∞ The truth about Android vs. iPhone market share

There is an endless stream of reports coming out these days about how Android stacks up against the iPhone. The problem is, most of them are flawed.

[ad#Google Adsense 300×250 in story]Here is the first giant flaw — you may have noticed in the headline of this story. You cannot compare Android to an iPhone. That’s comparing an operating system to a hardware device.

There is no compelling argument that anyone can give that says that comparing an operating system to a hardware device makes sense. None.

We don’t see reports of Windows 7 being compared to a Dell computer and then making assumptions about market share based on their sales. Why? Because, that would be stupid.

That would be like comparing one model of Mercedes against all cars that GM makes and saying the Mercedes is losing. It just doesn’t make any sense.

You can’t have it both ways. You either have to compare hardware devices or operating systems, you can’t mix and match.

There are currently six manufacturers — Dell, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, and Samsung — making 42 smartphones using the Android operating system.

So how does the iPhone stack up against one of these phones? Let’s take a look at the Motorola Droid.

Motorola says it shipped 13.7 million smartphones in 2010. The company didn’t specify Droids, but we’ll count them all anyway.

In comparison, Apple shipped 47.49 million in 2010, outpacing Motorola by more than three times.

Now, let’s take a look at the operating systems in the U.S. According to reports released this month by comScore, if you factor in all of the devices that use iOS including iPhones, iPads and iPod touches, Apple reached 37.9 million people. Android, according to the data, reached 23.8 million on phones and tablets.

That’s a 59 percent lead for iOS over Android.

In Europe, Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPads have a combined installed base of 28.9 million users. Android’s user base is at 13.4 million users. That number includes phones and connected media devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

That gives Apple a 12.4 percent share of the market and a 116 percent lead over its Android counterpart. Google has 5.7 percent share of the market.

That is the truth.