While the media has been good at playing up the browser war storyline in the mobile industry, it appears the most prolific browsers are the ones you likely never heard of.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Access, which provides technologies to handset makers, including mobile browsers, used information provided by comScore (NSDQ: SCOR), to determine that the company’s NetFront Browser is shipped on more handset models in the U.S., and in the top five European markets (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain), than any other browser.
Furthermore, based on comScore data from February, it determined that there are more mobile phones on the market with the NetFront Browser than any other mobile Internet browser. Specifically, it is estimated that the NetFront Browser is embedded in 27 percent of all handset models in the U.S., and 30 percent in Europe. Total deployments worldwide equaled 732 million as of Jan. 2009. Release.
Perhaps, what’s even more interesting is the other top browsers — the iPhone’s Safari browser, Microsoft’s mobile Internet Explorer, both don’t rank, and another popular browser — Opera — also doesn’t appear on the list (although that may be because the browser is more commonly downloaded by the end-user, rather than shipped from the manufacturer). In the U.S., Openwave (NSDQ: OPWV) and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry browser came in at second and third with the most marketshare (Openwave sold their browser/client business to Purple Labs (now called Myriad) in June 2008). In Europe, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) Series 60 and Obigo browsers ranked second and third, respectively. It’s likely this is of some use to developers, who must ensure that their sites are viewable on the browsers with the most marketshare.