Main menu


What Android needs in 2023 to overcome iPhone dominance

featured image

Android fell to second place in the United States ahead of the iPhone for the first time in over a decade. The free and open-source operating system, which still powers the majority of phones around the world, can be found on devices from Samsung, Motorola and OnePlus. Even when combined with budget brands such as TCL, Nokia and Blu, Android-powered handsets cannot outsell the iPhone in the US.

From a global perspective, Apple’s dominance is an outlier. The United States, Canada and Japan are the only countries where Apple has an advantage over Android. Anywhere Else Android driven, usually by a wide margin.

Android’s delay is a testament to the cachet Apple has built around the iPhone franchise. From celebrities photographed in cafes with iPhones in their ears to late-night hosts indulging in repartee with an Apple Watch cuffed to their wrists, Apple products are both functional and fashionable for America’s upper class. And thanks to iMessage, Apple has created a message partition, with the “haves” enjoy the blue bubble gardens and the “have-nots” being relegated to green misery. Shit, even movie villains can’t be filmed with an iphone.

But there are reasons to be optimistic about Android’s attempts to reclaim the crown in the United States. Google is building an ecosystem to surround the Pixel 7including with the introduction of the Pixel Watch. A Pixel tablet is coming next year. And Android has its own rabid fanbase, even if they’re not on a Hollywood set.

So what can Google do to make Android relevant in the US again? Here are a few ways.

Double the community

Google took too long to release the Pixel Watch, leaving the Apple Watch to act as a Trojan horse and keep people locked in Apple’s backyard.

“Apple has such a sticky ecosystem. Especially the watch, once you buy that watch, you’re locked into an iPhone,” said Technical Analyst Avi Greengart. Google didn’t have that until this year. And even then, his first watch is truly a 1.0 product.

Google’s slowness to bring the Pixel Watch to market means the Apple Watch is still far ahead. At least now there’s an option for Pixel owners to keep them from feeling left out.

Apple Watch Ultra and Series 8

Apple Watch Ultra and Apple Watch Series 8.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The US market differs from the rest of the world in that there is much less competition in the Android space. Concerns about Chinese tech companies tracking US consumers essentially made it impossible for brands like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo to operate in the United States. That leaves a handful of brands that can sell alternatives aside from Samsung and Google.

“Having more devices in the market also gives operators more choice on which devices they can give away for free or do more promotions,” said Anshel Sag, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

Lack of manufacturer diversity is just one of the problems Google faces. The iPad lineup remains a popular second-screen device, acting as an internet gateway for toddlers and seniors. Only one high quality Android tablet comes to mind with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, but its software is nowhere near as polished as the iPad OS, often feeling like a big-screen version of Android. Google already has announced a “premium” Pixel tablet for 2023but it will have to really impress to attract the crowd of consumers trained to consider iPads as tablets.

Unfortunately, one area where Google might not be able to offer a viable competitor to Apple is in laptops and home computing. Google Chromebooks are great, affordable laptops for basic tasks, but lack the power and flexibility to deliver the features found with macOS and Windows. It’s a market that has already been carved out by Apple and Microsoft, making it difficult for Google to create a viable alternative. Even if it did, the installed base would be so small that it wouldn’t attract the best developers. Here, Google’s best option is to continue to better integrate its products with Mac and Windows machines to deliver an iPhone- and Mac-like experience.

Matter matters

One area where Google dominates Apple is in the smart home. Cupertino is rarely quick to jump into new product categories, as evidenced by years of rumors surrounding the supposed VR/AR headset and the apple car. Apple tried to make an effort on home devices with HomeKit, but it has been largely forgotten. Google, on the other hand, has a strong presence in the smart home with its voice assistant-assisted displays, such as the Nest Hub, and its Nest WiFi, doorbell and camera products.

Unfortunately, the smart home industry has stagnated with a dizzying array of confusing competing products consumers. Someone who has an Amazon Alexa smart speaker might not know if it will work with their Google Nest doorbell.

Enter Matter, a universal smart home standard that will allow new home devices, regardless of brand, to communicate with each other. Even Apple, the company that loves creating walled gardens, has joined the Connected Standards Alliance, along with Amazon, Google, Samsung, Ikea, Lutron, Signify and others.

“That’s an area where Google could leverage, building more of these controls or just exposing them more in Android,” Greengart said. This includes creating a person’s home page, widgets, and establishing connections between multiple devices. Greengart said it would be up to Google to let people know that smart home interoperability can be best achieved on Android.

Beat Apple at innovation

Google’s product events continue to improve, bringing greater production value and fanfare, but still can’t capture the same magic that Apple did. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company still has that ability to generate excitement for its family of products and services. Exciting rhetoric from executives mixed with high production value can trick a person into thinking that Apple is bringing the latest in technology and innovation, even though that’s not always the case.

Folding Google Pixel

Google Pixel Fold Renders showing different folding angles

Front Page Technology

High-refresh displays, optical image stabilization and laser autofocus, all features that Apple is raving about, came to Android first.

There are, however, consumers who see beyond fancy macro photos and want to be the first to experience new technologies. This is an area that Google should double down on to attract enthusiasts.

ready, Rumors surface about a foldable Pixel deviceone that could compete with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

“I think [Samsung’s] really starting to pick up steam there. And I think it shows, but the problem is the price, isn’t it?” Sag said. If Samsung can continue to lower the price of foldables, it will help increase the popularity of category, which will bring more competition.” As a result, competition probably equates to more sales and more competitive pricing.”

Google has also been heavily advertising Pixel features, such as live is reflected in its 2022 World Cup ad. The Pixel 7 is also the NBA’s official “fan phone” this season, with a commercial with player Giannis Antetokounmpo and actor Simu Liu. Google has also He would have placed the largest order of Pixel 7 devices, more than any previous iteration. Regardless of sales and celebrity endorsements, Google needs to make the Pixel feel premium and exclusive, almost anathema to Android’s fundamental vision as a free, open-source operating system. Because, if Apple’s success is any indication, people like to feel like they’re in the crowd.