Are People Really Switching From Apple’s iPhones to Google’s Android?

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )  chairman, Eric Schmidt, has written a guide on how to make the jump from Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iPhone to an Android-powered handset like Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) Galaxy S4 or Google's own Nexus 5. His post is full of helpful tips, but much of what Schmidt has written is already out there.

Most interesting is Schmidt's claim that "many of [his] iPhone friends are converting to Android." Maybe that's true when it comes to Schmidt's social circle, but in the aggregate few Apple devotees are making the jump -- not yet, anyway.

Apple's loyalty remains unmatched
Most iPhone buyers stick with Apple's smartphone, according to a study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The firm found that 81% of iPhone owners bought another Apple device when it came time to upgrade. Loyalty to Google's platform was decisively weaker -- just 68% bought another Android handset.

Other studies have produced similar results. Yankee Group reported that only 9% of iPhone users it surveyed plan to ditch Apple when it came time to buy a phone, according to The Guardian.

While the quality and familiarity of Apple's devices is likely a prime factor, the lock-in effects of Apple's ecosystem are no doubt affecting loyalty. In his post, Schmidt explains how iPhone users can transfer their music and contacts to a phone running Google's operating system, but he makes no mention of any iBooks or iTunes videos that have been purchased. That's probably because it's exceedingly difficult or impossible to transfer these files over from Apple's to Google's ecosystem.

Android could lose one of its biggest selling points next year
Moreover, of the many reasons users might choose a handset running Google's operating system over Apple's iPhone is a bigger screen size. The 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s is positively tiny compared to flagship devices running Google's Android; most, like Samsung's Galaxy S4, offer nearly 5-inch screens, which are ideal for Web browsing, gaming, and watching videos. If you happen to want an oversized phablet like Samsung's Galaxy Note 3, you basically have no choice but to go with Google's operating system. (There's also a Windows phablet coming, but it has not yet been released.)

This will likely change next year. Although Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the iPhone's display, he's never ruled out a larger phone. According to Bloomberg, Apple will release two larger phones next year: a 4.7-inch iPhone flagship and 5.5-inch Apple phablet. If that's the case, Google's operating system will lose one of its unique selling points.

Dominating the emerging markets
Schmidt cites Android's 80% market share as evidence that more users prefer Google's operating system, but most of these users likely bought Android-powered handsets simply because they had no other choice.

Most of Android's market share comes from emerging markets, where budget handsets priced under $200 are common. Consider the Chinese market: according to research firm Canalys, Apple's share of the market is just 8%. Samsung's Android-powered phones are nearly three times as popular, with the company owning 21% of the Chinese market.

Samsung's flagship Galaxy phones are equally as expensive as Apple's iPhone -- in fact, its $900 Galaxy Note 3 is far more expensive than the $649 iPhone 5s. But Samsung is more than willing to offer phones at every conceivable price point, including sub-$100 phones made specifically for the Indian market.

Will Android ever surpass the iPhone in the US?
Google's Android could eventually steal Apple's customers, although it will take some time, and a shift in carrier policies. With heavy phone subsidies, consumers in the U.S. seem to prefer Apple's iPhone. Where there are no carrier subsidies -- like in emerging markets -- Google's Android is preferred.

For the most part, Schmidt's observation appears to be wishful thinking: There's no evidence to suggest that Apple iPhone are making the switch; rather, Android's growth seems to be coming from emerging markets, adding users who simply cannot afford to purchase an Apple-made device even if they wanted to.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 7:30 PM, spyfly2 wrote:

    Sam, what is it with you trying to trash Apple in EVERY article. Please disclose if Eric S. has you on his payroll.

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 7:37 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    More than 90% of current iPhone users stick with Apple. Less than 75% of Android users stuck with it. That is because Apple makes a better product. No matter what Eric does and says.

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 7:49 PM, bugnuts wrote:

    Eric says Android is more intuitive than iOS. But he has to publish a step-by-step guide for using it.

    Can you say "oh the irony," Moleman?

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 7:49 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    AAPL IS THE BEST. GOOGLE BLOWS! SAMSUNG REALLY SUCKS...POOREST QUALITY OF ALL PHONES IS SAMSUCK. GOOG PHONES ARE WAY TOO CONFUSING , SO THE WINNER OF COOLEST PHONE AGAIN GOES TO APPLE!

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 7:52 PM, dwilh51183 wrote:

    HANDS DOWN AS STATED BY CNBC'S CRAMER ...THE REVIEWS ARE IN AND THE IPAD AIR IS BY FAR THE MOST IN DEMAND PRODUCT FOR THIS CHRISTMAS. IT GOT RAVE REVIEWS FROM TOP TECH MAGAZINES ,SO I THINK IT'S WHAT EVERYONE WANTS TO OWN AND BE SEEN WITH, ESPECIALLY SINCE ALL THE SCHOOLS, INDUSTRIES, AND COLLEGE UNIVERSITIES ARE ALL USING AAPL IPADS

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 8:30 PM, secularinvestor wrote:

    * "Androids are more secure than iPhones" So announced Schmidt, which was greeted by howls of derisory laughter from the techies in the audience. This didn't stop him repeating the lie, to even more mocking laughter

    * "People are moving away from iPhones to Android" Another Schmidt lie. That's the opposite to what surveys show i.e. for every iPhone user moving to Samsung/Android there are 3 Android/Samsung users are moving to iPhones - That is why iPhones are GAINING market share and Samsung/Android are LOSING MARKET SHARE in the US, Canada, much of Europe, Japan, Mexico and Australia - (and now it seems India too). Where Android is gaining market share is with cheap forked White Box so called smartphones which SHUT OUT GOOGLE and which CANNOT USE GOOGLE PLAY

    * Strategy Analytic and IDC Android gerrymander with retrospective adjustments to tablet shipping data. Conveniently Android suddenly now have over 80% of the global tablet market. However it transpires that most of the sudden growth of Android tablets is accounted for by many tens of millions of $20 to $30 Android USB sticks for PC's with pirated movies. Severl more tens of millions are dirt cheap white box Androids which shut out Google and Google Play and are not even used or capable of basic tablet functions like browsing the internet or doing emails etc. This explains the mystery of why these huge numbers of phantom Android tablets don't appear in web usage data which measure internet browsing, advert clicks etc. ??????

    * More gerrymandering from JD Power whose surveys for years have given Apple products the highest user satisfaction ratings. Suddenly out of the blue, they rate Samsung tablets marginally above iPads. This is despite the fact that their own survey data showed that iPads beat Samsung in user satisfaction responses by a very wide margin in 4 out of 5 categories which, according to Powers, accounted for 84% of their rating weighting. Samsung tablets only only beat iPads in one category (i.e. on price), but JD Power used this sole criteria, which according to them only counted for 16% of their weighting, to put Samsung tablets ahead of iPads which had far more favourable users ratings in all the other categories ???????

    * More gerrymandering from gdgt(DOT)com who have retrospectively gone back and down graded their ratings of the iPad Air and iPhone 5S despite the fact that they still achieve by far the highest user and critics reviews ratings ??????

  • Report this Comment On November 26, 2013, at 10:50 PM, Toppgunn wrote:

    Get the WARRANTY - My Mid 2012 Macbook Air i5 8gb has already had:

    - Screen replaced (due to dead pixels)

    - Hard Drive SSD crashed and was replaced under their recall program

    - Now, that I am out of warranty the Memory has started to fail, so I was told by the Apple Tech - Ironically this is right after I took my Laptop in for Hardrive Replacement. The messed up my laptop when they replaced the SSD and now I'm at fault for the memory failing!

    Apple wants me to fork out another $280 to replace the logic board!!!

    This laptop is only a year and a half old!!!

    Apple "USED" to be reliable... but not anymore... which is probably why they are promoting the warranties so much.

    Good Luck to all... This is made in China so I guess we get what we pay for...

    By the way I own a lot of Apple products: iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, macbook pro, airport extreme, ipod's, iTouch

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 6:50 AM, iSheep101 wrote:

    Loyalty ... it's called being locked into Apple's ecosystem where it is extremely hard to switch to anything else due to the difficulty of transferring things from Apple's ecosystem to Android. Apple was shady in creating it this way but also smart. If you could readily transfer all your files, non-iSheep would 100% switch to Android.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 8:00 AM, crash3085 wrote:

    Can someone give dwilh51183 his meds? Or send him back to his room in the basement?

    There are a lot of people going to Android, there are a lot of people going to Apple, and there are a lot of people who just go back and forth. Who cares...use what you like.

    Personally, I find iOS extremely frustrating. I've tried and tried, but I always want to throw the device under a bus or kill myself. But that's just me. I also don't like the screen on the iPhones. My other half is an iPhone humper though and that's fine. Whatever works for you.

    BUT, probably the main reason people like the iOS devices so much is because of iTunes. It's amazing how many people think they can't get music to their other devices from iTunes, much less actually play it. It's really kind of sad, especially when you consider what a pile of dung iTunes has become.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 8:03 AM, crash3085 wrote:

    Toppgunn, almost everyone I know with Macbooks has had many, many problems with them. The operating system is great, but the hardware is just not durable. The reason they succeed is because Apple has some of the best customer service in the world. We had an iPod with a very expired warranty that kicked the bucket suddenly and Apple just replaced it with no questions asked. I know others who have taken their devices in because of damage that wasn't even warranty related, and Apple still took care of them. I have to give them credit for that.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 8:53 AM, BioBat wrote:

    crash3085, it's been my experience as well that the newer Macbooks just aren't holding up like they used to. You're right about customer service - Apple can have it in spades but it's also a lot spottier than it used to be. Sometimes you get you're experience with a free replacement and sometimes you get someone trying to charge you hundreds of dollars for the same thing. And it even varies within stores.

    Frankly, that's my biggest concern with Apple right now - as they've grown so big so fast, they've had to bring in a lot of people, many of whom are just looking at today's margins and sales quota and not thinking about tomorrow's upgrades.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 10:14 AM, bobmugge1960 wrote:

    I own both Samsung and Apple. Apple is far superior in every way. Ergonomics, Reliability, IOS, Customer support, Hardware, Looks are a tie but feel is all Apple. My android systems lock up, crash, don't load pages etc. They have some neat features like on the Samsungs they can take over a smart TV in seconds and run as a remote control for the TV but that is about it. On top of that Google chrome is the most invasive thing I have seen since Hitler.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 11:28 AM, RobInDayton wrote:

    I just switched from a iPhone to a Samsung Note 3. So far I am happy.

    It has taken a little while to get used to the huge phone, but I really wanted something bigger to read books, surf internet etc. I have an iPad, but it is so big I never really took it anywhere.

    I have a couple of email addresses and the Note does a better job handling that.

    I like the built in pedometer and weight tracker.

    I have had it couple of months and am still happy with my choice.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 1:02 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    , secularinvestor said it best.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 4:22 PM, hawkhell wrote:

    Android makes up 80% of the smart phone market, iPhone makes up 13% and Windows Phone makes up 6%. It is not a war anymore its just Android sitting as king and Windows Phone getting ready to step over iPhone.

    Apple has been selling outdated tech for premium for years and no one cares. Not to mention they are using their lol-loyal customers to test iOS7.

    As of now I use a Note 3, Surface Pro, and Alienware M17xR5. Soon as WP8 blue comes out I might switch to a lumia device depending on the changes. I go with the best tech and just as I switched from iPhone to Android when the second or 3rd batch of their phones hit I will do the same for any other piece of tech I own.

  • Report this Comment On November 27, 2013, at 8:13 PM, Jdzspace wrote:

    I really don't understand why this is still a conversation. People are switching from Apple to Android......and vice versa. But Android has the majority of cell phone/smart phone users. So I don't understand why people are touting Apple as if it's something special.

    I've seen and heard more horror stories about Apple phones than any Android device. And in my personal experience, the "Apple Experience" doesn't come close to comparing to the Android one.

    It's faster, the screen quality is second to none, the freedom of being able to do what i want without any draconian limitations.

    It's not perfect, don't get me wrong. But I deal with iPhones every day, I understand people being afraid of change, I understand people being more comfortable with what they know.

    But I still don't understand how anyone in their right mind, with any knowledge of tech at all, can say with a straight face that iPhone is a top tier phone. I just don't understand it, it defies all logic and reason.

    But alas....people really do believe that. To where they really believe that everyone wants an iphone, when the VAST majority of people don't.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 8:13 PM, Ngoikp wrote:

    I use the iPhone and own Apple shares, and would be worried if more people switch to Android. Hence, I did a random survey myself. In a recent gathering, I noticed majority of my colleagues, mostly ladies, were Samsung Galaxy S3/4 and Note 3 users. I asked them "Why Android and not Apple?" They replied they loved the larger screen. I then asked will they switch to Apple if Apple introduces a larger phone. They said yes. I bought more Apple shares recently.

  • Report this Comment On November 28, 2013, at 8:16 PM, TheOthermfa wrote:

    I've had an Android phone for 683 days now, and can't wait to upgrade to an iPhone. All I want is a reliable platform, an excellent phone, a friendly interface, a superb camera, and a supportive vendor; my Droid is 0 for 5 so far. A friend gave my an iPhone 3GS which I used for about 6 months with no telephony plan (using WiFi only for Web browsing and many apps), and it went 4 for 5.

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