iPhone 4: Trouble on the Verizon for Google Android?

The iPhone 4 is coming to Verizon. So Google’s Android operating system is totally doomed now, right? That’s what some experts seem to think.

U.S. market share for Android smartphones eclipsed Apple smartphones for the first time as of Nov. 30, 2010 — 26 percent vs. 25 percent — according to ClickZ (from comScore data). Experts expect iPhone’s sales to increase as Verizon boasts 93 million subscribers.

“A lot of people who bought Android phones were buying it in lieu of an iPhone because they couldn’t get one on the Verizon network” Charlie Wolf, a Needham & Co. analyst in New York, told Bloomberg.

Android is the number two operating system worldwide, with 25.5 percent of smartphone sales, and is particularly dominant in North America, according to Gartner. Android phones accounted for between 75 and 80 percent of Verizon Wireless’s smartphone trade in the Q3 2010, Gartner estimated.

Although many experts are expecting bad things for Android, an analysis of 78,000 tweets suggests Google doesn’t have too much to worry about yet:

“… around 15% of Droid users want the Verizon iPhone but are locked into a contract with a Droid device. Another 12% said they are absolutely switching from a Droid to a Verizon iPhone, while 18% said they were undecided. But Google did receive some good news: A whopping 55% of tweets analyzed indicated they were sticking with a Droid, regardless of the announcement.”

What’s it mean for marketers? Not much, according to Frank Reed at Marketing Pilgrim:

“The delay in the iPhone getting to a wider market allowed the Android ecosystem to evolve to the point where it is real and it’s not going anywhere. Now, it’s just a matter of market share for Apple and the rest of the smartphone makers in the world. … Any true marketing effort is going to need to address both platforms. … If app developers were only enamored with one platform then we would have an issue but that’s not the case. The development community enjoys the openness of Android and that alone is enough to ensure that these two will be platforms will be slugging it out for some time to come.”

The Verizon iPhone 4 will become available February 10 (pre-orders begin a week earlier) and cost $199.99 for the 16GB model and $299.99 for the 32GB model with a new two year customer agreement.

Also, don’t forget the iPhone 5 isn’t too far away. Via Fortune:

“The budget-conscious Verizon customer will likely wait until the iPhone 5 arrives in four months (Apple traditionally releases new phones once a year, in June/July). Verizon doesn’t offer an upgrade path to the iPhone 5 and customers will have to purchase the new phone outright while keeping their current iPhone in the summer. If I were an AT&T customer who wanted to switch to Verizon, I’d likely suck it up until summer if I leave at all. My early termination fee will be slightly more bearable at that point.”

Are you planning to switch to an iPhone? Why or why not? Let us know.

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