Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Over time, users become as passionate about their operating system choices as they might about their favourite sports teams. Device owners are known to become very defensive and argue about their selection.
Google's latest iteration of the Android operating system, version 7.0 Nougat, has been commercially available for a week, being initially rolled out across late-model Nexus phones and tablets. Nougat offers improved security and usability and an enhanced development architecture.
For most Android users, the changes will appear subtle, but Google added one feature for current iPhone users: a migration process to move music, photos and contacts from iOS to Nougat. The method isn't entirely automated and involves a few steps, as documented by Google, but there is now more official support than ever.
Content storage is certainly an important variable in platform stickiness. It takes some time and user engagement to make the switch, but at this point, the emotional attachment is probably the harder bond to break. Even with Nougat, there is no wildly compelling reason for iPhone users to make the migration from iOS.
Between the two dominant platforms, many Western markets have found a stable state, typically with Android taking a bigger share and iOS hovering between 30 percent and 50 percent, and we see no reason this will change at a drastic pace. As smartphone penetration rates surpass 80 percent in many countries, people have made their choices and without some standout new features, it's doubtful that there will be a stampede in one direction or the other.
Google is unlikely to break the stalemate in markets where it would like to shake things up, though we do note Android's absolute dominance in many developing markets. At this point, the similarities between Android and iOS are far greater than the differences, and while Nougat works well on Nexus devices, it's not enough to break the devotions of platform emotions.