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August 23, 2016


Abdul Muis


I wonder if the dumb phone number is also down?


Telmo Pimentel Mota

If Others Units is bigger than Rank #1 (99.9 > 77.3), why not have a bigger list?
Top 15? Top 20?..

Wayne Brady

With the low price of smartphones, is there really a reason to treat smartphones as a separate category. When a dumb phone user buys a smartphone NOW...what changes? They aren't able to afford data plans. They don't use their phones to buy apps or music. They just keep on using their phone like they always have. This wasn't true at the beginning of the smartphone era.

I don't understand this fixation on smartphones needing to look radically different year after year. My iPhone 6S looks like a 6. But it has an upgraded camera, new better, faster, more battery efficient processor, and 3D Touch (or force touch). If the new iPhone looks the same....but has an even better camera, an even better CPU.....why wouldn't I want one (not that I buy new ones every year). But if I had a 6, it's two years old, the "same looking 7" would have a two years newer and improved CPU, two years newer and improved camera, the new and faster Touch ID, and 3D Touch (which the iPhone 6 owner doesn't have).

Yes, the iPhone 6 is a great phone still and many people will see no need to upgrade, But I'm not so sure the LOOK of the phone would drive massive sales more than the PERFORMANCE of the phone.

Look at the rave reviews of the Note 7. It's the same phone as the Galax 7 only with a pen. Everyone is raving but the Notes USED to be new and better internals as well as the pen.

John A

Saw a new deal with Microsoft/Lenovo just now. To put some pre-installed Windows apps in their Android phones.

So I suppose that is Nadellas new strategy in mobiles. I doubt Microsoft will put a lot of effort in Windows 10 Mobile at this point.



> They don't use their phones to buy apps or music.

As Tomi has shown here, the app industry is like a casino industry. Therefore many of the apps out there are free anyway so there is no real need in many cases to buy apps for smartphones. There are plenty of good and free apps for smartphones anyway.

Regarding buying music in many countries out there there is no real need to buy music either (for example, many known music bands in South Sudan or Kosovo are not selling their music in Apple store or any other "cloud" music store).



The data plans in countries where a $50 phone is still very expensive for the average buyer are cheap. A $50 phone buyer in Africa can easily afford a local data plan because they are not $50 a month like in the USA

Wayne Brady

On "free" apps. You still need a data pipe...and "free" is only "free with ads" or in app purchases. There has to be a monetizing benefit to the developer aps. And it's true that a minority of the customers buy most of the in-app purchases. But if we imagine (and it's only in our imaginations) that these billions of the poorest people come online and use free apps...that's TERRIBLE for the Android developer. Over load their servers with freeloading customers that provide no revenue either as targets for ads or via in app purchases.

But we don't need to wait for the future to find this out. Right now, with 5 times the users, Android only has double the downloads. Already we know that Apple pays TWICE the amount to developers with 1/5th the install base. What growth there is in Android (and right now there is contraction) going to come from even poorer customers than they already have.

Android has plenty of customers with money. It's jus they ALREADY have those customers. The growth is coming from the bottom. These users are not going to be any different with smartphones than dumbphones. And if you imagine they all get data plans....then that's WORSE for Android as they'll use the services but not contribute revenue.

Dumbphones are music phones too. There isn't going to be a material difference.

Yes, it's a rough environment for Apple. But, as we see, it's a much rougher environment for everyone. Apple customers are going to hold onto their phones longer. Guess who else's are? Everybody else's. And of those who will want the latest, just because they can afford it....guess who has MOST of those customers? Apple.

Wayne Brady

@John A -- the fate of Win10 on mobile is indeed questionable...but not for the reason you state, unless you equally think Msft is giving up on Windows for the desktop. Msft is coming out with Sql Server for Linux and just open source PowerShell with versions for linux and the Mac.

What we are seeing with Nadella is the end of "windows windows windows". They are "cloud first, mobile first" and are doing everything they can to develop and promote Msft apps/software and services on all the relevant platforms: windows, linux, iOS and Android.

We are still waiting on the "Surface Phone", but it's looking bleaker all the time.

Abdul Muis


I've write many times here, pointing the error of your math, but it seems to you that repeating the same hogwash over and over again is more important than seeing the whole big picture.

1. about apps income. -- If you wanna talk about PAID apps.
1a. Google is NOT monopoly. There were many 'small' android app store in the world. For example, in China, most (99+%?) use local android app store. In rusia, local android store, Yandex, is also 'popular'. In USA, Amazon also have App store for Android. These are just 3 example that I list here.
1b. Samsung also have their own app store. And in many country beside USA, Samsung were promoting their app store quite heavy. i.e. If you buy samsung phone, you can download some paid apps for free, or get certain amount of IAP for certain game free.

2. USA is one of the country that have VERY EXPENSIVE data. In other part of the world, 1GB only cost around $1 or even less. And, these carrier were MAKING MONEY with that low price. Here I gave you an example of Carrier in Indonesia. NOT THE CHEAPEST in the world, but cheap and also not bad.
2a. XL-Axiata (
2a.a. 59ribu (59K rupiah = US$4.46) you got 2GB if you use 2G/3G phone, but you get 2GB + 10GB if you use 4G phone (12GB + 50 minute phone call for US$ 4.46/month).
2a.b. 89ribu (89K rupiah = US$6.73) you got 4GB (2G/3G) + 15GB (4G) + 75 minute phone call.
2a.c. --- and so on (look at
2b. Ooreedo (
2b.a. 59ribu (59K rupiah = US$4.46) you got 4GB if you use 2G/3G phone, but you get 4GB + 10GB if you use 4G phone (14GB + free unlimited spotify usage for US$ 4.46/month).
2b.b. --- and so on (look at the link above)
And BTW, the speed of these service is GOOD ENOUGH. 3G stable at around 2MBps-8MBps, with average around 3MBps, and 4G speed is well beyond 10MBps.

3. In other part of the world, the government have lots of initiative to put WiFi in public space. Such as in India, Google were coorporating with the India railroad to put free wifi in the railway station. In HK, if you go to VICTORIA, there were FREE PUBLIC WIFI. and this is very common. There were lots of Internet goes to Village program in many country to close the information gap.

4. One of the motivation of dumb phone user to change to smartphone is to SAVE PHONE BILL. i.e. using OTT service such as WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, HangOut, Skype, etc. You can't use the USA rates to determine that people in poor country can't afford it. What you're doing is like saying the apartment in New York cost US$ 500K, therefore people in Africa can't have apartment/house.

Abdul Muis

*I mean Victoria park in HK.

John A

@Wayne Brady
I think the whole Universal App or UWP app concept are in danger to. I think they make most sense in devices with screen sizes around 4,5" to around 8" inch displays.

But even the Windows 8,1 and 10 tablets with 7" and 8" inch are basicly gone from the markets, with the Windows smartphones.

If you using a Windows device from 10" and up to around 27" inch displays you probably just using the webb browser in the "old fashion way" in any case and dont care much about the Windows app store. So I wonder what developer will care to create UWP apps if no small tablets or phones with Windows?

So I think even for the desktop Microsoft will have problem in the future. Especially when Android apps will be running in ChromeOS.

So it will be interesting to see how Nadella will deal with it.

Abdul Muis

Samsung launched another Tizen Phone.

Wayne Brady

Produce the numbers then. App Annie is a good source. EVERY source so far touts that iOS is where the money is at....even though Android has FIVE TIMES the user base already.

How else would iOS even exist today if there was anything close to user-value-parity between the two ecosystems? 5 times the users should mean 5 times the revenue (if not more due to network effects). We should have long ago seen the time come to pass when iOS was a forgotten item on developer's priorities with it's "tiny market share".

That there are more app stores says nothing about whether huge, massive revenue is being generated from them....and that's would would be needed to change the value story of Android.

Abdul Muis


App Annie is only say that FOR PAID APPS, Apple's app store yielding more $$$ compared to Google's Android App store. It doesn't say count the other app store for Android!!

Since you seems to 'KNOW A LOT ABOUT NUMBER', I hope you were NOT bias to one side of the number, and can do the research without me helping you.

You can search with google:
1. Apple have kind of rule. If Apps were released on Apple first months before android. Apple will kind of helping the app developer with putting it in the app store spotlight, Thus, the apps will got more download
2. Some apps developer that releasing BOTH ANDROID AND iOS VERSION at the SAME TIME, report that the android version gave them more $$$.
3. The reason: because lots of GAMER that don't choose side, own both phone platform, and if they already buy it in their iOS, they won't buy it again in Android.

Stop being a broken record, Regardless what marketing strategy apple used such as politely persuading Apps developer to release the iOS version first, is not a guarantee that it will have the same performance in the future. In fact, the tide is slowly changing, and I know, you feel the heat. Otherwise, you won't be here 24/7 defending Apple.

Wayne Brady

How about this. Let's move on from how much better Apple has done with it's watch and look at how much better Apple has done making a success of it's Apple Music. Not to be outdone, Samsung came out with their own competing music streaming service, Milk.

Samsung is closing it down....didn't sell well enough to keep going. Samsung has MANY more customers than Apple. Samsung is the one and only premium Android seller that has massive volume of premium phones (when compared to anyone but Apple). Samsung has 2 brand spanking new premium phone LINES a year and just released the Note 7 "the best smartphone ever" folks are touting. And it costs even more than iPhones as all of Samsung's wonderful premium phones do....cuz they are WORTH IT.

And yet, Samsung can't convince it's user base to spend the money to keep a measly music service going. Samsung, the best Analog to Apple that exists in the Android world...the world's most successful by marketshare by FAR...undisputed king of smartphones with a portfolio for all...from cheap to most expensive.

But the CUSTOMERS of Apple do not behave like the customers of Samsung or Android in general. And while no one will lament the passing of Milk....the saga continues that it's just very very tough to get Android customers to spend money on apps and services.

Wayne Brady

Sources, my friend. Where are the sources? And I'm sure there MUST be some developers that make more money on Android than iOS. But individual anecdotes do not a "market" make.

Just where is Android crushing it in revenue IN ANY FORM, ANY WHERE, over the iPhone....or even meeting the iPhone.

Android is crushing the iPhone EVERYWHERE in unit sales and market share.

You don't like Google's and Apple's app store revenue numbers. Share how many billions Spandex (or whatever that Russian store is) pays it's developers.

Wayne Brady

Here you go, an analyst estimate that IN GAMES, Android is estimated to overtake revenue when including China in 2018. 2018. Only games. Just a projection. Meaning they STILL understand that INCLUDING China, developers make more money on iOS....even NOW....with a 80% installed base world wide.

And, of course, very few apps are really GLOBAL apps. Developers make apps for much more local markets. Like "english speaking West" (as in the US, UK, AUS etc.)

Rich Black


I've read that both Oppo and Vivo (as well as OnePlus) are brands owned by BBK Electronics. Are you able to confirm this? If these are simply brands, shouldn't they be consolidated in your reports into a single manufacturer?

It would be really interesting if you're able to do an article on the various Chinese manufacturers, many of whom are not well known in the west.


@Wayne Brady:

The only reason why iOS still makes more money is the USA. One large and rich country with a disproportionate high amount of Apple users.

Take that out and things will suddenly look a lot different. Anyway, the reason is not that Apple users are willing to spend more money but that gamers tend to buy premium phones to get the best experience. And there the only real choices are Samsung vs. Apple right now, so it's a significantly smaller market segment.

Also again, all you count is the revenue made directly from the app store. That's just a tiny slice of all the money that is in mobile.

Wayne Brady

I agree that app store revenue is but a slice of the revenue....and I highly suspect that it's not nearly the largest. I'd LOVE to see numbers from some relatively authoritative source on what the general mobile ecosystem is like.

Even in the US, though, Android is the larger platform.

Either way, both platforms are supported and will be for the foreseeable future. You can't ignore Android and you wouldn't want to ignore iOS (as a developer of mobile apps).

One of the other metrics we do have access too is holiday spending. Time and again, iOS users crush Android in using their phones to make purchases. Those are US holiday numbers, of course....but it's never even been close.

And there was a report a year or so ago that came out that it costs advertisers more money than the revenue they received back on advertising. iOS had a HUGE lead in return on advertising dollar spent.

But none of this should be surprising based SOLELY on the price of the phones. People that spend $650 to $900 on a phone are much more likely to have the money to buy things for the phone and with the phone than those that spend $250 for a phone.

Yes, Android has won...if winning is unit market share. But NOTHING else follows. It does not follow that support for iOS will vanish or even take a back seat to Android BECAUSE of the money to be made catering to those who can afford to buy expensive phones.

Nothing that's going to happen as Africans, Maylasians, South Americans and the rest of the world's poorest people get Android going to change ANYTHING for Apple other than it's global unit market share.


Good, hopefully now we'll get some midrange phones with excellent cameras and batteries that last a full day or more. After that it would be nice to get a major UI refresh from both Apple and Google. The idea of everything revolving around a home button seemed outdated 5 years ago...


"is there really a reason to treat smartphones as a separate category."

None. In fact, I have always been saying there has never been a difference between "smartphone" and "feature phone" -- the revealing clue being the absence of a tight definition of a "smartphone".

There is, and has always been only a segmentation into entry-level, mid-range and high-end devices. This corresponds to the price and the available features, and maps to the customer segmentation as well (e.g. relative to purchasing power).

"the CUSTOMERS of Apple do not behave like the customers of Samsung or Android in general."

This is very true, and you point out the reason: it is simply a case of purchasing power.

However, when you come to apps, you are misled: there have been studies of who buys what, and even with Apple customers, the purchase of apps is extremely skewed: a minority of customers are responsible for the vast majority of app sales. Hence, a majority of iPhone users is actually not buying into the Apple ecosystem, i.e. "they don't use their phones to buy apps or music" either.

If there is one risk in the customer base of Apple, this is it -- because if they are not in it for apps and content, then they are in it for the status symbol, whose price is carefully hidden via the obscure price plans of operators and the financing scheme of Apple. Once the price becomes obvious, and the economic crisis is felt, then trade-offs follow.

"I'd LOVE to see numbers from some relatively authoritative source on what the general mobile ecosystem is like."

Either you have not been following this blog -- in which Tomi published _exactly_ those figures in ultra-long-form articles. Or you do not consider Tomi to be authoritative...

"these billions of the poorest people come online and use free apps...that's TERRIBLE for the Android developer. Over load their servers with freeloading customers that provide no revenue either as targets for ads or via in app purchases."

Google makes revenue not by commissions on app sales, but via ads. As long as Android users see and click ads, Android is doing well. And Google controls some of the most used services where ads are displayed (Web search, videos, e-mail...)

Thus, the fate of non-free-app developers is not the prime criterion to analyse the health of Android.

Second, a very large population of users is what drives the reorganization of the economy around a technology, the scaling of production and service provisioning, and innovation -- not premium gadgets for a minority. I am for instance always baffled by the complexity and cost of the mobile phone payment schemes elaborated in supposedly "advanced" 1st world countries (whether by Apple, Google or others), compared to the robust, large-scale, cheap solutions that have been existing in "underdeveloped" Africa for many years.

Now, in a more general perspective, there does not seem to be any follow-up product to rekindle growth after mobile phones saturate. Tablets are already declining -- without ever reaching the same importance, and smartwatches have yet to make a comparable impact (measured by units, total sales, sales of associated products and services such as apps, etc).

Maybe we are entering a phase comparable to the PC since the early 1990s: for the next 15 years, there was a slow shift from desktop to laptop, with both form factors co-existing for the entire period, with nothing new to replace them. It was also the triumph of Windows, Intel, and the razor-thin margins for a constantly shifting battlefield of PC OEM.

Cold Spring

Android is now number one choice for professional App developers according to latest survey:

Tide is indeed turning, every metric which used to favor IOS is now owned by Android

Wayne Borean

Someone said in one of the earlier articles that iOS is harder to develop for than Android. Apple disagrees.

Abdul Muis


Apple PR engine is the best. They really know how to present their number. Unfortunately I dont have time to search for you About google's android play store revenue and the whole android revenue. You seems have too much spare time, perhaps you can search it yourself. Unless you only want a convenient information provided by Apple PR department such as 98℅ of smartphone profit belongs to Apple, along the math to justify it. Its really up to you. Do you want to believe the real truth or the truth that make you happy.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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