In his latest note to investors, stalwart Apple analyst Gene Munster writes that once the iPhone hits Verizon as is expected in early 2011, Android will be put to the test for the first time.
As has been lamented since the iPhone first launched in the Summer of 2007, Apple’s decision to go all in with AT&T has inevitably led some folks to choose rival handsets on completely separate carriers. For a variety of reasons, whether it be signal quality or the hassle involved with switch carriers, not everyone was or is willing to jump over to AT&T just to get their hands on the iPhone. That being the case, Apple’s exclusive contract with AT&T has provided Android with a nice little cushion on Verizon where a vast array of Android devices are being heavily marketed to Verizon’s 90+ million subscriber base – and selling quite briskly we might add.
Tellingly, Munster notes that the United States is the only remaining country out of 89 where the iPhone remains tied to one specific carrier. Munster theorizes that carrier exclusivity is the only reason Android devices have been outselling iPhones here in the US, and of course, it also helps that there are a plethora of Android devices to choose from at all sorts of pricepoints. Sure, Apple has effectively prevented a price umbrella by making previous generations of the iPhone available for only $99, but some Android devices are now free with contract – and that’s not really a price you can beat.
“In countries where the iPhone is available on multiple carriers and competes with Android,” Munster writes, “we see the iPhone outselling Android. The greatest factor in the success of Android has been Verizon. Customers are loyal to their carrier, and once Verizon gets the iPhone, we believe Android’s success in the US will be tested.”