iPhone Dominates but Android Is Fastest Growing OS: Report

The iPhone OS has Google's Android at its heels, but all that may change with the launch of the iPad, says a new report from AdMob, which tracked smartphone, feature phone and MID network traffic for a year.

The growth of smartphones running Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating systems, coupled with users' heavy application adoption, is driving smartphone traffic over wireless networks, which increased by about 193 percent between February 2009 and February 2010.
The finding comes from a March 25 AdMob report that looked to separate the network traffic between smartphones, feature phones and MIDs (mobile Internet devices) over the past year. The firm, which measures ad requests and impressions, not sales, found smartphones to account for 48 percent of AdMob's worldwide traffic in February 2010, up from 35 percent a year earlier.
Feature phone traffic declined from 58 percent to 35 percent over the year, as more users switched to smartphones.
MID traffic, however, driven in large part by the Apple iPod touch, showed the strongest growth of the three form factors, increasing from approximately 7 percent in February 2009 to 17 percent a year later. While the Sony PSP and Nintendo DSi contributed, the iPod touch accounted for 93 percent of MID traffic.
"In absolute terms," states the report, "mobile Internet device category traffic increased 403 percent."
Breaking the numbers down by operating systems, Google's Android was the fastest-growing in the AdMob network, with requests increasing from 2 percent to 24 percent over the year, thanks to the Motorola Droid, the HTC Dream, Hero and Magic and the Motorola Cliq - the five top Android devices on the network.
Nonetheless, Apple's iPhone was the leading OS, with its requests increasing from 33 percent to 55 percent over the year, while over the same period Symbian device requests fell from 43 percent to 18 percent.
Worldwide in February 2010 alone, the iPhone OS accounted for 50 percent of smartphone requests, with Android at 24 percent, followed by Symbian with 18 percent and RIM with 4 percent. In the United States, however, Android is gaining ground on the iPhone more quickly.
While in November 2009, the iPhone was responsible for 55 percent of U.S. smartphone requests, to Android's 27 percent, by January 2010, those numbers adjusted to 47 percent for Apple and 38 percent Android. And in February 2010, the percentages slid again toward a more even 44 percent for the iPhone OS and 42 percent for Android.
Apple, surely, has taken note of the Google OS on its heels, and analysts have suggested that Apple's lawsuit against HTC has come at a time of pariculalry strong growth for Android, partly at the expense of the iPhone.
A March 1 report from Quantcast showed the iPhone claiming 63.7 percent of mobile Web consumption in North America in February, while Android held 15.2 percent. The figures, however, represented a 3.2 percent monthly decline for Apple, but an 8.3 percent jump for Android.
The good news for Apple, however, was that 11 percent of the smartphone users surveyed by AdMob in February said that they were interested in purchasing an Apple iPad.
"As more mobile Internet devices [such as the iPad] are introduced into the market, it will be interesting to see how traffic from the category grows, relative to smartphones and feature phones," AdMob wrote on its blog, where the full report is available.