Google Android counts include rival Chinese variants

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Hot on the heels of Samsung admitting that it had exaggerated sales of its Android tablet to consumers, it is becoming clear that Google's Android platform definition is being stretched to include Chinese rivals, including China Mobile's Ophone and Tapas OS, a project run by the former president of Google China.



A report by Canalys yesterday claimed that Google Android platform had taken the top spot in global smartphone platforms worldwide, edging in front of Nokia and making up about a third of all smartphones globally.



That fourth quarter figure, collective of all manufacturers using Android in some fashion, is double that of Apple's Q4 iPhone sales, a dramatic reversal of last year, when Apple's sales were twice that of all Android licensees together, according to Canalys.



However, the report's numbers included a footnote saying the "Google numbers" "relate to Android, as well as the OMS and Tapas platform variants."



In reference to these "variants," John Gruber of the Daring Fireball wrote today, "Are things like maps, email, search, and advertising served through Google? Or do they come from Chinese companies? Put another way, are OMS and Tapas variants of Android, or separate platforms forked from Android?"



OMS is not Google Android



OMS is the basis of China Mobile's OPhone platform, which was originally based on Android software but adapted for use on the national providers' proprietary TD-SCDMA mobile network. A year ago, Engadget reported that China Mobile intended to use OMS to host Symbian and Windows Mobile apps, and was preparing support for a cloned copy off Microsoft's Windows Mobile APIs in OMS 2.0.



Over the last year, Microsoft has largely abandoned Windows Mobile to focus on its Silverlight-based (and therefore API incompatible) Windows Phone 7, making such a feature seemingly less valuable. However, China Mobile is largely isolated from competition from other smartphone makers, few of which have jumped to support its unique TD-SCDMA carrier technology. That allows it to take Western technologies and appropriate them as desired, much as the nation has created its own incompatible variants of everything from DVD to WiFi.



Describing the Chinese OMS as a "variant" of Google's Android platform is a troublesome stretch not just because China Mobile lacks any interest in using its forked version to support Google's ad platforms and services. OMS is also tweaked to use its own APIs and support WAP for web browsing. WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) is a mobile website technology that replaced the full Internet for mobile users there but hasn't ever caught on in the US.



China Mobile's OMS is therefore not only "not Google," its also incompatible with Android apps, and apparently more compatible with Windows Mobile. A report by an Asian technology newsletter said China Mobile issues its own SDK for OMS, and boasts around 600 apps for the OPhone. The company claims 430,000 developers for its platform. It invites Android developers to create apps for OMS, but the two are not the same platform in any meaningful sense.



Tapas OS is not Google Android



A parallel effort, named Tapas OS, is also derived from Android but similarly does nothing to benefit Google or other users of the Android platform. Launched by Kai-Fu Lee, the former president of Google China, Tapas is also modified to support Chinese social networks, ebooks, video sites, search and other services that are not connected to Google.



Calling Tapas a version of Android is like calling Baidu a version of Google or Youku a version of YouTube. Like OMS, Tapas is an Android competitor. Speaking of Chinese efforts to replicate Western technologies, Lee said in a Wall Street Journal profile, "American companies often have a technology lead, as Google did. However Baidu evolved and became good enough."



Lee added, "We?re not trying to reinvent the wheel."



Lee announced deals with Sharp, Haier and Tianyu to license Tapas OS for phones aimed at China.



Macro-fragmentation of "Android"



How many of the 33 million "Android" handsets are actually benefitting Google and the users of Android platform (who benefit from a larger installed base for apps only if the installed base is actually made up of compatible devices) was not split out by Canalys. Clearly however, such a disclaimer would not need to have been made if the addition of those Chinese rivals had not been necessary to beat Nokia's Symbian.



It's also curious why OMS was not also counted as a Nokia or Microsoft platform if OPhone can claim API compatibility with those platforms in contrast to its inability to run Android apps, including Google's. Doing so would have had an impact on the 615 percent growth reported for "Android."



Gartner similarly counted blockbuster growth for Android in the third quarter of 2011, but relegated most of this growth into a bucket of "other" manufacturers. The top tier of recognizable Android makers, including HTC, Motorola and Samsung, all of which Google has partnered with to release new versions of Android, have all experienced far more moderate growth in sales numbers (or in the case of Motorola, shrinking sales).







That suggests most the growth in "Android" numbers is coming from no-name vendors selling devices in countries such as China, using devices that don't support Google's development of the OS (via ads or search services) nor even expand the platform in any meaningful way that could benefit Android users.



Samsung, the most noteworthy Android smartphone developer and the only licensee to ship a well-known Android tablet, just reported its weakest profits in six quarters, and was hit by reports that it had overstated the sales of its Galaxy Tab to consumers. A new crop of tablets running Android 3.0 will deliver an entirely new user interface unfamiliar to existing Android smartphone users.



LG, another large Android licensee, recently noted that carriers have complained that the company's portfolio of phones delivered "too much Android."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 105
    daveswdavesw Posts: 406member
    they're Crooks
  • Reply 2 of 105
    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html



    Quote:

    Shipments of Android-based smart phones reached 32.9 million



    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million







    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.
  • Reply 3 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html







    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million







    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.



    Your attempted clever retort would appear to make no sense.



    I don't see whatever it is that you think you see in this chart or the report itself, although the way you've worded it, it's hard to figure out what you are actually asserting here.
  • Reply 4 of 105
    archosarchos Posts: 152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html







    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million



    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.



    So "Android" = Google's OS, and "Google-based OS" is Android-related?



    Yeah, that's really clear. No doubt nothing untoward is being included in these numbers, or Gartners.'



    Canalys says the largest market is the US, which grew by 65%, compared to China, which grew by 134%. So where are these "Android" phones going? China. That's partly why where still isn't any real Android app store, even with more Android phones in the US.



    Tapas/OMS/Android isn't the only fragmentation in play. There's also "real" Android models being sold in China, and plenty being sold on Verizon in the US with links to Bing instead of Google.



    So calling Android a platform, or Google's platform, is now simply false. It's a shared technology portfolio where even half of the active devices hitting the Android Market don't run the same API level OS version, making them incapable of running the latest apps.



    What a mess.
  • Reply 5 of 105
    shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html







    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million







    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.



    You're conflating the Gartner report and the Canalys report, both of which count Android "sales" differently. Canalys lumps a huge "other" in with Android sales (see the chart from Gartner at the bottom of the page.) That was the point of the article, that apparently you missed.
  • Reply 6 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html







    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million







    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.









    The other is Sony and all the other major manufacturers not specifically itemized. Google just got caught in a huge lie. Maybe this is why Schmidt just got canned. He wasn't going to be able to spin his way out of this. Consumers aren't stupid. They are paying a premium with Apple but that premium is the "user experience".



    Apple sells diamonds.

    Google looks the same but they are cubic zirconium.



    They just cater to stupid people who think 'open' technology is better. For the record, I am happy to let Apple dictate what I am allowed to do with my phone as long as they keep innovating and providing me with more usability in the future. Apple sets positive expectations and exceeds them during the initial rollout.



    When I have had a problem, Apple has refunded my money with no questions asked. This company is deserving of all their accolades. Steve Jobs is the most important CEo in the history of the world. Name one other CEo who with his singular vision, built three multi-billion dollar companies?



    Considering the iPad and iphone alone would qualify as two separate entities in the Fortune 500, you could argue that he has built more than 5 multibillion dollar companies. Google is a one trick pony (search). What do you think is going to happen on the future when Apple starts loading an Apple search engine into every Apple device? Google is going to smolder!



    Mark my words. Google is the next Microsoft.. Apple is the next Apple!
  • Reply 7 of 105
    Great news
  • Reply 8 of 105
    Whoo-hoo! The floodgates are open and Apple can start counting Android devices (which are arguably "variants" of Apple's intellectual property) as IOS devices.
  • Reply 9 of 105
    How about we get another 50 comments to mentally abuse the guy/gal who fantasizes Google is 99.9999% of all Android based systems and China is just 0.0001% of them?



    I'm sure they'll really cave by then.
  • Reply 10 of 105
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,752member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    Your attempted clever retort would appear to make no sense.



    I don't see whatever it is that you think you see in this chart or the report itself, although the way you've worded it, it's hard to figure out what you are actually asserting here.



    Shhhhh!!! I think he just considers it a rounding error.



    Does that mean that Oracle licenses can be included in that number since Android stole Oracle code too???



    SHEESH!!! ANDROID IS HUGE!!!!
  • Reply 11 of 105
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by allmypeople View Post


    Great news



    So what do we actually have here



    Lies, dam lies , and statistics



    Tech companies are almost better at spin than Politicians



    Lets think, the ultimate winner is the one that will make the most money right? "Sales statistics" can't hide that can they for long?



    Who is making the most money?



    I'll let you work that one out....
  • Reply 12 of 105
    I think sciwiz's point was that in the text of the article, when they explicitly say "Android", they give a number of 32.9 million. In the chart, where it says "Google", the footnote says that Google includes Android, OMS, and Tapas. Therefore, if you assume that their choice of wording was explicit, then one can deduce that the 33.3 Google number (Android and variants) is a combination of the Android "only" number from the text (32.9 mil) + the variants (the difference between the two). You have to believe that Canalysis was being careful with their terminology.



    Personally I have no faith at all in these companies that spit out these numbers, they are just as bad if not worse than all those "analysts" out there.



    Bottom line is that Apple sells boat loads of iOS systems. iOS users tend not to return these systems. iOS users tend to purchase apps at a significantly higher rate than non iOS users. Apple is committed to continuing to evolve iOS and the devices that use it. If I were a developer, the choice would be pretty obvious. You can never seem to quite tell exactly where any of these Android numbers are coming from.
  • Reply 13 of 105
    .



    Are you ready for the big question?



    Do those so-called Android Smart Phones running the WAP Browser to surf the web support Flash?





  • Reply 14 of 105
    shadashshadash Posts: 470member
    deleted - I was wrong
  • Reply 15 of 105
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    Just more proof that statistics are not always to be trusted. On the other hand, if it's a fork of android I guess it is still android, as long as it supports at least some of the apps. I don't think a device has to have google maps to be called android. If it supports none of the android apps then it is clearly too fragmented to be lumped into android category.



    On a related note, android was a huge help to Chinese phone makers that could take the software modify a bit and have a differentiated product offering. I would presume other manufacturers could use this approach and propriotize android in a way. That would be interesting to see.
  • Reply 16 of 105
    I LOVE the fact that Android gets so much attention at APPLE Insider.
  • Reply 17 of 105
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sciwiz View Post


    Sorry to burst your bubble, DED. The numbers are already in the Canalyis report, if you read it carefully.



    Check the text of the report. http://www.canalys.com/pr/2011/r2011013.html







    Also, see the number in the image, 33.3 million







    So, with a little math: 33.3 - 32.9 miilion = 400,000 Chinese variants.



    The numbers both from you and DED are off kilter. he's using the 3rd quarter numbers, while you're using the 4th quarter numbers. The two are incompatible.



    I don't know what the. 32.9 million you're using is representing. They just seem to have used two different numbers for the same thing, a typo. I've seen that before in reports.



    But both companies have their own proprietary ways of estimating these numbers, so they can't be directly compared even in the same quarter.



    I don't understand how DED is figuring out the Chinese numbers, and it isn't explained in the article. As usual, it's probably somewhere in the middle of what we think. The bottom chart, of course, is for ALL phones shipped, smart phones, feature phones, and simple phones. We can't separate out what is what from the "other" number, and a guess is still just a guess.
  • Reply 18 of 105
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dualaub2006 View Post


    I LOVE the fact that Android gets so much attention at APPLE Insider.



    Amazing, isn't it? It's just like the way the iPhone gets attention at Android focused sites.
  • Reply 19 of 105
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Hot on the heels of Samsung admitting that it had exaggerated sales of its Android tablet to consumers



    People would take your article more seriously if you didn't start it with an outright lie. Samsung did no such thing and in fact every major news organization thst posted such are posting retractions as the "quite small" was proven wrong. So the 2 millions of Galaxy Tabs sold is actually as correct as Apple's numbers as they both report numbers of tablets shipped to stores not tablets sold to customers. In fact since Apple said that inventory grew by 525,000 iPads for the quarter and they have 4-6 weeks of iPad inventory, then that would mean that Apple actually sold between 2.5 million and 3.7 million iPads less than they reported as being shipped to stores. So in fact, the news that the Apple friendly media has not reported yet is the dismal showing of the iPad and the fact that iPad inventory is running at record high.
  • Reply 20 of 105
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,983member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bitWrangler View Post


    I think sciwiz's point was that in the text of the article, when they explicitly say "Android", they give a number of 32.9 million. In the chart, where it says "Google", the footnote says that Google includes Android, OMS, and Tapas. Therefore, if you assume that their choice of wording was explicit, then one can deduce that the 33.3 Google number (Android and variants) is a combination of the Android "only" number from the text (32.9 mil) + the variants (the difference between the two). You have to believe that Canalysis was being careful with their terminology.



    Personally I have no faith at all in these companies that spit out these numbers, they are just as bad if not worse than all those "analysts" out there.



    I'm not so sure the numbers mean that. It's more likely a typo.
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