There’s zero question that Google’s (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android operating system is top dog right now. It lays claim to 52.3% of the smartphone market – more than double its marketshare in 2010.
But Android’s growth could soon hit a bump in the road, thanks to loyal Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) customers.
Research firm, GfK, recently conducted a survey of 4,500 smartphone users in France, Britain, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Spain, China, Japan and the United States. It asked consumers whether they were planning on sticking with the same operating system for their next phone, or if they’re making a switch.
It turns out 84% of iPhone users plan on staying faithful. For Android, that number only reaches 60%. Ouch.
What’s their motivation for sticking around? Let’s take a look…
It’s All About the Experience
User experience is key when it comes to customer retention. The survey showed that 70% of individuals with loyalty to Apple say that having a phone that offers seamless integration of features is most important to them.
And according to GfK, “The richest rewards will go to those providers that can create the most harmonious user experience and develop this brand loyalty.”
Unfortunately, Android’s not quite there.
Sure, it’s begun leveling the playing field with its updated Google Music service, which is on par with iTunes. But it still has a long way to go if it wants to compete head-to-head with Apple’s seamless ecosystem.
Especially now that a popular new feature from Apple – that’s also deeply integrated into iOS – is bound to make Android users envious: voice control with Siri.
Google Chose Function Over Style
Google actually implemented voice control in its Android operating system long before Apple introduced Siri.
Its Google Voice Actions is great for performing basic functions like placing calls, performing searches, or getting driving directions.
And Google’s new operating system update, Ice Cream Sandwich, introduces real-time dictation for messaging. So you can say what you want to text, and the phone instantly types out the message as you speak.
But no matter how useful these features are, Android’s voice functionality pales in comparison to Apple’s new offering.
Siri Raises the Bar
Apple might be late to the party when it comes to voice control, but its personal assistant application on the iPhone 4S, Siri, doesn’t disappoint.
Siri does everything that Google Voice Actions can do… and much more.
It learns from you, interprets requests based on context and can even talk back!
Apple engineered Siri with a bit of an attitude, too. So it almost seems like you’re speaking to a real person.
If you haven’t seen it in action yet, check out this video from TekGadg below that pits Siri against Android Voice Actions:
As you can see, Apple has raised the bar considerably here. And as it gains popularity, Android users are going to be looking for this functionality in their next device.
Like Macworld says, “After a month of using Siri… I’ve decided it may be time to add voice control to the list of paradigm-shifting ways to interact with a computer – right behind the mouse, keyboard and, more recently, touch gestures.”
Bottom line: I’m convinced that Siri will ultimately make customers even more loyal to the Apple brand. Unless Google wants to see both present and future Android users jump on the iPhone bandwagon, it better equip Android with a Siri-like competitor ASAP.