Android too big to remain unloved

RTÉ Digital event explores the quirks of consumer behaviour on mobile devices


Are app-developing companies ignoring Android users, or are Android users ignoring their apps?

Although Google’s fast-rising Android operating system enjoyed a much larger share of new smartphone purchases in the five biggest EU markets in December (and close to a 50 per cent share of ownership overall), users of Apple’s iOS were far more likely to use apps and shop on their phones, the RTÉ Digital Mobile Monday conference heard on Tuesday.

Data from comScore shows that in December 2012, a quarter of all iPhone owners in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK made a purchase on their phone, while only 13 per cent of Android owners did. “They’re very much more engaged than the Android user,” Don Howarth from comScore Europe said.

Keith Davey from Marino Software, the company that developed the RTÉjr app for RTÉ Digital, said understanding how owners of various devices consume content was “a dark art at the moment”. Not every device running Android is as fancy as a Samsung Nexus, and owners of cheaper models are less likely to be heavy app users.

“In some ways, it’s a chicken-and-egg situation,” said Howarth. “If you have got apps for Android, perhaps they will use them more. We can only report what we see. But I think it’s important not to forget the Android market.”

Aisling McCabe, RTÉ Digital’s director of strategic partnerships, said it wasn’t always easy to ensure its audience “got the same quality of experience” across all devices, but that was RTÉ’s aim. “We are constantly trying to look at what is the next change in consumer behaviour.”