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Androids Finally Invade New Zealand

David Silversmith
David Silversmith

While many are waiting for the new version of the iPhone, phones based on Google's Android operating system are rapidly gaining traction with several big releases finally heading to New Zealand.

For the last year only 3 Android handsets were available in New Zealand.  However, at least three new Android smartphones have been announced. First up will be the Milestone (alternatively called the Droid or the Milestone depending on the country) offered by Telecom. Vodaphone has announced several new Android phones including the Xperia X10 Mini, which is the world’s smallest Android, and the HTC Desire.  Most interesting is that the X10 mini will be released in New Zealand almost at the same time as the rest of the world.

It is an interesting time for more Android phones hit the New Zealand shores. Even with strong iPhone sales, NPD reports that the Android operating system (OS) has been shaking up the U.S. mobile phone market in the first quarter (Q1) of 2010, moving past Apple to take the number-two position among smartphone operating systems.  While no single Android phone model has come anywhere near the sales of the iPhone; on a collective basis the phones based on Google’s software are growing by leaps and bounds.  That highlights the big difference between Apple and Android - choice.  Android-based handsets provide much of the same functionality as the iPhone — but the service is available on more carriers and on more phones than Apple's closed universe.

In terms of applications, the Google Android Market stands out from other smartphone marketplaces with a 57% share of free applications, way more than what the other stores average. Most of them clearly circle around 25% free vs 75% paid, according to Distimo’s research findings.  

At the same time, AppStoreHQ has put together a comprehensive report detailing just how many developers have apps for various platforms and their estimate has around 43,000 developers for Apple and a mere 10,000 for Android.  Though, there are now over 1,400 developers who are working with products on both systems.  While there will be more Apple based applications for the foreseeable future, the Android marketplace is gaining many converts in the developer community.

If you are looking for great service with email and instant messaging the way you want it - an Android phone is a great option - especially as more and more models arrive in New Zealand.  However, if the applications remain your number one priority, and not withstanding any iPhone 4 issues, the iPhone remains the best option

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