comScore says it performed an "analysis of the unduplicated audience reach of the Apple iOS platform across iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches," and came up with a combined installed base of 37.9 million users. iPhone users beat out the iPod Touch users only slightly, and iPad users numbered about half of the iPhone/Touch users. Only 4 million users (of which The VAR Guy is one of them) use iOS on more than one device (for example, iPad + iPhone).
However, the total number of Android users, which includes not just phones but also web devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, amounts to 23.8 million, giving iOS the 59 percent edge over Android users in the United States.
Why such a large gap in numbers? Ask yourself this: How many of your friends carry around both an Android device and an iOS device? The VAR Guy has one such friend, who debates whether to switch to all-iOS whenever his cell phone service contract expires. He likes the swath of Android features including the built-in turn-by-turn directions and the notification system. But, he also loves the iOS app catalog and has all of his music and media on is iOS device, synced through iTunes. At the same time, though, he doesn't love carrying around two devices.
But what The VAR Guy finds the most interesting is comScore's discovery that 14 percent of Android users have an iPad, and even more interesting, 17 percent of RIM (BlackBerry) users have an iPad. Now, to be fair, The VAR Guy knows the proliferation of Android devices hasn't hit peak levels, but these numbers are very telling. The way The VAR Guy sees it, it's very likely Android users will continue be iOS users too, even if it's simply an iPod Touch. That says something about Apple's appeal.
But The VAR Guy thinks that in a year or two, we could see iPhone users who are also Android users, in some sense -- say, an iPhone + Android tablet combination.
One thing is clear to The VAR Guy: All mobile players should start thinking about expanding their mobile strategy beyond just a phone. It's happening now, with webOS and Android, but both options currently only offer two solutions: a phone or a tablet. What about mid-priced mobile media devices that could compete with the iPod Touch? That entire market is almost untouched by Android and webOS (and we all know what happened to Microsoft).
The bottom line? The VAR Guy thinks the war has only just begun. Weigh in with your comments; who has the upper hand? Is iOS's reign temporary or inevitable?
Sign up for The VAR Guy’s Weekly Newsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow The VAR Guy via RSS, Facebook and Twitter. Follow experts at VARtweet. Read The VAR Guy’s editorial disclosures here.