AdMob has revealed the dramatic changes the mobile industry has seen in their latest Mobile Metrics Report, released just this morning. Believe it or not, it was only a year ago that the Motorola RAZR scored as the number one phone here in the U.S. while the iPhone was the only touchscreen device to even make the list of top ten handsets. Only a year later, and so much has changed. Now half of the top ten are touchscreen devices, six include Wi-Fi capabilities, and six have mobile application stores. And as you would expect, this new crop of super-powered phones are making heavy use of the mobile web.Mobile ad firm
Key Takeaway #1: iPhone Still the Top Smartphone Worldwide and Has Traffic to Prove It
Among the devices making the heaviest use of the mobile web are the iPhone and its non-smartphone counterpart, the iPod Touch. The data traffic created by these two handhelds has increased 19 times from September 2008 to this past month and now accounts for 43% of all smartphone requests worldwide. In the U.S., that percentage is even slightly higher, with iPhone traffic accounting for nearly half (48%) of all smartphone requests.
Apple devices (iPhone and iPod Touch) also claim the top two spots on both the U.S. and the worldwide charts of top handsets. However, feature phones like the RAZR v3 and Samsung's R450 are still making the top ten list as well and account for 60% of ad requests in the U.S. - a figure that's likely due to the unlimited data plans available with each of these devices.
Key Takeaway #2: Watch Out! Android is Rising Fast
Now climbing up the charts, Google's Android, the newcomer to the mobile operating system game, is beginning to have an impact on mobile web traffic as well. From August to September of 2009, the percentage of smartphone traffic generated by devices running the Android OS grew a whopping 13% over the course of the month. That's a dramatic increase in such a short period of time and gives credence to recent reports that Android is poised to become the number two smartphone in the worldwide market. While still far behind the iPhone OS in terms of traffic with only 17% of U.S. traffic and only 10% of traffic worldwide, Google's mobile OS is already beating out competitors like RIM, the maker of Blackberry devices, and Windows Mobile. It has also claimed two spots on the top 10 chart of handset models in the U.S with the HTC Dream coming in at number 3 and the HTC Magic coming in at number 10. Worldwide, the Dream is also number 3, but the Magic only makes it to spot number 15.
Key Takeaway #3: Outside of U.S., Mobile Web Strong in India, Indonesia, U.K., Philippines
When looking at the number of ad requests by country, the U.S. is still dominating with 47.3% of all requests coming from the States. The next nearest country, India, only comes in at 6.5%. Rounding out the top five are Indonesia, the U.K., and the Philippines. These numbers point to heavy mobile web use in each of these countries as compared with the rest of the world.
When grouped by larger regions, North America is number one with 49.5% of requests, most of that from the U.S., and the second largest region is Asia, accounting for 25.3% of requests. Western Europe, Africa, and Latin America follow with 9.4%, 5.3% and 5.0% respectively.
Looking at just percentage increases in traffic growth, a different picture appears. Latin America is showing a large percent increase year-over-year at 0.6%, second only to North America's 1.1%. Other regions in the top five, while still accounting for large numbers of requests, actually saw slight decreases in growth (less than 0.5%) over the past year.
Smartphones are Taking Over, Mobile Web Grows
While none of the data included in this report is all that surprising, it's interesting to see actual numbers put to the reported trends. We can now see the disproportionate amount of web surfing done by iPhone users, no doubt thanks to the phone's Safari web browser, a vast improvement over the browsers included in many other mobile devices on the market.
It's also worth noting how fast Android is moving up the charts right now. It could very well be the next contender to the smartphone crown, especially given the company's plans to continue spreading its OS across numerous devices worldwide. As Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently declared, "Android adoption is about to explode." Also, AdMob noted on an earlier blog entry that there are already 12 Android phones available through 32 carriers in 26 countries. By the time they release their next Mobile Metrics report, those numbers are sure to have increased.
What all this means to the consumer is that smartphones are now edging out feature phones as the devices of choice. More phones than ever come with the advanced capabilities like touchscreens, full-featured web browsers, and Wi-Fi. With features like these, more people will begin to surf the mobile web and download mobile applications. This, in turn, will drive related changes in mobile platforms, communication, e-Commerce, and more, all of which are bound to see similar upward trends over the coming months.