A couple recent reports that I’ve read for my day job suggests that although Android devices continue to outnumber and outsell in whole iPhone devices that iOS still reigns supreme as the platform of choice when it comes to revenue and actual mobile web usage.

Spreed:inc  has took notice of a couple notes in recent Mobile Marketer and Mobile Marketing Watch that points to the difference.

Mobile Web Browsing Dominated by Apple’s iOS

According to the most recent data made available, last year ended with iOS having secured a 52% market share of mobile web browsing. Net Market Share reported Monday that Android – Google’s popular mobile operating system – significantly trails iOS with regard to leading mobile devices used to browse the mobile web. As of December 2011, Android only controls a 16.2 percent market share of mobile web browsing. In second place behind Apple is Java ME with a 21.3 percent market share.

Android controls 47pc of market share: comScore

The Android operating system still reigns supreme with 47 percent of market share, according to comScore’s latest mobile report. The comScore mobile subscriber report looked at how the smartphone market breaks down by device during the month of November. The study also looked at the most popular activities that consumers do on their mobile devices.

Something has to be said for actually being a vehicle for revenue. It doesn’t matter one bit to devs or advertisers that there are a billion devices out there if they are essentially being used as feature phones.  I personally can attest that I have 4 or 5 close friends who have bought Android devices on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile and use the phones only for texting and the occasional web search.  People purchase Android phones for the express purpose of getting off contract and using prepaid plans where data only refers to surfing the web not app data.

In any case I think this is a situation that bears watching for developers and might be yet another sign of why iOS continues to get the first look from developers despite more Android devices actually being in use.

What are your experiences? Have any of you noticed an abundance of people using Android phones as super-feature phones?


  1. Android phones suck.

    So there’s a few outliers. Galaxy SII, Nexus lineup, etc.

    But MOST of them simply blow. How many are there available on the market, and how many of them can hold a candle to the iPhone 4? Yeah, not many. Then compare them to the iPhone 4S and it’s even worse. The browser is too complex (both for the user and the hardware). The menu system is ridiculous, the hardware is extremely varied from awesome to complete shit and they’re all expected to run the same apps.

    Most people I’ve talked to that own Android devices don’t even know you can get apps on them. They don’t know that you can use voice searching. They have no clue that you can do 90% of the shit we would care about on sites like these.

    It’s a shame that it’s the #1 OS on the market really since it’s an overly complicated, feature-too-rich OS that only a fraction of its users will use to its full potential. The main reason that android has 46% of the market and iOS has 26% (or whatever the numbers are this week) is the fact that android is on probably a couple hundred different devices. Choice is awesome for the consumer at first glance, but when you take all of the issues into consideration, I think that it ended up making it harder for people to come away from an Android device purchase feeling good about it. ESPECIALLY since the device they just purchased will be made obsolete by the very company they just purchased it from in a matter of only months.

    Apple figured out how to play to the consumers. They make products that people want, that have great features, are fast, powerful, long lasting (both in terms of battery life, market life, and usability – I mean, they STILL sell the iPhone 3GS, and original iPods are still kickin’ it out there in the real world). They realized that customer service is one of the most important things in the business so they have dedicated personnel at every one of their incredibly packed and constantly busy stores that are there to help you in any way you can come up with in using your Apple products, and they do this all with out selling you a product that you need a user manual for.

    Seriously, open up the average consumer product and tell me it doesn’t have a user manual. The iPhone? nope. iPad? Ha.

    I just bought a Sony Google TV Blu-Ray player today and it has a novel of documentation in the box. I got a 3DS gaming system for each of my kids for christmas and they came with instruction manuals that weighed more than the 3DS unit itself. And yet, apple sells these incredibly powerful, robust, and admittedly expensive devices and they don’t toss a novel at you so you can figure out how to turn it on (it’s the power button on top btw).

    All of this makes Apple’s approach to (insert industry here) a step above their competition’s attempts, and they’re just getting started in the mobile market place. Apple has been around since the 80s doing computers – and yes, they’ve had some colossal failures (LISA?!) but they’re nipping on the heels of HP in terms of market share in computers. They’re #1 or #2 in smartphone manufacturing (depending on which quarterly report and news site you’re reading), and no one comes close in terms of music and apps sales (mobile and computer).

    Ranting on about this is silly, but the differences in Apple vs. Google are so apparent that I can’t believe that some people don’t see them until it’s too late. I’ve had no less than a dozen conversations lately with people that have an Android ‘super phone’ from a year or less ago that have been either asking questions about the iPhone, or have simply made the jump. Their main reason? Simplicity.

    Consumers want it easy. I’m assuming that’s why people who have latched onto WP7 have stuck with it – compared to Android, BB or WinMo, it’s dead simple. And it’s an alternative to iOS (albeit an ugly one ;) haha )


    I’m done with this rant.. I type too much about apple sometimes and I start to feel like my point will be lost on a fan base that is hailing to a company a bit further north for no other reason than some ‘live’ icons – errrrr…. tiles.

  2. Chris Android is available on all the pay-as-you-go carriers. Boost Mobile, Virgin, MetroPCS and the like. So there is no competition (BB isn’t competition) and so Google gets to spout off like they are crushing the iPhone head up when they are not. I’d say a good 25% of Android devices activated are glorified feature phones.

  3. For Android its the other way round (especially on ICS) – on tablets I find it mediocre but love it on phones. Have yet to see a flagship ICS tablet when my opinion might change.
    . Claw Digital Review

  4. Murani, excellent point.

    Claw, android tablets are incredibly frustrating to use. Especially when the ipad is so incredibly easy to use. ICS adds a certain degree of ease of use to it, but is still far too complicated in my opinion.

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