality of our readership is American, and as an American myself, American carriers and their handset offerings are what I am most familiar with. It would be irresponsible (and likely inaccurate) of me to even try and pitch this data as being reflective of the whole world.

          Just because the title doesn't include it, doesn't make it deceptive. You're nitpicking on a detail that is clearly labelled in the data, and anyone taking the time to read it could understand that.

  • Rob

    You include someone as low on the feeding chain as LG but you leave out Sony Ericsson? Whut?

    • David Ruddock

      Sony has 0 handsets currently retailing for more than $100 on a 2-year upgrade agreement on any major US carrier. Sony has lagged far behind even LG (admittedly LG has slowed down, too) and their hardware is laughably behind the curve.

      Sony released a phone this year (the XPERIA Play) with a processor found in the Nexus One and EVO 4G. Not exactly contemporary competitors.

      While Sony is obviously working on more Android phones, and some of them may actually be decent, I'd place their influence on the Android device ecosystem at damn near zero for the past 3-4 months, even compared to LG - who at least put out some successful budget phones.

  • Phil

    Horrible post would make better sense to list all the phones that came out between iPhone 4 and 4s

    • David Ruddock

      When someone walks into a Verizon store and they see umpteen-million different Android devices on display, while the iPhone 4S sits alone at its little pedestal, there may be a sense of getting "overwhelmed" by the Android options. That's what my data is attempting to shed light on.

      This information pertains to the options consumers have available to them at major carriers, not to the rate at which manufacturers are releasing handsets. That will be a separate post.

      To say this is "horrible" because it doesn't look at a specific set of data you're interested in is rude, and frankly, a bit insulting to the time I put into doing this.

  • Tee

    Well, that's just a very, very, very narrow aspect of the Americans...

    Let alone Samsung's got a huge selection of Android phones. In Europe. Way, way too many.

  • PWRuser

    No. After form factor, size, price, carrier, brand, specs and design preference deduction, it's really hard to get a phone one is happy with.

    So no, there aren't too many phones.

  • Johnny

    Why don't they mention the LG Esteem? I feel so left out :(

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