Quantity & Quality – Mutually Exclusive

Over at Fotune, Philip Elmer-DeWitt tells us iOS’s Internet market share hits a record 54.65%.
He writes:

You would think that with nearly 50% of the global market for smartphones that Google’s (GOOG) Android would also dominate the Web.

So how does the competition stack up?

Android, with 16.26%, is still trailing Java ME’s 18.52%. Nokia’s (NOK) discontinued Symbian, at 6.12%, is fading fast and Research in Motion’s (RIMM) is holding steady at a negligible 3.29%.

Elmer-DeWitt points out the fact that Apple has an advantage with iPhones and iPads and iPod Touches. This is true, but I think there’s another piece to this equation.
If you’ve opened a Best Buy flyer/insert in the last year, you’ll usually see a 2-page spread of Android phones. They range from $199 to $99 to free with no recognizable differences to the average, non-techie user.
Now with over 50% of the phone share, Android is clearly kicking ass in raw numbers, but if you happen to have used some of the phones in the in range featured at Best Buy, you’ll know some of them offer horrible Human Experiences.
Chuggy, choppy, buggy, crashy.
So my theory on why Android has over 50% market share but only 16.26% Internet market share is: People are getting suckered into buying these Android phones (“hey, they look slick like the iPhone”), not understanding there’s a huge difference in quality between models. Then they start to use their phone, only to realize it sucks. People don’t like their Android phones, so they stop using them.
I was in the car with a good friend of mine recently and I handed him my iPhone 4 to help me navigate to our other friend’s house. He started flicking around the Google Map, and said “Oh my god, this interface is so smooth.” He happened to have an Android phone on the lower end of the quality spectrum and was only now coming to understand what he had bought.
Quality and quantity are mutually exclusive characteristics.