For a company on the midst of its biggest-ever PR disaster, Apple isn’t doing too badly. With 8.4 million iPhones sold in the last quarter and three million iPhone 4s flogged since launch, you could be forgiven for thinking the antenna issue was no big deal.
But how can its biggest rival Google capitalise on a problem that has damaged Apple, psychologically at least?
Well, let's remember that Android is doing pretty well without Apple’s own goal. NPD reports have shown phones running Google's OS have a 28 per cent share of the US market, compared to Apple’s 21 per cent.
And those 8.4 million iPhones sold in the second quarter don’t compare well to 8.75 million shifted in the first three months of 2010. Google’s own Eric Schmidt claims that 160,000 Android phones are being snapped up daily. Apple’s new figures suggest it’s only selling 92,000 by comparison.
But what can Android do to seal the deal? First up, it needs to try harder to bring together all its Open Handset Alliance partners and agree tighter, more unified timetables for getting updates out into the wild.
Android 2.2 is only just about to land on Vodafone Nexus Ones, two months on from its debut. There’s no word on when top-end cells like the HTC Desire will get the coveted boost.
This will be a difficult ask what with skins on top of Android causing delays. Google either needs to stop these completely or be more stringent across-the-board so that all its phones are singing from the same hymn sheet.
That brings us to Android 3.0. If Google is really planning on splitting Android into two versions with Gingerbread’s release, then it needs to make sure that all top-end phones come packing the best version from the get-go. Release it before Christmas on a few stellar phones and the iPhone will suffer. Market them aggressively and play upon the iPhone 4’s embarrassing software niggles and it’ll be onto a real winner.
Google would also do well to fire back at Apple’s antenna claims. The HTC Droid Eris is the only Android handset to be torn down by Cupertino on its official antenna response site. If Google can prove to punters that some of its headline efforts don’t suffer from such extreme drops in signal, then it’ll garner stacks more positive headlines and make Apple sweat when it comes to sales figures.
Lastly, it needs a truly stunning device to help it seal the deal. The HTC Legend looks great, but it’s no iPhone 4. If Google can team up with HTC (or any other partner) to make something that looks just as good and offers more on the software side, then the lead is theirs for the taking.
Android is already primed for battle. The iPhone 4’s problems will only help it become top dog.