The study, based on a survey of about 4,000 consumers, shows interest in Android nearly tripling from September to December of 2009. In September, about 6 percent of respondents said an Android phone was in their future. By December, that number was up to 21 percent.
In the span of three months, Android shot ahead of BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Palm when it comes to consumer preference. The only platform still ahead of it: the iPhone.
The rate of change, however, may be where the numbers speak the loudest. In the same time period that Android saw a 250 percent growth in buyer interest, the iPhone experienced a 12.5 percent drop. To be sure, the iPhone still holds a healthy overall lead — about 28 percent of people expressed interest in buying Apple’s mobile device in December, compared to the 21 percent gunning for Android — but the shifting trend is tough to ignore.
ChangeWave’s research isn’t alone; other recent analyses have shown similar shifts in the smartphone market. In December, ComScore found consumer interest in the Android platform had more than doubled since the summer. ComScore’s numbers placed Android and iPhone nearly neck-and-neck: Seventeen percent of people surveyed by the company said they were headed to Android, while 20 percent were planning to make new iPhone purchases.
Hang on, though: Before you start digging a virtual grave (and incurring the ire of Apple fans worldwide), you should also look at the big picture. Yes, some expect Android to outpace the iPhone in sales within a matter of years. But does that mean the iPhone is facing certain doom? Don’t count on it. Apple earned the honor of most profitable handset vendor in the world just a couple of months ago, according to Strategy Analytics. Even if Android steals a few pieces of its pie, Apple’s pride and joy isn’t going to shrivel up and die anytime soon.
Still, for what it’s worth, the trends increasingly seem to suggest a changing of the guard is on the way. It may not be as dramatic as the always-popular “this-or-that killer” kind of scenario, but in this ring, it’s where the real odds lie.