What The Heck Do They Do With All Those Android Devices?

Everyone knows that Android has all the market share in smartphones and has achieved near parity or parity with Apple's iPad in tablets, but I want to know what the heck people are doing with those devices. Every single data point that I've seen shows again and again that at the very least Apple's iOS devices have a massively disproportionate share of use.

For instance, Apple's iPad accounted for 88.3 percent of tablet devices used to make online purchases on Black Friday. That's according to IBM, which also said that iPhone accounted for 8.7 percent of online purchases compared to Android's 5.5 percent.

Clearly Android devices aren't being used to do much shopping.

Another data point is comScore's reports on subscriber share show Apple with an ever-increasing share of smartphone subscribers in the U.S. This share continues to grow quarter after quarter. In March, comScore said that Apple had 37.8 percent share, a gain of 3.5 points and much higher than Apple's share of sales.

Certainly Android devices are being used to make phone calls, but they seem to have a very short lifespan compared to iOS devices.

In January, Chitika reported that iPad had 78.86 percent of tablet-based Internet traffic. Clearly Android tablets aren't being used to surf the Web.

Last year Nielsen found that iOS users had an average of 41 apps installed on their devices compared to 32 for Android users. Android owners aren't known for paying for apps either. Clearly Android owners aren't as app-happy as iOS.

On Friday, airline Wi-Fi provider Gogo released an infographic (included below) breaking down device use up in the air. That's what sparked me to write this mini-rant, because guess what? iOS devices account for 84 percent of their business.

84 percent.

Looking at just "mobile phones," iPhone owners account for 73 percent of smartphones buying time with the company.

What the heck are Android device owners actually doing with their Android devices? Clearly they aren't surfing the Internet on airplanes.

Gogo's data is limited to customers willing to pay up for a connection through the company's service, so maybe it would be more to fair to say that Android owners aren't willing to pay for access. As noted above, however, every piece of data I've seen shows that they just aren't interested in using their devices for much of anything.

Why is that? For tablets, I've long maintained that the experience is the killer app for tablets. With very few native apps for Android tablets, the experience isn't there. People buy the tablets, especially Amazon's Kindle device, and find there's not much they can—or want to—do with it.

If that wasn't the case, Apple's tablet share would be far less than the 50 percent the company has maintained with its higher-priced iPad product line.

For smartphones, much of Android's market share is derived from cheap devices with cheap screens and cheap components being bought by the low end of the market. Not only are these customers less plugged in by definition—the high end of the Android market is buying the really nice devices like the Samsung GS3 and Note II—the cheap devices have a short life expectancy before they're tossed. There is no secondary market for the cheap devices.

If you're an Android user who uses their device for all kinds of things, I'm not talking about you. I know there are plenty of people working the heck out of their Android devices. In fact, I recently went on record as saying that Google Now could be a real game changer in the smart device market.

This piece is not an effort to say that Android devices can't do anything, but the numbers don't lie. Most Android owners don't do much with their device once they get it, and I would really like to know why.

Here's Gogo's infographic:

Gogo Infographic

Source: Gogo