The iPhone may have lost its luster in Asia, at least in key “trend-setting” cities, according to a Reuters report. Consumers in these cities are experiencing a so-called iPhone fatigue, and are driven to switch to other brands and platforms.
This effect is due, in part, to consumers’ “desire to be different” and because of the wide selection of smartphone alternatives. Chief among these is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 — which is actually a “phablet” or superphone — which offers a mix in convenience and portability between a smartphone and tablet.
For some, it’s a matter of standing out from the crowd, but some cite benefits of Android devices, like bigger screens, as a big draw for Android devices. And with cross-platform apps making it easy to switch between platforms without losing data, users have an easier choice, and are not constrained from switching.
According to traffic measurements from StatCounter, iOS use in Singapore — which includes the iPhone and iPad — fell from a peak of 72% in January 2012 to 50% this month. Meanwhile, Android rose from 20% to 43% in the same period. In Hong Kong, the iPhone used to have a 45% market share, but this has dwindled to 30%.
Apple remains to be a top brand, though. “Apple is still viewed as a prestigious brand, but there are just so many other cool smartphones out there now that the competition is just much stiffer,” said Tom Clayton, CEO of Singapore-based Bubble Motion, which has developed a social media app and voice blogging service called Bubbly.
This trend has encouraged bill-splitting app BillPin to diversifying into Android. While co-founder Aileen Sim says the startup initially planned to launch only on iOS, the rising popularity of Android compelled the team to build for this platform, too.
As for Singapore’s and Hong Kong’s relevance, the region looks to these two city-states for upcoming trends. “Singapore and Hong Kong tend to be, from an electronics perspective, leading indicators on what is going to be hot in Western Europe and North America, as well as what is going to take off in the region,” says Jim Wagstaff, who runs enterprise app development firm Jam Factory.
But with Android on the rise, how soon will the region’s love affair for Google’s ecosystem last, until we experience a similar “fatigue” and rally back to competing platforms like iOS, or even Windows Phone and the upcoming BlackBerry 10?
Featured image credits: Tech Wire Asia
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