Smartphone Socio-economics

No MBA Mondays today. I'm obsessed about something else this morning.

Benedict Evans has a series of blog posts up showcasing twitter data from a company called MapBox.

Here's London (iPhone is Red, Android is Green, Blackberry is Blue):

London smartphone distribution

Here's NYC:

NYC smartphones

You can click on those images to blow them up and see them better.

Benedict ends his blog post with this statement:

the iPhone is more expensive than most of the phones on the market, and this shapes the kind of people who buy it

The iPhone has locked up the top end of the market for sure. The rest of the world is on Android (and Blackberry and Windows to a lesser degree). Developers of mobile apps need to keep this in mind when they choose which platforms to develop for.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Barry Nolan

    Accidental v’s Desirable users.Android is capturing 2/3 of all smartphone activations. Yet iPhone has more β€˜desirable’ users, whereas Android has more β€˜accidental’ users. Why? Mainly because Android phones comes free with the plan.As a consequence, iOS users are WAY more engaged in apps (No of apps on device, use of, in-app purchases).

    1. Avi Deitcher

      How does this affect the eCPM of in-app advertising on iOS (iAd) vs Android (AdMob)?How does it affect the average revenue per user (ARPU) from paid apps on iOS vs Android?And last, is there a segment of the population where Android *has* captured the high-end?

      1. kidmercury

        regarding your last question, absolutely. from what i’ve seen galaxy note II is slightly higher in price when unlocked than iphone 5. so, the phablet crowd will go for a high end android because apple is not in that market.

        1. Avi Deitcher

          “phablet”? New term?The Note II is materially larger (therefore larger screen, but less portable). Seems more powerful, though.If someone could make a way to run iOS apps on Android or vice versa, thus breaking the ecosystem lock, *that* would be interesting. Of course, compiling for A5X/A6 is not the same as whatever is in the Note II. And I think there is a long history of failed attempts to make the software of one platform (CPU+OS) run on another.

          1. kidmercury

            apple will go to great lengths to block that type of compilation.

          2. Avi Deitcher

            I have no doubt. It is *not* a market I want to crack.

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      u mean iphone buyers have purpose/aware than android buyers?

      1. Barry Nolan

        So gross paraphrasing here: iPhone users want iPhone. Android users get an Android phone.In every log of the the customers mobile apps we power, iOS has way more installs and user engagement – despite it being an ‘Android’ world.

    3. Ana Milicevic

      Yes, but this is different on the top-end of the Android market (Samsung Galaxy, HTC 1, etc).

    4. fredwilson

      Yup. But many android users are engaging too.100% of 25% < 50% of 75%

      1. Avi Deitcher

        Go convince people in heavy-tax location governments…. 10% of a billion is still less than 100% of a million…

        1. ShanaC

          actually 10% of a billion is a lot more than 100% of a million.. 100x more

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Darn, I flipped it! Nice catch!

  2. jason wright

    how many apple stores are there on manhatten island?

      1. jason wright


      2. fredwilson

        Aha. Didn’t know about the one on the UWS. I rarely go there other than as a refugee from Sandy

        1. Avi Deitcher

          “other than as a refuge from Sandy”. LOL!

          1. fredwilson


        2. ShanaC

          i’m up there quite a bit – feeding people πŸ™‚

    1. fredwilson

      A bunch. I have been to Soho, Meatpacking, & Grand Central and there is one on Fifth Avenue across from The Plaza

      1. ShanaC

        i think there are also one or two in brooklyn

  3. William Mougayar

    Spain is mostly Android & BlackBerry? That’s weird.I wonder what would happen if Apple came out with a more affordable iPhone.

    1. Barry Nolan

      On that, WTF is up with Germany? Europe’s North Korea

      1. Avi Deitcher

        @barrynolan:disqus I don’t understand. “Europe’s North Korea”?

        1. Barry Nolan

          Compare it to UK or Ireland. It’s dark

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Ah, got it. The Germans don’t use smartphones? Cannot be. The maps must simply be missing data.

          2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

            German data was captured in mid-night πŸ™‚

          3. Avi Deitcher

            As much as I just laughed at that response, it might actually be true. If the capture was not continuous time-series but rather moment in time, or perhaps over days but snapshots of the same time every day, that could explain it.

          4. jason wright

            really? then a flawed analysis.

          5. jason wright

            they use smartphones. they’re called “handy”.

          6. Avi Deitcher

            Didn’t the Brits use that term for a while?

          7. jason wright

            i don’t recall that as a noun. they are useful.

          8. jason wright

            which is ironic, because Germany is quite enlightened compared to the UK and Ireland. Much of the northern continent is more socially advanced than the two islands.

          9. Barry Nolan

            Filed under things not to say to an Irishman!

          10. jason wright

            bookmarked πŸ™‚

          11. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            OK – Twitter usage as proxy for Enlightened – care to explain that ?

      2. jason wright

        when i was in Munich everyone seemed to have an iphone. on the S and U Bahn it was wall to wall iphones.

        1. Barry Nolan

          Twitter activity, by country, may be the variable.

          1. Ana Milicevic

            Twitter activity by country where location is enabled in tweets. Germany doesn’t have great Twitter adoption.

          2. ShanaC

            so then we’re looking at the wrong thing

          3. Ana Milicevic

            More like we’re looking at this thing wishing it was another thing πŸ™‚

          4. ShanaC

            sounds like most people’s approach to data. I think with apple, though, as they lose their cool factor – there is now a push for a data reason for why apple is awesome. But both can only last so long

          5. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            “As the lose” – goodness – did time just slip two years?

          6. jason wright

            The Daily Tempora may have an article on this.

    2. jason wright

      price elasticity of demand curve.the Spanish have no money. 55% under 25 yrs are unemployed.

      1. JamesHRH

        exactly – there is not upper end market there.

    3. jason wright

      isn’t a cheaper plastic iphone on the way in September? i thought i read that somewhere. $200.

      1. William Mougayar

        I saw $399. Not sure which is right, although 200 sounds cheap. Maybe 300 is the sweet spot?

        1. jason wright

          perhaps you’re right. i may have the wrong currency.

        2. Richard

          Who pays retail in the US?

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Anyone who travels regularly and needs an unlocked phone.

          2. William Mougayar

            But in less developed countries, many users buy unlocked versions.

          3. Girish Mehta

            True…India does not have a carrier subsidy model. Difficult to do at a $4 ARPU industry avg (voice+data). 220 million mobile phones sold in India last year (about 16 mn smartphones).

          4. William Mougayar

            The benefit of non-subsidies is that a secondary market emerges for buying/selling previously owned products & that’s a good thing for the peer economy.

  4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Here is another statement which fall in-line with your last 2-lines from Gartner…”Android will account for just over one-third of all devices this year, and nearly half in 2014. It’s an Android world after all.”P.S. btw, that image is skewed by overlaying iphone on top of android and BB…if you remove the iphone dots you may see (now buried underneath) the same number of androids in Manhattan.

    1. jason wright

      yep, the red does jump out of the screen. a definite color do you peel away the red layer to reveal what lies beneath?

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        No you can’t but if save the image (zoomed) in your puter and use any jpeg viewer and zoom …u will see the layer…u can clearly see the BB layer buried in the middle NYC.

        1. jason wright

          i’ll try it. thanks.

    2. William Mougayar

      Good point. I didn’t realize you can toggle the colors. Some colors hide others.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        This point was raised in the original post ….i just cross verified.

      2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        @wmoug:disqus @jasonpwright:disqus …you can do color separation at the original site Mapbox…give it a try …

        1. William Mougayar

          Yeah, that’s what I meant when I said toggle the colors. You can also type in a country, city or state and get a map for it.

  5. kidmercury

    iphone users are the worst man. you guys are increasing development costs for everyone.anyway, we all know the future is android, regardless of what racist graphics like this one (red easier to see than green) suggest.there are going to be lots more platforms, but they will primarily be android forks (i.e. kindle) or forks of some open source OS. this will make cross platform development much easier.

    1. Richard

      Percetage of iPhone gen x, millineal, gen y users who know what a fork is?

      1. kidmercury

        obviously the percentage of iphone users who know what that is well below the percentage of android users. though the end user doesn’t need to know anything. what will eventually happen is that the app ecosystem will migrate towards android because android will have the userbase (cheaper product) and will be cheaper for devleopers to build upon. luxury does not scale.

        1. Richard

          The bulk of the cost of a phone is the usage cost.

          1. kidmercury

            sure, but we live in a world where most people don’t have savings. in such a world, any type of significant upfront payment is shunned if even possible, regardless of how economically prudent it may actually be.

        2. fltron

          The app ecosystem is going to be wherever people are spending money. Currently, that’s in iOS. The Android ‘winning’ install base isn’t translating to big dollars (comparatively speaking).When Google makes more money on iPhone than it does on Android, you know you have issues. Guys like Fred and yourself touting the eventual dominance of Android as a key reason for development has thus far been the wrong advice. iOS is where developers are making the most money.You’ve made a linear argument that eventually Android will have the masses and the people willing to spend money on apps. Great. Do you think Android will be around in its current form in that eventually? How long before Google cuts their losses? How long before Samsung pushes its own OS that they’re already developing?Your simplistic view is not supported by current trends, and ignores future markers. My advise to any developer would be to be strong in the platform that makes you money NOW. If/when Android starts showing some promise (besides install-base), making the switch is far easier.

          1. fredwilson

            advice is only wrong when the hand is fully played outwe are not there yet

          2. fltron

            Unless developers are doing something truly visionary on Android, there’s no logic to this strategy. And frankly, having a blue-tooth on/off button or geofencing isn’t visionary enough to gain mass-momentum.I separate this into two businesses:1. Platform development – Have a 5 year plan, innovate the f’ out of it. 2. Development for platform – Screw the 5 year plan, develop for what people want now, on the platform they’re using nowIt’s great to eventually be right, assuming you haven’t lost on a ton of opportunity along the way. I’d argue following an Android-first development strategies does nothing more then kill present-day opportunities.You develop on iOS. If you’re a big success and you have the following, you develop on Android. That’s the only strategy that is presently going to make money. If that changes in a year or two years time, great, switch it around.But thus far the Android first (or even Android equal) dev strategy has been wrong for how many years now? 2 years? 3 years? Far too long to be labelled visionary. Perfectly reasonable to label it a mistake.

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            As browser techs are increasingly abstracted on the stack (see eg Google polyfill and polymer projects) and form factors variation is increasingly addressed with more elegant library solutions (eg css3 content folding, bootstrap). The end game becomes benefit, price and addressable audience.These are close to realization. While iOS focusses on differentiation of hardware (the ultimate commodity) and vertical integration of production (highly risky regards disruption), they will move further and further from the “good enough market” and become a diminishing high cost irrelevance.

          4. William Mougayar

            #Quotable. Will give it the double T treatment- tweet & tumble.

          5. SubstrateUndertow

            “we are not there yetwhere is THERE?chromeOS ?

          6. fredwilson

            there is when the vast majority of the world’s population has a smartphone and is on the Internet

          7. Dave W Baldwin

            I’m speculating, but if I remember right, you were at that Google event this past Spring. It was obvious they are looking to become more dev friendly and as @kidmercury:disqus is implying, it is a matter of their bigger $$ coming in from data, so they have time to play with.

          8. kidmercury

            lol…..your guys’ timeline is so small. 10 years from now android will have dominance by every measure: install, ARPU, etc. the amount of stuff built for android, the necessary screen types, etc. will make android first an economic necessity. this is PC wars all over again. apple’s only chance is to keep churning out new first mover products which they are already failing to do.

          9. fltron

            Your reasoning ignores the following:- Google is making more money on iOS, and might already be having second thoughts on its Android strategy- Samsung is the only company making money on Android, and they’re working on their own OS- Windows OS dominance is irrelevant today – Apple’s iPhone division makes more money than all of MicrosoftIn a static environment with current trends, without market changes, I would 100% agree with you. Android, with these assumptions, will have such a massive install-base that it’ll be the clear winner.However, can we make those assumptions? Windows 95 was an immediate success. iPhone was an immediate success. Android was an immediate failure in most metrics, but for installed units. Great. So are toaster ovens. But they don’t make anyone a lot of money.

          10. kidmercury

            how are you defining “making money”? google is a data company and makes money through all forms of data it acquires. the lines between mobile revenue and other forms of revenue are far from clear for big data players like google and cannot compare windows OS to iphone. the comparison is between windows OS and macintosh.when google gives away toaster ovens for free but displays ads and acquires information about your toasting habits to sell you food, you will say they don’t make money on toaster ovens. i will say they make a ton of money off it. their income statement will be supportive of this viewpoint.

          11. fltron

            It’s a well known fact that Google makes more money on iOS advertising compared to its advertising business on Android.You’re the one that started making Windows comparisons.I define making money by a company making profits. Google is billions of dollars in the hole with Android (if you consider how it overpaid for Motorola). The only company making money on Android right now is Samsung.

          12. kidmercury

            to clarify, i believe windows vs macintosh is an appropriate analogy for android vs might be making more money on iOS users than on android users — today. 10 years from now? not a chance.your accounting is very subjective. google is making tons of money, you can look at their earnings and free cash flow to see this. the data they get from mobile is a huge part of what enables this.

          13. fltron

            Inaccurate. Mobile advertising is the largest part of the advertising business right now, and it makes less money compared to page views. It is also an area where Google is struggling to make money.Your assumption that Android is going to be huge in 10 years assumes that the tech world will remain stagnant. As I mentioned, there are several real threats to Android’s future from within Google and from Samsung.Just consider this; the original iphone was released in 2007. The iPad is only a few years old. Do you really think things will continue as they are for 10 years? Ha! Good luck with that. The future isn’t so clear.

          14. kidmercury

            you’re still not getting my point, willfully or otherwise. my point is that any attempt to demarcate the source of google’s profit is a highly subjective affair. they are a data company and anything that provides data to them is vital to their bottom line. they get a lot of data off mobile, especially something they totally own like android. as android is clearly vital to their data plan it is vital to their business/profits as assumption does not assume the tech world is stagnant. my assumption is that fragmentation will continue just as it always has. apple does not have a strategy to deal with fragmentation. that is why they will end up being a niche player, just like they did in the PC wars. history repeats.

          15. fredwilson

            Oldest beef on this blog. Never ending.

          16. Michael Elling

            There will probably be a middle road here; actually a “middle layer”. Something call “balanced settlements” which is anathema to Google, the hour-glass IP world, etc… But it’s also not the walled garden approach of Apple, nor the 2-sided (piggish) revenue model that the monopoly ISPs and the ITU are promulgating.Balanced settlements in which transaction fees reflect marginal cost (scaled out of big data, advertising, etc…) are necessary to clear supply and demand between the upper and lower layers and across service providers. If applied to Android, we’d see a stimulative boom in 4G/wifi infrastructure buildout globally unlike any other.But their biggest impact will be to enable core subsidization/procurement of edge access. Yes access can be free in the future and these maps need not be along racial/income lines. The 80s-90s were just a taste of what is to come.

          17. Silvia Chen

            Sorry but F U sir,,, u are so droid centric and never once was equanimous

          18. fredwilson

            telling me to fuck off is a mature way to have this discussion. i appreciate it.

          19. Silvia Chen

            you are a true sport and i knew you gonna take this positively.. it is only that my fingers shivered typing those words..

          20. LE

            Well then I assume you are long on android investments and have shorted Apple? And have bet sizably on that?

          21. kidmercury

            no, because i don’t short any equities in this environment. though obviously shorting apple at the top of its recent bubble would have been a fantastic move.implicitly in my personal life and my entrepreneurial decisions, i’m long android. i’m building a geo-local app now that is aimed at an area that is dominated by iSlaves, so i’ll have to play that game until everyone else catches up.

          22. SubstrateUndertow

            “10 years from now”Holy Shit Batman !That is way over the internet-time event-horizon don’t you think ?

          23. kidmercury

            not at all. bezos plans for 7 years; i actually agree with that, though i said 10 to give myself some extra room. being too early can be a big problem but i think the bigger problem for most people is the opposite: they are looking less than 12 months ahead, and thus miss broader trends that are far more important to long-term success.

      2. ShanaC

        we could get some census data and overlay on the map, try figuring out where the young people are

    2. fredwilson

      Racist graphics!You keep things lively around here kidI really appreciate that

    3. William Mougayar

      Why are iphone users increasing development costs for everyone?

      1. kidmercury

        in a world where the various operating systems agree to share a base, it makes it easy to develop across operating systems. i.e. it is easy to develop for kindle because it is a fork of android, so when you develop for android it can often run on kindle right off the bat or can do so with minimal effort. crapple plays the lock in game where they intentionally try to make it difficult. there is a kernel of truth in that they have their pompous vision of artistry that requires everything to be done exactly to their specification to satisfy their art, but in general i find this to be a nuisance whose cost is greater than its value. i also find the strategy to be a bit flawed and why apple will eventually devolve into a niche product for the select few who value artistry over functionality and economics.

        1. William Mougayar

          What!!!If you talk to any developer who has developed for both platforms, it always takes longer to spit out an Android app, plus you need to be aware of the various screen sizes which is a drag, let alone the Android versions. It’s a nightmare.With Apple, the same iOS code is portable across the tablets. If you want to talk developer productivity on iOS vs. Android, you’re not going to win that beef, sorry.

          1. kidmercury

            you don’t need to develop for all the different screen sizes or operating systems; there is a trade off. that is part of apple’s artistry. though it is revealing that the the market is forcing them to create more screen sizes.

          2. William Mougayar

            But even that, it’s like 4 screens vs. 20 maybe. You can’t use the same images for the various screen sizes on Android. You need to re-create them in different libraries, so managing that is more time-consuming.

          3. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            William – Just to stit the pot a bit …I do know if they want to reach me they had better go Android . It’s not that I’m saying I’m important – merely that I am principled (in my own peculiar way:)

          4. William Mougayar

            That’s fine and I respect that. The point is that neither Apple’s iOS nor Android are going away. We’ll have them both til eternity, so we might as well get used to their co-existence, rather than always pegging one against the other. It is what it is.

          5. SubstrateUndertow

            As Monty-Python would say:We all need to “learn how to stand up for the principal and sit down on our own stool” πŸ™‚

          6. LE

            “What!!!”The protagonist in your comment probably is to young to remember the clusterfuck that was windows and support required to get a windows computer to work vs. macintosh. An entire industry developed just for that purpose.Additionally anyone with more time than money probably wouldn’t care as much if they had to waste hours and hours to get something working.

          7. kidmercury

            the history of windows vs macintosh is already written and complete. the wise will learn from it.

          8. LE

            I love the way that when you make a point you always feel it necessary to tag on some inference like “anyone who doesn’t realize this is stupid” type statement. Or a “lol”. Or both. Why do you do that? Why not just let the point stand on its own? Of course I fully support your right to communicate anyway you want but I’m curious why you do this.

          9. kidmercury

            i only do it in certain topics. if it’s political and relates to ignorance of kookology, or if its iphone/android related. the former is because i actually think i’m better than those who are ignorant and i want to celebrate it and believe i am justified in doing so. the iphone/android stuff is more so because i find crapple to be so annoying and stupid, it is going to fail anyway so not that big of a deal but especially now since i am working on this geo-local app i have to spend time and money on stupid apple stuff. if people just migrated to android like they eventually will it would save me time and money.

          10. SubstrateUndertow

            You are getting caught up in an emotional/wishful-thinking SubstrateUnderTow πŸ˜‰

          11. SubstrateUndertow

            If history = step and repeatthen you’re conclusion is indeed wise ?If history = step and fractal-repeatthen you’re conclusion is premature/caviller !

          12. William Mougayar

            Oh I remember those days very well. It made IT departments justify their existence.But I think the difference is that back in the day, corporations were able to afford those costs, whereas today, most of the mobile development is undertaken by smaller, nimbler companies and startups where resources and budgets are scarce and where there is little overhead.

        2. Dale Allyn

          Yup, siding with @wmoug:disqus on this beef. Mobile developers who develop for both platforms are consistently in Williams camp here. I don’t know if you develop apps, Kid, but I will say that Android is considerably more involved to deliver an acceptably uniform experience across devices. There are lots of good business or personal reasons to deliver for both platforms, or one over the other, but honestly most devs whom I’ve spoken with prefer developing for iOS.I’m not suggesting that iOS is “winning” or anything of the sort. Just referring to my experience regarding the development environment.

        3. SubstrateUndertow

          “artistry that requires everything to be done exactly to their specification to satisfy their art, but in general i find this to be a nuisance whose cost is greater than its value”That cost/benefit trade off is non-existent from the users side of the value equation !

          1. kidmercury

            more and more stuff is going to work on android that doesn’t work on iOS. just like PC wars all over again. that is when the users will feel the pain.

      2. Avi Deitcher

        Oh, I was sure you were going to talk about the PITA of developing in Objectionable-C (no, that is not a typo).

    4. Raj

      Have you tried building for Android? It’s a major PITA given the differences between devices.Also, Eclipse sucks. Vim FTW.

      1. kidmercury

        it all depends on how perfect you want the product to be across all screen sizes. apple is going to have the same problem now that they are increasing the number of screen sizes they offer. that they are doing so reveals what the market is forcing them to do.

        1. Raj

          I’ll take that as a no. The difference in screen sizes isn’t the biggest PITA in terms of Android as a platform. And it’s not about perfection either. Basic functionality at times doesn’t work consistently because of the “open” and fragmented nature of Android.

          1. fredwilson

            in the post ice cream sandwich world, things are way better

          2. Raj

            True, but developers can’t ignore 36% of Android users to focus on Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond. So one needs to include support starting with 2.3.x and therein lies the PITA.

          3. Michael Elling

            Chris Soghoian of ACLU at the CITI symposium on Future Nets last Thursday said that the FTC will likely rule favorably on their petition to force carriers to protect Android users from malware, which means much faster updates! And it’s already making a difference. I just got 4.1.2 over the past 2-3 weeks from Verizon; only 8 months later than promised!

          4. kidmercury

            working on one now. i find it annoying to even have to think about iOS.

    5. LIAD

      the maps are also prejudiced against colorblind people.

      1. ShanaC

        *sigh* yes, you’d be surprised how many designers forget the colorblind

    6. ShanaC

      these aren’t racist per say – they are classist.

    7. David Petersen

      iphone:android::ruth’s chris:applebees:)

      1. kidmercury

        i gladly accept your analogy. in fact i’ll augment it:ruth’s 2012 revenue: 398.59 milliondine equity (owner of applebees and ihop) 2012 revenue: 849.93 million

        1. David Petersen


        2. PhilipSugar

          I have to take the kid in this beef: RuthChris DineEquitySales: $400mm $850mmGross Margin: $85mm $391mmOperating Income: $26mm $212mmOne looks like Apple and it is not RuthChris.

    8. takingpitches


    9. Elie Seidman


  6. jason wright

    are these images for office hours or later in the evening?

  7. OurielOhayon

    Well Fred, to be complete: developers have to have in mind another critical map of data. Where users spend money. And this is not on Android. Developers who have ROI in mind and not just market share will be disappointed on Android (yes i know there are exceptions…)

  8. LIAD

    I wanna see the version of this gorgeous map the #NSA Director gets to look at.Imagine. Hundreds of data overlay options automatically appended to each handset whenever it connects to the web.Forget about which brand phone they’re using. I’m talking:- Voter Records- Tax Payments- SAT Scores- No. unpaid parking tickets – Last 10 Google searches- Amazon purchase history- IMDB rating given for IronMan3- BangwithFriends account details+ Add in Quantified Self options – Heart Rates – Blood Pressure – Stress Levels#MENTAL!

    1. laurie kalmanson

      Then correlate

      1. ShanaC


        1. laurie kalmanson

          half of those things are correlated already

          1. ShanaC

            not sold with the twitter usage being correlated enough to do these maps.For these sorts of visualizations, you better have a really high correlation rate, one where you would think they are nearly causitive

    2. Richard

      Add in medical history

    3. Matt A. Myers

      You forgot body weight in the quantified-self list

  9. BillMcNeely

    In the Pando Monthly discussion with John Doerr their was a guy that asked a question but before doing so he related that the open source Android operating system had dramatically reduced our fear of Microsoft taking over the world. (Not their relevance) The programmer obviously thought the Android operating system had replaced Windows in importance.

  10. reece

    Apple has won the top end, and if WWDC is any indication, they’re fine with it… highlighting 1. engagement time with their devices and 2. $$ spent in the app store etc as carrots to developers…very curious what the entirety of the USA looks like, too

    1. fredwilson

      Click the Mapbox link reeceIts an interactive tool

      1. reece

        ah. my bad. had only clicked through to his postinteresting view. iOS is dominant across the US. have to wonder if the data isn’t self-selecting though, given that it’s via Twitter, no?

        1. Avi Deitcher

          Ah, that’s the German problem! If it had looked for activity on “Tvitter” then it would light up!

  11. Ana Milicevic

    The iPhone was alone on the high end of the market until recently — I might be slightly biased, but until the Samsung Galaxy 2 came out Android really didn’t have a mass-market consumer phone that actually worked and wasn’t clunky. My early Android experience on a Motorola Droid 2 (yes, yes, I know…) nearly soured me to the OS altogether. So I would posit that engagement on high-end Android phones is/will be similar to engagement and spend on iPhones.

    1. fredwilson

      On Weds the Galaxy II will be available in the Play store with stock android. I will buy it first thing weds and replace my Nexus 4 which has been a great companion for the past year

      1. Avi Deitcher

        OK, very curious. Why? What is missing in your 4 that you want to replace it with a II?

        1. fredwilson

          No LTE

          1. Avi Deitcher

            Is the significantly larger size a pro or con?Any other factors?

          2. fredwilson

            Probably both

          3. Avi Deitcher

            Would be happy to see a posting after a few weeks comparing your nexus 4 vs note II life.

      2. jason wright

        Note II?

        1. fredwilson

          i mean S4. sorry.

          1. Vineeth Kariappa

            What happened to “ditch google”?

          2. fredwilson

            still looking to do that. i am interested in trying firefox OS and Tizen handsetsdon’t know where to get them though

          3. Vineeth Kariappa

            Saw a funny thing yesterday, on google analytics πŸ™‚ I am receiving hits from “Samsung OS” and “Mozilla OS”. thought they were expected next year. Are you sure they have launched?

          4. Matt A. Myers

            I heard latest version of Firefox is decent. Would be interested in the experience you have with it.

          5. Michael Elling

            Apple’s young growing up to eat the parent? Foxconn’s owner is tripling its efforts on mobile Firefox OS.

          6. fredwilson


      3. kenberger

        i have an AT&T S4 running AOSP (via cyanogenmod) for more than a month now and the build is flawless. Tmo is available too.

      4. John Revay

        Galaxy II?, I thought they were doing stock 4s’s

        1. fredwilson

          My badBut i might get an HTC One instead

          1. John Revay

            The Verge – Pure Android: Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One ‘Google Play editions’ review…

  12. laurie kalmanson

    Beautiful and smart More reasons to code for the mobile browser

  13. JamesHRH

    The apple strategy is built for the long term – they know that the content is the key and they have the best end to end ecosystem for it.They will have cheaper, plug and play competitors, but the Apple customer base will not see those options as options, as long as Apple does a good job.2000 Steve Jobs = 1985 Steve Jobs + Long Term Strategy

  14. Elie Seidman

    Two other data points would be interesting to know. Do iPhone users overindex on the use of Twitter? What is the relationship between use of Twitter and income?

  15. jason wright

    Twitter users.Is it still 10% write and 90% read?

    1. Avi Deitcher

      I think it is 5% write, 30% read and 65% spam you ignore!

      1. jason wright

        no escape! πŸ™‚

        1. Avi Deitcher

          The worst part is that email is open to all senders. If you know my address, you can email me, subject to the cat-and-mouse game of my spam filters.But Twitter is “receiver activated”. I need to actually follow you to have your tweets in my reading list.The big offender here is … Twitter! If someone could find a way to replicate what Twitter does, still make money, but without the damn “promoted posts,” they’d make a mint!

  16. Richard

    Phone are morphing into wallets, Apple doesn’t control payment. Oversight?

    1. markslater

      they will with IOS 7

  17. Richard

    What gave the iphone its cred? The macbook. The percentage of iPhone users who don’t also own a laptop has to be less than 20%, which makes the MacBook one important product.

  18. Carl Rahn Griffith

    More nuanced than it appears, I’d tender – I know plenty of kids who don’t have a spare dime to their names because they are in hock to just have an iPhone. Often, Zeitgeist is more meaningful than data.

  19. Richard

    Beautiful iPhone full page ad in todays wsj.

    1. Avi Deitcher

      Doesn’t appear in the iPad version. Can you snap and post?

    2. William Mougayar

      Well…Cook was told to drive the stock price up πŸ™‚

    3. LE

      What kind of car is that? I’m noting non-electric windows.

  20. pointsnfigures

    that’s interesting. wonder how it breaks down with professional vs personal use. Blackberry used to be the pro market, and I assume that market went to Android.

  21. mattweeks

    FredI’m currently in Israel on a working holiday (mostly holiday) and just mentioned to my wife (we were on the beach in Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee) that even lower socio economic groups eventually reached into their tattered bags and consistently retrieved iPhones, and most of them were iPhone 5s, a real surprise.Out here, unlocked iPhones are 600 to 700+ USD equivalent. Nokia used to control the super-expensive handset market out here and elsewhere in the world. But the iPhone5 proliferation, even to the bottom of the socio-economic scale seems to suggest a different behavior in some markets.The rapid lifecycle /refresh of iPhones also suggests that these iPhone5 users had undoubtedly recently replaced an iPhone4 series for the 5. Again, different from Nokia high end phones, which people kept for years (due to the high quality and high price). Apple seems to be defining a new product lifecycle even globally.Just another data point for you.

    1. Avi Deitcher

      matt, you wish (well, they do) that it cost that little in Israel. Today, an unlocked iPhone 5 16GB costs ~3,650 NIS, or just over $1,000 USD.It is a combination of very high taxes, especially VAT (18%), and the exclusive Apple importer to Israel (, who charge a huge premium.

    2. Avi Deitcher

      Matt, you are in Israel? I am here. Email me avi [at] deitcher [dot] net

      1. ShanaC


    3. William Mougayar

      Yup. The iPhone is like a status symbol in many countries. People save $700-$1000 to get one, almost like getting a shiny new car.

    4. ShanaC

      I’ve been to that beach – I wouldn’t say it was lower socio-economic groups were in the ara. You’d have to go into town for that.

      1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Leisure time is a socio-economic data point. In much of the world lying on any beach implies financial well-being. Selling ice-cream strategies on beaches makes for interesting economic theory though !

    5. ShanaC

      also mazel tov – and there is an excellent tour of an olive oil farm and tasting up in the galilee

    6. LE

      Had the first iphone (2007) and very next day went on a cruise ship. Cruise ship help is all low paid immigrants they basically make money and then go back to their homeland. You can’t even imagine the number of times I was interrupted and asked about the iphone. Every single waiter. The desk help. (Also people on the ship but that’s not the point I am reinforcing). Everyone had big smiles on their faces and wanted to touch it. Apple is a brand and has in identity and people aspire to use it. Android is a crappy name like wintel.

      1. kidmercury

        android is for people who can think for themselves; who can take something raw and have the confidence and creativity to inject their own personality and identity into it. apple is for people who lack that type of confidence and creativity and so cling to something that does it for them in futile hopes of transference and public approval.

        1. LE

          “apple is for people who lack that type of confidence and creativity”Oh yeah. That’s it. Right. For sure.Except that Macintosh was big with creative types way way before it hit with mainstream audiences after Jobs came back.More importantly, some people just need to get the job done. They don’t have anything to prove. They aren’t afraid of using a brand because someone might think they are doing it to be pompous. They do what they want to do. While you sit around and try to save the world.I used Pagemaker 1.0, photoshop on a mac 512k.Yourself?Before that I used things that were literally build from ground up (Unix, Dos) etc where everything was command line with dumb terminals. Before that school computer center. Before that punch tape. That sucked. Before I bought a rtf heli I built them from scratch. I would never disparage someone who doesn’t want to take the time to suffer and do that by the way.For some reason you seem to assume that everyone who buys into brands must be some kind of idiot who is being mislead and that there is no value if you don’t fight the good fight.

          1. kidmercury

            i buy into a lot of brands. i just don’t buy into brands that are obviously scams like apple and have already proven themselves to be dishonest.i avoid apple products precisely because i “just need to get the job done.” because of apple’s governance policies not enough tools work with them. if i want to admire a pretty box or look fashionable to a crowd of people that can’t think for themselves i’ll rock apple products. if i want to get stuff done i’ll stick to windows and criticize me for trying to “save the world,” though your comment is misguided and reflects little more than your own ignorance of what i say and do. this of course is far from surprising, though i am not troubled because i know that some day when you are older you will understand what i am saying.

          2. LE

            For clarity I just want to highlight the things you just said:”brands that are obviously scams like apple””proven themselves to be dishonest””look fashionable to a crowd of people that can’t think for themselves”The following could be correct you definitely know more than I do about you:”reflects little more than your own ignorance of what i say and do”

          3. kidmercury

            yup, i stand by all of them…..the third statement i admit i am just being a little antagonistic, there are some people who can think for themselves that use apple products, though i think those folks are still missing the bigger picture

          4. LE

            I want you to do a kickstarter where you go out with a camera and say shit like that to people and get their reaction on film. I will contribute to that project. Just try and mix in a variety of locations from the cornfields to the orange groves. A few high schools thrown in as well.

          5. kidmercury

            back in 2007/2008, i used to go to ground zero in new york, wearing my 9/11 was inside job t-shirt, and hand out stuff and shout. lol that was fun. the reaction is of course predictable, most people just ignore you.

          6. William Mougayar

            You must have been reading Seth Godin yesterday :)”Sometimes, a big profit is the sign that you’re doing something right, creating real value for people able to pay. Sometimes, though, it means you’re exploiting a weakness in the system.”But he’s talking about the big (junk) food companies who continue to bombard us aggressively with their ad campaigns (specifically Coca-Cola for e.g.)”The Perfect Crime” is a great read:

          7. Girish Mehta

            Read Seth’s post yesterday and couldn’t agree more.

          8. SubstrateUndertow

            To be fair “saving the world” is an relentlessly important job that everyone should be pursuing in someway at some level !It is what separates the PLAYER from the DEFECTORS.kidmercury = PLAYER

        2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

          Wow – on the side of the kid on this one – and does not this apply to ALL followers of fashion ?If I bought an iPhone (wont happen) my daughter would immediately give hers away. It has exclusivity merely because it is a ridiculous waste of resources.

        3. SubstrateUndertow

          I think you may be over playing the alignment between all those positive human attributes and mobile-phone branding preferences ?Just to clarify, you prefer Apple ?:-)

          1. kidmercury

            lol yes i must admit i am overplaying the alignment πŸ™‚

  22. awaldstein

    Data is interesting, what you do with it is what matters.This is not a philosophical decision, it’s a market and economics one.Most of my clients have to make a choice…one platform first the other HTML 5 to get started.Sure it’s country and solution specific but most are building for the iPhone first.Curious whether this is the same and why for other developers here.

    1. Dale Allyn

      Precisely correct, Arnold. If you’re building a game that is likely to be used while waiting for public transit; if you expect it to take off in Asia, etc.; you’d better deliver it in Android. Delivering in both is great, but if you can’t, Android will likely be the place to start for some types of projects.Other target markets will shift toward iOS first. In a perfect (well funded and engineered) world, the launch includes both, but that’s not practical in many/most cases. Know your market (easily said ;).

  23. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    Here is the actual data of iphone and android seperately for NYC…not that different.The image posted by Benedict Evans (and later adopted by Fred) is skewed towards…iPhone.

    1. ShanaC

      why is the image skewing?

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        it is the overlay of iPhone on top of android…and looks as though all are iPhone…(android data is underneeth…did you see both pictures in my comment)?

        1. ShanaC

          only one shows up. :/

          1. Wayne

            Click on More to see Kasi’s second picture.

      2. sprugman

        The red does seem to dominate when both are present. Hard to know if that’s an artifact of the graph or a color effect or because the red is larger. We don’t have a scale and the resolution is too imprecise to really see. All we can really say is that Manhattan is densely populated enough to fill with both.OTOH the UES and UWS do seem to be a little less dense for android than for iPhone.

        1. ShanaC

          totally unhelpful without overlaying census data.All of this wishes i hd time to go back and relearn processing (or switch to d3)

    2. kirklove

      Yup. The combined image of “all” devices is virtually useless.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        yes…it overlays iPhone on TOP and all others get buried underneath.I haven’t checked all cities …i checked NYC and Bombay…in-fact in Bombay…where ever iphone is there…there is android…but there are lots of places where there is only android and not a single iphone data.

  24. markslater

    the user behavior by platform that we see is very telling. Android and iphone users are extremely different. there is a very telling gap between install numbers and usage numbers when you look at both platforms.

  25. kirklove

    Saw this last week. While interesting, there is a big flaw in the way the graphics are presented. Check the the original source:…Here you can toggle over the different devices… Watch what happens when you turn “on” iPhone… It covers up most if not all of Android, vastly overskewing its dominance. I say this as a devoted Apple Fanboi, but the graphics are virtually useless as a result when “all” devices are enabled on it.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Similarly with Blackberry

    2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      This is what i am trying to say to AVCers for the past-hour…finally…u did… thanx.

      1. kirklove

        You def had it before me. Just didn’t see you post (sorry)

        1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam


        2. jason wright


      2. sprugman

        Even when toggling, the lack of any scale makes comparison pretty useless, at least for a population dense place like manhattan.

    3. fredwilson

      ouch! kid calls it racist graphics somewhere in this thread

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        knowing kid for all these years…you have a complaint? πŸ™‚

        1. fredwilson

          hell no

      2. kirklove

        Gotta love Kid.Don’t think it’s racist or trying be malicious at all. It’s great data. Just can give the wrong impression if viewed quickly and without context (like 99% of all data)

    4. kenberger

      I agree. the very first thing i do when looking at any data is to try and get a general sense of reasonable accuracy vs skewing.You do need to go to the mapbox link and dig there, as the color choices and overlays make this tough to read at first glance.Plus, the data is only for *Twitter users who have tweeted* AND did so from these devices.That last point brings up something else: this is not a map of where people necessarily *live*, it’s a map of where they’ve at least *visited* (which doesn’t make the data necessarily bad if you realize that). Check out NYC for example: all 3 area commercial airports + both baseball stadiums stand out as red. Look at Spain and it’s all green except for Madrid and Costa del Sol (spain’s beachhouse area).

    5. William Mougayar

      Yup. You need to toggle the colors to get more clarity. There’s a small delay but it shows up. You almost need to open a new window and put 2 screens side by side to see a good comparison, really.

    6. Meng He

      Perfect use case for this D3 Parallax map. That, combined with transparency would give a more accurate sense of overlay and layering.

    7. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      Seems to me an Implausible number of Android Users are involved in swimming – Now if this was an icefair I could believe it (bar the 400 year timeslip) but there have never been that many small boats on the thames!

  26. Matt A. Myers

    I’m in love with map visualizations. Black background always allows colours to pop out so much. So sexy.

  27. ShanaC

    As many people have pointed out, these pictures are very skewed. Further, we’re talking in the dark without census data.Anyone got both?

  28. ErikSchwartz

    I love the ghost trails on the Staten Island ferry route.

  29. Pete Griffiths

    Locked up?I am not so sure. Is there a sustainable competitive advantage? I doubt that the iphone has such an advantage. What does have real stickiness is its associated ecosystem and for the ‘wealthy’ who own iphones the non-financial cost of migrating may well be greater than any financial savings even if the products are ‘equal.’

  30. Sean Hull

    Very interesting visual, though judging by some of the comments it may look redder because of some graphical problems. That said I do agree with the statement that iphone is pricier and has locked up the top end of the market.There’s an ironic twist here. Although the iphone devices cost more, its easier for developers to build apps for iphone. Fewer devices and form factors means not having a moving target to test for. On Android you have a dizzying array of devices with different flavors of the OS, OEM versions, and underlying hardware from screen sizes to chips & cameras all complicating the field. If that isn’t enough you have a wild wild west of unregulated and uncontrolled app stores, full of malware and other dangerous downloads.I blogged about it: Why The Android Ecosystem Is Broken…

    1. Alexander Ainslie (@AAinslie)

      +1 read last week that Samsung has 26 screen sizes.

      1. Sean Hull

        Wow. That’s even more that I imagined. No wonder why devs I’ve talked to hate developing for Android.

  31. Paul Smalera

    @fredwilson:disqus the “data” is actually from a social data api company called GNIP, which sells the Twitter and Tumblr firehoses, and many others. Very interesting broker/middleman in this world. The visualizations are built via mapbox — another really interesting piece of this puzzle. Hope to see much more stuff like this as time goes on.

  32. CJ

    I was mentioning this to some friends a couple days ago. If you check out Chicago you get to see the racial and income divisions in pretty colors. iPhone has the northside and downtown areas locked up. These are mostly affluent-ish, white demographics. Android has the rest of the city, these are mostly middle to low income and/or minority. If you parse out to the west suburbs you can see iPhone pick up again in Oak Park/River Forest which is rather affluent. On and on. Blackberry is only prevalent in the downtown area – the major business center.

    1. jason wright

      Oak Park. Definitely affluent. Groupon terrain.home to Frank Lloyd Wright. love to live in one of his houses.

      1. CJ

        His houses are gorgeous, we’re going to do a tour this summer hopefully. All of the houses here are lovely too, it’s one of the things that drew us here. We were just driving about yesterday ogling the various houses and such. Very kid friendly too, if I ever have a say in it, I’m never moving back to the city.

      2. James Ferguson @kWIQly

        Saw a Post Office of his somewhere in Wisconsin once – it did nothing for me at all – I don’t get the fuss – concrete and fugly

        1. jason wright

          wouldn’t want to live in a post office

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            very fair – ha

  33. SD

    I would love to see how this map compares with google searches, facebook posts or p2p messages across multiple platforms. If you look at tweets as a proxy for the behavior of “digital-savvy” consumers, then I think these maps are quite useful in identifying the richest targets for “digital to physical” activities (eg: telling consumers they can get a coupon if they tweet from a particular location).But if you see “normals” as your main target, I would be careful about extrapolating this behavior across a broader set of consumers. This data represents one slice (albeit an important one) of the population.

  34. Chris Phenner

    Having just read ‘Data You Can Believe In’ and ‘Venture Capital Blends More Data-Crunching Into Choice of Targets’ in the NY Times (plus Ben’s post yesterday), I am expecting VCs will run out predictive models around their prospective investments that blend [socio data] + [social data] + [engagement data] to value firms based on (say) their ability to scale CPM yields if user trends hold.And I know that last snippet (‘if user trends hold’) is a big IF, but do we really expect that if Obama’s 2012 team can do serious data science before spending $400mm in TV budgets, does it not stand to reason that VC funds will make the same effort?

  35. elaineellis

    Wanted to make sure you have the background on these maps! Here is the post Mapbox wrote… and here is the post Gnip wrote…. Gnip provided all of the geotagged Tweets and the team at Mapbox and their data artist Eric Fischer created the maps.

  36. jason wright

    Russia looks fascinating on mapbox. the world’s largest country. a population squeezed in along a narrow band from west to east. millions of people living in cities we’ve never heard of. the dots in the darkness, illuminated by the web. cool, and inspiring.

  37. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Cat / PigeonHas anyone checked that Tweet frequency is constant across handsets ?Could be that the socio-economically challenged who have iOS products Tweet to flaunt their status – Maybe such people frequent “upmarket” areas to be seen to tweet.Suppose that carrying an iPhone is a delicious statement of social insecurity, does insecurity in NYC follow racial and socio-economic lines – Woody ???If so this post shows – carrying counts as credibility – pretty sad really if we all buy into that !

    1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

      By the way – I realise above could offend so many people on so many levels – not my intent – but a side effect – Sorry

  38. rick gregory

    The data is useless in more than one way. First… ‘iPhone’ vs ‘Android’? One’s a device, one’s a mobile OS. Comparing the two makes little sense. It would be more useful if we could differentiate between Android versions since most 4.x versions are likely to be recent and higher end devices, but mixing up the Galaxy S4 and the 3 year old Galaxy S or the HTC One and some cheap free phone makes the comparion ludicrous.Second, seeing you repeating Evans falsehood that the iPhone is more expensive is disappointing. A new, current model iPhone may well be more expensive than the average of all Android phones but it is NOT more expensive than the most recent Android flagship phones. Check the unlocked price for the Galaxy S4 on Amazon. It’s about $650. iPhone 5? $649. If you’re comparing range of prices you can’t just look at the iPhone 5, you’d need to include the 4 and 4S which are still available and start at… hmm.. free. But we can’t include the S3 from Samsung if we’re going to exclude the 4S from Apple or free but older/less powerful Android models without factoring in the iPhone 4.Third, even if you accept the mapping at face value your argument that developers should use this to guide what they do means they should lean to iOS, not Android. After all, if you’re selling your app are you going after the affluent, urban folks who are less price sensitive and may well drive trends among a dense population or do you want to try to win over the price conscious, suburban bargain hunter who doesn’t like to spend money?

  39. john

    Don’t forget that in the UK, the contract model is a phone price subsidy model so iPhones are not as upmarket as might be assumed.

  40. davidhclark

    I’m focused on Aisle right now and it’s going really well (every person-(only four) I’ve pitched wants to invest including a couple founders that have had billion dollar exits) but geez…You remember my other startup at all, Gridjot? I mentioned it again referring to Google Glass as we were walking out the door when you and USV did Sessions here in SLC…I never got a working product because I needed $ just to get something working b/c the tech was complicated (and over my head)…but it’s real time data on a map (and we were using MapBox). Our focus was to geo and time tag data. It’s the direction foursquare is headed now-time machine is Gridjot, except with Gridjot we took all public data and filtered/organized it and made it look sexy.Just had to vent a little. I’ve seen it brought up many times by you and other tech leaders and I wish I had figured it out. It will exist. I haven’t given up, and if it doesn’t exist after Aisle’s established, I’ll build the damn thing!!

  41. John Revay

    Just saw this headline consistent w Benedict Evans.Apple loses market share in Western Europe, India as consumers choose cheaper devicesRead more at