Google's chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt feels pretty confident about Android's place in the smartphone market right now, particularly in relation to Apple. In an interview with Bloomberg, Schmidt said that "we're winning that war pretty clearly now."
Google isn't winning smartphone wars, Samsung is. If we truly want to compare Google vs Apple, we have to look at how Nexus devices perform against iOS devices. Does Google’s Nexus portfolio have any substantial market position? No. According to Samsung, The Galaxy Nexus captured 0.5% of the market with sales of a mere $250 million in its first two quarters. In comparison, Apple sold $16.7 billion worth of iPhone 4S's in it's first quarter after launch. Smartphone buyers love the Samsung Galaxy SIII and the iPhone 5. No one takes a second look at devices like the Nexus 4.
I myself bought a Galaxy Nexus last year but was left unimpressed. I really liked the OS but the battery life coupled with underwhelming performance left me wanting. I came to iOS because of the user experience. I could care less for what kind of SoC or GPU is put in the device. As long as my games and apps don't lag and my battery lasts for the entire day, I'm happy. So far, Apple has delivered.
Honestly, I'm not excited that the Nexus devices haven't taken over a larger market share. I really want people to experience the true Android OS. But with companies like Samsung that cater to wireless carriers like Verizon, it's hopeless to have these dreams. The android powering the SIII and the Droid Razr is an adulterated, locked down version that benefits the wireless carriers not the end users. That's why carriers advertise the android powered devices: they have complete control over the OS.
From my perspective, Google doesn't have a chance against Apple if it doesn't gain some sort of footing in the mobile market share world. Sure Samsung is killing it with the SIII, but in the end, the true beneficiaries here are Samsung and the wireless carriers.
Apple’s has what no other smartphone vendor has: leverage. People love the iPhone and are willing to pay a premium for it. Everyone has a different taste but majority of people I know like Apple’s devices but are wary because of the lack of customizability options. The hardware is beautiful and appealing. And with Forstall gone and Ive taking over, iOS 7 will hopefully be a breakthrough in design for iOS. Wireless carriers hate the fact that Apple, not they, have the power over end users. Unfortunately, Google doesn't have this type of leverage.
I think that Google will abandon Android and let OEMs like Samsung update their versions of the OS. Google doesn't really have any leverage and with heavy customizations, OEMs have taken full control of their devices. The true android OS has is all but a playtoy for Google and it's die hard fans.
I dream of a device that gives me Google services like Google Now, Gmail, GCal, GReader, and Google Maps tied with Apple’s beautiful OS backed by a wireless carrier controlled by both Apple and Google. But that's just a dream.