I’m sorry if I sound like an Android cheerleader. I love Android phones, but have an iPod Touch and an iPad 2, so I live in both camps. What is frustrating is Android, for all its success, gets pretty unfairly criticized by even tech circles. Take the most recent example of allegedly low sales for the Motorola Xoom, the premiere Android tablet.
The Xoom sold an estimated 100,000 units, a spec compared to the millions of iPad 2 sales over the approximately sale timespan. But you don’t judge success against the blockbuster. The iPad is the Avatar blockbuster compared to the the Tourist’s healthy box office.
The same comparisons of Android phones get made to the iPhone. No single Android phone will match Apple sales 1 to 1. Android hardware competes with dozens of hardware makers for carrier and shelf space. Apple has a focused process which works very well for them. It would be like saying the Macbook Air outsells every Windows laptop and thinking this somehow says every Windows laptop is a failure.
Also note that for most of this sales period, there was only one version of the Xoom compared to 6 different iPads. Yes, I’m sure the top of the line iPad sold more than the Xoom, but those numbers would likely be more comparable than all iPad versions.
Let’s do some math. The Xoom, retailing for $800, sold 100,000 units. That means Motorola made $80,000,000 in about a month. Even for a large company like Motorola, that is some respectable revenue. It’s very possible Motorola expected higher sales. But can we please stop calling Android hardware a failure? Let’s remember how unremarkable the first Android phone, the G1, was. And yet now the total of Android phones are outselling iPhones. This is a marathon.