Is Android just for poor people?

by: Simon HillJanuary 24, 2013



I guess you might expect more than a one word article? Fair enough, it is a bit more complicated. Let’s take a closer look.

The argument about Android being popular because it’s cheap instead of because it’s good has been around for years, but it just got reignited over at Gizmodo. It’s classic bait for a bit of Android bashing from the Apple-loving wannabe elite. Fair enough, that’s part of the fun of the mobile tech world right now. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of a heated debate and until the Android army and the cult of Apple are killing each other on the streets, where’s the harm?

There are lots of different ways to measure success in the smartphone market. Given the choice, Google will talk about market share for Android while Apple talks about profit for iOS. The truth is that both platforms are incredibly successful. The vast majority of people in the world who go shopping for a new smartphone want to buy an Android or an iPhone.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Statistics for November 2012 in the U.S. released by comScore show that 53.7 percent of smartphone subscribers had an Android and 35 percent had an iPhone. We know that Android is growing more popular. IDC revealed a 75 percent share of all smartphones shipped worldwide in Q3 2012. We also know that Android is comparatively more popular outside the states, the platform accounted for 90.1 percent of Q3 2012 shipments in China, for example.


You can always cut statistics the way you want to make a point. Market share of devices shipping during a single quarter doesn’t equate to market share of all devices sold. We also have to remember that the whole market is growing all the time. IDC reported 45.3 percent year-over-year growth in 2012. That’s the reason why RIM could continue to add BlackBerry subscribers despite having a dwindling market share. Their piece of the pie was shrinking, but the pie was growing bigger all the time.

Show me the money

In traditional self-congratulatory form in Apple’s earnings call yesterday we heard Apple CEO, Tim Cook, boasting about selling ten devices per second last quarter. The company made a record quarterly profit of $13.1 billion and sold almost 50 million iPhones. Estimates vary, but it’s generally agreed that Apple extracts the lion’s share of profits from the smartphone industry despite not having a dominant market share. Cannacord Genuity estimates around 59 percent of the profits in the smartphone market go to Apple.

Apple makes more from selling the iPhone alone than Google makes from everything it does. A fairer comparison would be Samsung. According to Cannacord Genuity they account for 47 percent of the total smartphone industry profits. The fact you get 106 percent when you add them together shows off the losses that everyone else is making.


Making money is what Apple does. That extends into more money being spent on the app ecosystem surrounding iOS. Developers make more on average with iOS releases than they do with Android. Owners of iPhones buy more apps and games and they pay more. According to App Annie Intelligence iOS monthly revenues are four times Google Play revenues, although it concedes that Google Play is growing faster and earnings are on the rise.

Exclusive versus inclusive

There’s no denying that one of the main reasons that Android has accumulated such a large market share is because there are more devices on offer at more price points. What’s a little difficult to swallow is the idea that this is a negative thing. It says a lot about certain Apple fans and their delusions of elitism that they are proud that poor people can’t afford the phone they have.

The fact that Android is affordable and has allowed the smartphone revolution to spread to people with less disposable cash is a good thing. This idea that Apple products are exclusive is just clever marketing. So you own an iPhone? Well done, but you do realize that Apple sold 47.8 million of them in the last three months right? You’re not special because you own an iPhone.

It’s not enough to be cheap anyway, you have to be good as well. Just ask Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry 7 and the rest of the also-rans.

Budget to high-end

The entire argument is disingenuous because Android has no real competition at the budget end of the market. Of course it’s going to sell more low cost smartphones. Apple doesn’t sell any.

It’s also pretty clear that Android isn’t just for poor people because there are lots of high-end Android devices that cost just as much as the iPhone does. Over the last few months the Galaxy S3 has outsold the iPhone in some countries. The Galaxy S3 beat the iPhone 4S in Q3 2012 to become the best-selling smartphone worldwide.


People splashing out on the Galaxy Note 2, the HTC Droid DNA, or waiting for the Sony Xperia Z or the Galaxy S4 right now are choosing those devices over the iPhone. They aren’t choosing Android because they can’t afford an iPhone. If the forthcoming Galaxy S4 can repeat the S3’s form against the iPhone 4S and outsell the iPhone 5 then the entire argument collapses.

Why do rich people choose Android?

It’s natural for American tech journalists to write about the market as though the U.S. smartphone market is the world, but what they miss when they do that is the American bias towards Apple. Look at the stats elsewhere in the world and you’ll consistently see the iPhone being outsold by high-end Android devices.

There’s definitely resentment in some quarters towards any company that’s raking in Apple’s level of profits in the current financial climate. How is Apple able to generate such gigantic profits? It’s not that Android is cheap, but that it represents greater value for money. There isn’t a large premium attached for the brand, like there is with Apple.


Apple grew popular because it offered innovative alternatives to the status quo. At launch iOS was a breath of fresh air compared to the lazy incumbents. The iPhone, the iPod, and the iPad were all awesome when they were released and had no real competition. Success leads to stagnation, the hunger is gone, you become what you hate, and shareholders get used to rocketing value and refuse to admit that that kind of growth is unsustainable in the long term.

The innovation isn’t coming from Apple anymore. The open nature of Android encourages innovation from competing manufacturers and it doesn’t need meteoric profit margins to succeed. Of course Android isn’t just for poor people. Android is for everyone.

  • Common sense and logical arguments versus ill-conceived Apple propaganda? Love it.

    • DeadSOL

      Naaaaah. How can common sense combined with facts even compare with crApple’s arguments?

      Everyone, get your lawyers ready!

    • rally1237


    • found this image on G+ , replace mac with iPhone or Apple.

    • PeterBlood

      Sure. it isn’t disingenuous propaganda if it’s about Android, only Apple. Go soak your head. And it’s a different day in 2015 as Samsung falters on the high end and Android switchers come by the millions to iPhone 6s & 6s Plus. So long losers!

  • Dembow

    I love Android because it = POWER TO THE POOR!!! Great smartphones and a great price!

    • On a Clear Day

      Actually Dembow it is more accurate say re Android – Power to the discriminating buying.

      If we look around us – especially in the U. S. – you see countless people with iPhones. Why do they have them? Not because I dare say “they are in love with Apple products” as Tim Cook would have us believe, but rather because they are too ingenuous and un-circumspect to use their “little gray cells” and really think through what they are buying and whether it is as good as Apple’s press tells them it is.

      A business model that is more or less built now on hype with ever less innovative and creative offerings to actually honestly pin it on can’t continue.

      Pretty soon the light is going to come on; the iPhone addicts are already starting to hear the Android war drums beating and getting closer and closer and even the most blind followers will eventually realize that they’ve been buying and buying into a smoke and mirrors proposition.

      Did you notice how while he was touting how many iPhones per second Apple sold, Tim Cook neglected to mention how Apple’s stock has fallen around $200.00 a share to $500.00 and that Apple’s market cap is now $470 billion, down from $626 billion; 27 percent less than it was at its height, when the stock was $702.00 a share. Apparently, the smart money isn’t as dumb as the people buying iPhones.

      Source Barrons:

      When Apple won the California case due to the chicanery of the lead juror and the biased ways of California courts toward corporations, they may have won the that battle but the market place – the stock market – recognized that they have lost the war and is getting out while the getting is good.

      • rally1237


        • Kris Hudson-Lee

          You aren’t exactly creating a good case for Apple fans here, dude.

          Trolling, shouting and illiteracy? Is that what comes with Apple fanboyism?

          • rally1237

            hey i was just reading the comment thats all and i just wrote a comment about that comment sheesh :(

      • Well I’m glad you taught me that I don’t actually like my iPhone. I never suspected that I was a robot. Thanks!

  • ANYONE that thinks that android is for “poor” people should be raped by chuck norris.
    i own 4 android phones and one High end Gaming PC with quad crossfire 7970.

    One of mu mates owns just a iphone 5, no gaming PC, a shitty Xbox and a small apartment.

    android is a preference, i choose it, i could of got a crappy iphone but, in my mind they suck!!! and are for stuck up little shits that just want a silver apple! It’s like choosing between a merc and a lambo or a Mac & gaming PC. Only the ifags think that android is for “poor” people. Sure there is alot of dumb android phones out there (-100 bucks) but there are android phones that cost more than a iphone! if you slapped a Apple logo on a android phone (HTC for example) those things would sell like crazy!
    Iphone users are just buying a LOGO, and they brag about it and pick on people that use a s3, cos they think android is for “poor” people. dumbfucks apple really did brainwash them.

    • oooo wow, you have a high end gaming computer. You must be rich.

    • RarestName

      Well, you just called me “stuck up a little shit that just wants a silver apple”. What did I do to you?

      • spatstl777

        It’s fairly easy to argue against the hypocritical argument, you’re not responding to rhe article. I have a friend who has an iphone 5 because they’re galaxy s2 was destroyed by an imac. Now they’re really an apple fanboy saying all pcs are shit and waving the auminium of their iphone in my face because I have an s3. Of all things the material is my least concern.

        • RarestName

          Like I said, they’re the black sheep of the Apple community, just like how Fandroids are the black sheep of the Android community. Cheers!

      • mimi

        I don’t argue your opinions, but there’s one bothering me:
        “iOS is one of the most secure and stable mobile operating system to date”

        uhh, no it’s not. Blackberry OS is the most secure. Symbian is the most stable, and the most mature. I’ve used both before moving to Android.

        • RarestName

          That’s because “one of the most secure” != “the most secure”

        • Kris Hudson-Lee

          Agreed. Symbian is incredibly stable, although Ubuntu is good and AmigaDOS is a close third. I would say Android is stable though, because, whilst rogue tasks occasionally crash, the OS handles them and controls them well.

      • CyBrix_21

        Oh… iPhone and Xbox are not for poor people, they are expensive. And some of my observation says that some people want to buy the iPhone because it is iPhone, it is for rich and it is Apple, it is smooth and whatsoever…

        • RarestName

          I got it because my first smartphone was a 3GS, and it’s just easier to transition from iOS to iOS. Other than customising my phone, I see no real difference by switching to Android because to me, it’s just a phone.

          I also happen to prefer it because it is smoother for me. But some people get so worked up over my comment by ranting about how I will benefit better by switching over.

          Your observations are true though. Some people do happen to think that way, but it also happens for all operating systems.

          • CyBrix_21

            You’re right… The transition from iOS to iOS is easier, especially when you get accustomed to it…

        • Mysterydude

          Xbox starts at $200. High end gaming computer starts at $2000. So yeah, I think the Xbox is cheap.

    • mike

      George no… Just no.

    • YoMo

      Couldn’t you spend some of your “riches” on English / grammar lessons? ;)

  • Reginald Spence II

    There have been times when I remotely considered getting an iPhone. Thing is, I always think about how locked down it is, even after jailbreaking. There simply is no comparison to the options and customization you can do with Android. And it’s only getting better. I don’t dislike Apple products. I use whatever suits me and that will make me the happiest. I don’t see the value in paying Apple Tax for a pretty device with 5 rows of icons on every screen.

    The power of choice.

    • Previously, I would have said that users whom were willing to jailbreak their iPhone, had a large range of customization to chose from, via Cydia, although still along way from the ability to completely modify Android devices via new kernels and ROMS, but still sufficient to keep most non-power users happy.

      However the new DCMA laws which prohibit jailbreaking for iPads and possibly iPhones in the future, mean Android will be the only legal platform for people to express themselves via their mobile devices, which is a shame, and most of all a shitty law.

      • Reginald Spence II

        “the ability to completely modify Android devices via new kernels and ROMS”

        I should have specified. But yeah, as a tech geek, custom ROMs and kernels are my thing. If there was ability to take the sleek, beautiful and well built Apple hardware and run custom ROMs on that, I’d pay up in a heart beat!

        And as for these new DMCA laws, they need to be taken into the alley and shot execution style…

      • rally1237

        Awww! WHY ANDROID?! Apple, Windows Phone 7 / Window Phone,Nokia Lumia,Samsung and Microsoft all five AMAZING better than Android no offence Android fans Apple,Windows,Nokia,Samsung and Microsoft ATTACK ANDROID!

        • Bless you, they let you out the lunatic asylum for a day trip, and in between chasing ducks and trying to eats the clouds, you found a computer, upon which you gave us this charming post. Well done, you’re a brave and special person, one day they may even allow you to stop wearing Pampers.

          • rally1237

            :( what?

        • tedpc01

          Now you are supposed to take your Lithium and Prozac AS DESCRIBED!!!! Stop skipping doses, it’s noticeable.

          • rally1237

            8I lol i didnt take doses

    • rally1237

      You like Android more than Apple? If you do Tell me why and by the way WHY?! and IMA FIRIN MAH LAZER! Sorry it’s just that i like Apple more than Android

  • Don’t give that douche from Gizmondo any oxygen, it’s their typical click-bait article. The guy states that he is a biased fanboy, so he is clearly ignorant and incapable of an objective measurement of the 2 platforms respective merits.

    The thing that really disgusted me, was the use of a homeless person on his article, this crass and inhumane objectification of a human being, whom is down on their luck is disgusting. For all the OP knows that person could be a former soldier who served their country against folk who would behead effeminate individuals like Mr Sam Biddle in an instance, if he wasn’t protected by the laws and sacrifices of more honorable people.

    Also as a third-rate hack from an internet site, are we to believe that Mr Biddle is in receipt of a large salary, of course the twot, could be a trust-fund bitch, but that is little to crow about.

    Lastly there was a unpleasant undertone to his commentary that Android phones have recently targeted African-American people in their ad campaigns, as if it somehow iPhone users are purer and superior with ‘creamy’ hands, his words I shit ye not.

    • tedpc01

      You hit a lot of the stereotypes in the article.

  • williamworld

    My comment is a big picture view – which means I may stray “a little”.

    The argument always seem to revolve around Android vs. iOS just so that an argument – ANY argument – can be generated. I DON’T CARE! My concern is what ANY platform can do for ME.

    When I was just getting into smartphones, I chose the iPhone 3GS. I loved it and it did what I wanted, and I learned from it. I eventually “became smarter” than it and outgrew it (even after jailbreaking). Also, in the 3+ years I had it, I never paid for a single app. Of course, like most North Americans, its cost was subsidized via my SP’s contract.

    When I needed a new phone in November last year, I got an Android. Mind you, it was the then 1-year old Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Now, I REALLY love that device! Just like my Windows computers, it allows me to do WHAT I WANT WITH MY DEVICE. It was no cheaper than the iP4S my SP was offering ($600, or similarly-priced iP5 or latest Samsung/HTC I could have also gotten), but of course I got it subsidized on contract, just like all those other phones would have been. (Renewing via contract is MY choice – even though its an unlocked device.) Also, in the less than-two-months I’ve had my Android, I’ve already BOUGHT 3 apps – and counting. Am I a “rich” Android user? No; I simply see more value in this platform in my future. (Truth be told, I never liked the Apple ecosystem. I love the way I can simply copy music or files to my Android device – without that dreaded iTunes!)

    It all comes down to the geniuses in the Marketing departments; and I mean that sincerely. Alike juggernaut Microsoft, Apple pushes its products and their simple-to-use mantra very, very well. Android devices are ALSO simple to use, BUT, you can then manipulate it to do some fantastic things. The Android marketers seem to focus on how complicated it can be. Hmmm…..

    Android is inherently cheaper because it’s open source, which also means it’s more susceptible to “harm” (think of a Wikipedia equivalent); back to marketing here. Apple’s products DO NOT have to be that expensive, BUT, they have marketed their products in such a manner (read higher end) that it will continue to be more expensive. What I am really interested in is what direction they’ll be taking seeing that their value is now getting hammered, because lets face it, it’s not just the younger generation buying into the innovation of Android, but the now-experienced smartphone-using older generation.

    Like I said before, Hmmm…..

    • Aser

      Thank you so much. The most unbiased comment I’ve seen in a while. Good points on both iOS and Android.

      • williamworlde


  • Gabriel Lerma

    You completely misread Giz’s article.

  • carlisimo

    As for this article… I dunno, it felt weak and off-topic. There aren’t really that many iOS fans claiming that Android fans are poor and worse for it, let alone feeling proud that everyone else can’t afford an iPhone. I’m sure there are some, but if we start treating each other according to the other side’s craziest elements, well, that’s how we’ve ended up in this ridiculous hatefest that I’m so sick of. Besides, with that many iPhone owners around, not only do they lose any claim to exclusivity, they’re also too big a group to stereotype.

    Anyway, about half of the article was on the money: Android has expensive phones too, and people are choosing to buy them for various reasons. (But let’s not forget that it’s entirely possible to look at Android’s advantages and decide they’re not what you want in a phone.) Unsubsidized, current-model iPhones start at $650, and so do a number of Android phones. Besides screen size, it’s hard to argue that you get more if you go either route; they’re about even in value proposition, unless you’re talking about devices that are funded by alternate means like Google’s and Amazon’s. (I’m one of those people for whom the ideal phone would run Android, but on the iPhone5’s hardware.)

    The rest of the essay seemed to be, “Apple fans are mean,” and, “The lamestream media in the US is biased.” C’mon, guys, listen to yourselves…

    Incidentally, this means it’s time for us to stop using the argument that the iPhone is more expensive than Android phones. It isn’t more expensive than the Android phones that most of us enthusiasts actually end up buying. In the mid-range, Apple sells its old models anyway. I know plenty of people who are far from wealthy, and have an iPhone3GS because it was a decent compromise between price and what they wanted.

  • paytonjr

    Great piece!

  • Man, this is getting ridiculous.

    Technology is a tool. It is what you make of it, not how much you spend on it. Apple is selling and profiting like crazy. As a fellow businessmen, I envy what they’re doing. But both iOS and Android as a technological tool, they both have their own merit.

    Android’s affordability is actually an edge. And people often forgets that on entry level phone there are still viable competitors from Chinese handset makers (MTK handsets) and Nokia. But people choose Android not just because they’re cheap, but because they’re GOOD also.

    Seriously, if price is your only benchmark for technology, then you sir/maam are shallow.

  • yahoo

    Rise to new heights and sore to new possibilities. Android provides endless options under one device that iphone can’t mount up. My use on only increase when i got my Galaxy Note 2. Dave Sanders

  • whoknowswhereor

    Apple can pay me $500 to use ip5 and I still would pick my Note 2…. I also own an ip3 btw, but thats as far as I go with apple. don’t even get me started with osx…

    • hackintosh777

      Agree 100%. However, I just thought of a better idea.

      Apple pays me $500 to use iCrap 5. Using high resale value I make $1000 in total, half from apple and half from selling the 5. Now I buy the Republic Moto X for $300 and use the other $700 to upgrade my lappy with a huge SSD and 16GB of RAM.

      Bottom line – I HATE APPLE, and the sh!tty DRM’s they do.

  • josh

    iphones are for cocksuckers!

  • Pacific_Kris

    its first time that read less of fandroid & crapper sh*t and more of the love for tech in comment side…….

  • Tralalajka

    I don’t know that, but I definitely know that crapple is only for stupid people.

  • I see dumb people with Android phones too! Most of them own the older ones, though. Both sides are ignorant, really, they are. Here are some actually QUOTES I’ve heard people say.
    “I bought the Apple 5 cuz it has safe internet,” said one consumer
    “I bought the Galaxy 4 cuz it has a bigger screen than the Apple 5,”
    “I got that iPhone yo!”
    “Your poor ass with that Android S*it”
    “My brother got that Apple 5”
    Me: “How do you find maps?”
    Her: “I think it’s in places?”
    **Phone crashes maps
    Her: “I want the Apple 5”
    Girl that I interviewed for article: “I want the Apple 5 cuz it’s cool”
    “I don’t even know what an S3 is”
    “I got that galaxy join”
    “Dickheaed, you ain’t got that Apple 5 or the Galaxy”
    “That phone [Android] is a**”

  • th3d

    For me it looks like iphone is for the poor. Paying $199 for an iphone 5 on a 24 month contract, how is that expensive? I paid $749 for my Note 2, and after having it for 5 to 6 months i be paying more than $800 for an Xperia Z in Feb-March. Does it sound like i cannot afford a $199 iphone? I use Android because it is a superior OS on superior hardware.

    If i was poor then i would already have an iphone 5 on a 2 year contract, thanx God i am not that poor to buy a sim locked phone, and statistics clearly show that iphones are not bought unlocked, it is by far the phone bought most on contract. Why? Of course it is because iphone users cannot afford unlocked phones, its not like anyone WANT a sim locked phone, right? Apple fans, if you have so much money, show me your unlocked units??? No? Just swallowed a live stinky camel did we, as quietly as we could? Not me, i have my 4 to 5 high end unlocked Android phones in your contract period of 24 months with your “expensive” iphone 5. And by the way, enjoy your food coupons.

    • th3d

      And about the jailbreak, where are the jailbroken iOS 6 units?
      Imagine that iphone users are so desperate that they start talking about
      iphone3 to prove that they can have unlocked phones. What is a iphone3
      worth today? It has the same display resolution as Xperia Tipo. Who is talking about unlocked Xperia Tipo here?? Wheres the reality check for iphone owners claiming that Android is for the poor? Tipo never was a competitor to SGS3 and Note2, HOX and HOX+, get real please, iOS 6 remains unbroken.

  • Gerard Hampton

    This will all be invalid when apple release their cheaper iphone. the only elitism they will have will be with other iphone users. ie oh you only have the iphone cheap version ppfft i have the one with slightly higher specs that cost 3 times as much. i am god.

  • William

    While I’ve owned a few Apple products, and I currently have a ipad mini. They’re all good, but I don’t get the “WOW, THIS _______ROCKS!” effect from Apple products.

  • Michael Berry

    Is this headline just for stupid people?

  • Leo Vu

    ofcourse not, Android is for smart ppls :)

  • FrillArtist

    Click bait article.

  • voxnulla

    Not just poor people, also for people with no taste or a irrational hatred towards fruit.

  • VN

    I drive a Mercedes I have a beautiful house and spend money on holidays and good things in life. I have an android phone but there is this guy who lives in a flat drives a beat up Ford and acts like owing a iPhone makes him better than everyone else including me. That’s fanboys for you.

  • Gogard

    Iphone is the Rolex of phones. Android phones are the Timex of phones.