Reuters: The iPhone isn’t cool in Asia anymore, people are switching to Android

by: ŠtefanJanuary 27, 2013

iphoneasia Image Credit: C|Net Asia

It’s hard to believe now, but there was once a time when owning an iPhone meant you were a part of the cool crowd. The thing is, people change their minds quite easily. What’s cool today makes you a loser tomorrow. Thanks to the internet and globalization, fads come and go faster than most of us can keep track of them. According to a report published by Reuters, people living in “trend-setting” cities in Asia are now getting bored of the mythical Jesus Phone. Here are two numbers to consider: In January 2012, the iPhone had a 72% market share in Singapore. Today it’s just 50%.

What are people buying instead? Android devices, of course, specifically those from Samsung. The Note II in particular is mentioned a few times because it has a large screen and a large battery. This writer, who is currently traveling through Asia, saw so many people using the Note that he succumbed to temptation and bought one for himself!

So can Apple get their “cool” back? That’s hard to say. Google is getting better at design with each passing day, and Samsung is already excellent at hardware, so … we’re really on the fence with this one.

We’re not going to lie, some of us here at Android Authority own iOS products, and while this might be a blasphemous thing to say, Google tends to show off their best work on Apple’s platform first. The new Gmail app for iOS, the new Google Maps app, Google+, Currents, everything that makes Google special shows up first on iOS, and then on Android. It’s probably got something to do with the fact that everyone in California (read: Google’s home turf) has an iPhone.

But back to the topic at hand, we’re thrilled that more and more people are switching to Android. Let’s welcome these new members of our family with open arms and not hostility. Don’t berate someone for buying X phone versus Y phone, and please don’t tell someone that they’re not “cool” because their handset doesn’t have a custom ROM.

  • RarestName

    Who in the right mind would buy a phone to look cool

    • Andrew Baxendale

      Many, many high schoolers.

      • HellG

        AND girls…..dude just go to a starbux and see the people with macs lol

        • RarestName

          There’s this StarBucks shop near the escalator to the train station and there are really a lot of people using Macs there!

      • Patrick Henry de Dios

        ^ THIS

      • imma freshman in high school and I have an EVO LTE running CM10.1, and I get told, “nice phone man” a few times every day. No excuses for doing something because you think it will make you look good (read being a hipster)

    • MasterMuffin

      In my school every “swag fag” and all the “cool” girls have iPhones… :(

      • RarestName

        who needs phones when you got swag


        • MasterMuffin


          • HellG

            *Shoot balls to save self from misery T_T*

          • MasterMuffin

            29.1.2013 8.09 “Disqus” kirjoitti:

    • many people make purchases based on wants instead of needs. nobody needs a mansion but lots of people have it.

      and for phones, lots of people buy phones because they want to look cool. not really practical or measurable perhaps.

    • Derek

      Probably 90% of consumers.

    • JayMankind

      The fanbois do.

    • On a Clear Day

      It’s not just cool they are buying; it is safe they are buying. All of us want to know that we are buying something that is going to give us good service and value. Initially, in terms of a reliable operating system coupled with really reliable hardware, the iPhone was the first and arguably for a while the best.

      But, alas for iphone and Apple, that was then this is now. In terms of both operating system and hardware what you can get with Android has and continues to outstrip Apple offers – via competing manufacturers and models – people an incredible multiplicity of delightful options that the “one size must fit all, only a new phone when we feel like you need a new model” attitude of the other phone maker who used to be #1, can’t offer.

  • Ivan Budiutama

    Maybe they should make an article “iPhone is popular because it is celebrity and movie star phone not because it is good”

  • mohdamr1

    If I value my hard earned money, I will search and choose my smartphone based on my preferences and needs and observing the wide array of devices from all manufacturers.
    While if I am a shallow person or a teen who takes his money from mom and dad, I will see what my friends have and imitate them blindly to belong to the herd, thus buying the current fad in smartphones.

    • th3d

      But its proven that Android users get laid more, more specifically on the first date. Make sure you dont use lame reasons when buying a phone, for example waving with a RAZR MAXX and bragging about its big battery, bad idea, the girls dont dig that. And whata bigger turnoff than waving a yellow brick called Lumia 920 and start yelling about optical stabilizers and “i can play angry birds with a banana on this”, you would be virgin forever, for sure. Watch those tiles flip on WP8? Thats the door with all the girls leaving.

      • mohdamr1

        yes, and apple users believe that they can’t have a girl with no I phone, how will they make her happy without it ?

      • mimi

        on the contrary, couples should not have any high tech smartphones.

        smartphone is bad for relationship, especially when one love their smartphone more than their partner. :)

        • mohdamr1

          This is getting weird. Can’t apple fans ever respond to a comment without saying weird stuff ? I think apple fans love their smartphones more than their partners, who else can come up with these ideas ?

    • Not really, that is only with the girls; and in any case, I have an EVO LTE and I am a 9th grader, I deeply enjoy arguing with all of my hipster classmates why android>apple.

  • th3d

    Seen this trend in philippines already. And it doesnt show in the high end but rather low end smartphone buyers, with fake phones. I took a round myself in a marketplace for chine made and fake cellphones in a manila suburb, the once numerous fake blackberry units were severly reduced in numbers, and not all the vendors had fake iphones anymore, but fake samsungs were everywhere, obviously the bestseller.

    And in a local shopping mall in a suburb north of metro manila there are like 6-7 vendor stands selling accessories and fake phones, NONE of them have fake iphone, they sell what people want, and that is fake samsung. Now i dont want anyone to think that everyone in philippines buy fake samsungs, of course most buy original samsungs. Galaxy is a big brand name in philippines, people who have galaxy mini will simply say they have a galaxy, galaxy is cool and the most IN you can have.

  • Jack

    Not surprising.

    Samsung has come to represent smart cool, while holding an iPhone makes you look backwards or lame.

    No joke. The other day I was talking to my younger brother’s friends, and even they thought Apple was lame. I guess more people are realizing this now.

    • Although everyone over 40 still likes them, so they will live as long as that generation is

      • Marvin Nakajima

        Well, at least till the ones that don’t have deteriorating vision join the rest of their peers… :P

  • Derek

    I can confirm in Hong Kong I see more Galaxy Note 2s then I do iPhones. They love the big phones in Hong Kong.

    • RarestName


      • Engad

        Trailer park trash comment, lol

      • (anon)

        Yeah, get out of your caravan more.

        • RarestName

          I want a caravan…

      • EddieT

        Asians are smarter.. actually, in general/multinational: it is proven that iphone users are more emotional (they buy on the spur of the moment – more times then any, a person will walk into an Apple store and buy an iphone not even knowing what features it has), and Android users are more logical (they think before they buy -when these type of people test out a new phone they don’t just swipe the screen around.. they ask questions about the phone before deciding they want it.. iphone users ALWAYS just swipe the screen around back and forth on the desktop forever, and never really ask any questions about the phone, the type of technology it has, or it’s functions)..

        • RarestName

          But I don’t do that :)

  • JayMankind

    I didn’t think iPhone was cool – EVER! But Steve Jobs was cool.

  • Hmmm…

    If this trend of android continues, then we shall be seeing iphones in the same perspective as we see nokia now….. it would still be having okay hardware specs as the lumias, but more ppl will be preferring android phones….

  • None of the google apps showed up first on IOS, how can you say that? The new Gmail, Currents, Maps etc…were on Android months before IOS. How do you come up with it being on IOS first? Maybe if you are still running ICS or something but i had the new gmail app back in June and IOS just got Maps about a month ago, that was updated on Android months before that, the sam with currents. The update of currents came out the same time as Android 4.2. Fix your article

    • RarestName

      Chrome update.

  • KenJ

    I’ve been using iPhone for 3-4 years, and switching to android now. Iphone used to be the top choice – especially when first introduced, when android was in its infancy, when here really was nothing else. And, Apple did popularize this type of device.

    But, all that changed! Apple has continued to produce the same design, with the same size and interface for many years, despite the observation that buyers are flocking to larger, “cooler” designs called Androids. In my opinion, they buy these phones not because theyre more customizable, but because they offer the size and user experience that buyers want. And….. Android grew up!

    Samsung marketing is doing a great job convincing folks that their products define “cool”

  • Dear @whatthebit, I didn’t know that this picture was stolen from @cnetasia. (via @longadin)

  • keemokeem

    the Iphone is the perfect phone for the ladies. the ui is is much easier and the smaller screen works with better with there small hands.