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I'd be interested in seeing these studies, as all I have to go on is personal experience and experience with the GAOSP, MustyMod and the popular custom builds on Android forums.

So, you buy a new Android phone, try to download the Twitter app, and realise that your 2 month old phone will never be able to run it. Does the phone work?

A lot of custom OS projects wouldn't exist today if consumers believed it did.

I googled a bit, but can't find any numbers any more. I thought I remembered a few 'studies' (I'm using this very lightly, this included self-reported sales numbers from manufacturers and blog posts from industry watchers with estimates) mentioned last fall. All I can find now is how many more average purchases iPhone users make (compared to Android), but that doesn't say anything about the shape of the curve of course - if iPhone users are overall equally likely to buy apps, and only 10% of the most hardcore Android users buy the same amount, the average for Android is down, but with a lot of users not buying (this is my assertion, like I said I can't back this up with credible numbers).

Anyway, my main point is that 'twitter' is something most users have only heard from on TV and don't even know what it is. For a regular user, a phone works when you can make phone calls with it, send text messages and set reminders/use it as an (alarm) clock. Then there are fancy features like using it for navigation (which is something they're already familiar with from standalone devices), contact/full agenda sync, and password management; and reading news sites; and post on facebook when they're so bored out of their mind that they really don't know what else to do.

And then there's the uber-advanced, only-nerds-do-this, full phone-centered lifestyle, where as much as possible is automated through phone apps. This is where twitter-client downloading people fall into - web nerds, turtle-neck wearing marketing people and art students. Of course in absolute numbers this is still a sizeable market, but it's only a fraction of the overall 'mobile phone' customer base. It will become more main stream in time, but not now...

How many OS projects are really used? A couple of hundred users, a couple of thousands for popular custom android roms? That's still marginal.

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