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Android and iPhone mobile phones now combine for over 85% of the US smartphone market, and the majority of development is focused on these two platforms. There are however, subtle differences and if you are faced with the budgetary constraints that allow you to develop for only one of the two markets there are a few things to consider before you make this decision.
According to comScore MobiLens data from December 2012, the Android platform owns 53 percent of the market and iPhone is securely in second with 36 percent. Allow the market for Android is larger there are some key difference in how the two smartphones are used, and this is what you should know.
iPhone users tend to be younger and more affluent
In the 18-24 year old market the iPhone slightly bests Android users at 19 and 16 percent respectively. The more important aspect though is that the demographic information regarding iPhone users. The data seems to suggest that approximately 40 percent of the iPhone users’ household income falls in the $100k+ income, versus just 24 percent of the Android marketplace. Although your app may skew more towards inexpensive volume, this is important data to keep in mind.
Android has Quantity, iOS has Quality
The differences don’t stop at the demographic information, as the way the owners of each mobile device owner uses them varies as well. iPhone users are often referred to as “power users” and they are more like to engage in all aspects of app use compared to the Android owners. This poses the question of what is more important to your brand; volume of eyes or quality of engagement.
iPhone users are going to buy more
With the emergence of mobile commerce as a viable trend with mobile devices, the iPhone users again edge out the Android users at 23 to 17 percent. As the key driver to your app development will be some form of purchase this is an important statistic to ponder over.
Bringing it all together
Depending on your goals for the development or integration with either of these leading platforms, they each offer their own unique characteristics and advantages. The main differences from the 2012 data seem to indicate that the Android platform has more users, but the iPhone market has a more engaged audience. You have to decide which will benefit your business objectives the best moving forward and look to the future of each platform when you are deciding between the two. If you can afford it and it is possible, the best solution would be to engage both audiences and have access to almost 90 percent of the US mobile market.
Editor's Note: I wrote this post back in 2013 - two years ago and wow do times change! I dug this up and decided to post knowing that it is interesting to see how things may have changed in the past 2 years :)