Square often seems like Apple’s long-lost cousin. Square designed its first payment products Reader and Stand around iOS products, and the two companies share the same obsession for design and ease-of-use. But that perceived close-knit relationship is just an illusion; Square’s merchant customers are rapidly gravitating toward Android devices.
As of January, the split was nearly 50/50 between merchants using iPhones, iPods Touches or iPads and those using Android smartphones, according to data released today by Square, and Android definitely seems to have the momentum. Three years ago iOS devices dominated with a 62 percent share of Square devices, with Android holding the other 38 percent.
Why the shift? The obvious answer is that there are a lot more Android phones in the world than there are iPhones. And small merchants who are buying devices specifically to accept payments are likely gravitating toward cheaper phones, which Android has is spades. This does make me one wonder, though, if Square plans to add support for Android tablets in its new Stand countertop point-of-sale platform. The answer isn’t necessarily yes.
Unlike Reader, which just plugs into the headphone jack of a smartphone, Stand has designed around the iPad from the beginning. While the iPad once dominated the tablet market, Android is now exerting its might there as well, so there’s bound to be increasing pressure on Square to make its virtual casual register Android-friendly.