Google announced its cloud music service last week. Normally we don’t care about frothy consumer stories, but we are knee-deep in Android market validation this month and have to chime in on the iTunes v Google Music debate.
iTunes has its fans, but don’t underestimate the newcomer. Android handsets and personal computers can download and purchase music easily. According to Larry Magid at HuffPo:
“In a direct challenge to Apple’s iTunes Store, Google now lets you purchase music from the Android Market from an Android device or a personal computer.”
Why does this mattert? Android represents 53% of the smartphone OS market and growing rapidly. Apple is about 25% and shrinking. In China, the smartphone market is just taking off and it favors Android substantially. Smartphone app downloads have increased 870% in China between January and October 2011.
Maybe you’ve had your iPhone for a few years. Billions of people are getting their first smartphone in the next few years and it will almost certainly be an Android phone.
Not that iPhone isn’t a better device, it’s just economics. You can get a premium Android smartphone in India for $160 (USD) without a contract. That will sell a lot of phones. And maybe music, too.