iPhone Rules Mobile Web; Android and webOS Pick Up Steam

iphone3gThe iPhone still rules when it comes to traffic on the wireless web, according to the latest figures from AdMob, but Google’s (s goog) Android and Palm’s (s palm) webOS are picking up steam. The San Mateo, Calif.-based mobile ad company today said the iPhone (not including the iPod touch) accounted for 40 percent of wireless web usage in August, up from 33 percent in February. Android showed steady gains as well, jumping to 7 percent from 2 percent during the six-month period, and webOS — which only became available in June with the launch of the Pre — claimed 4 percent market share.

The Pre’s market share of mobile Internet traffic is impressive given its June launch date and the limited number of handsets on the market. And Android’s momentum is likely to continue in the coming months as a slew of new handsets with the OS are launched from manufacturers including HTC, LG, Motorola (s mot), Samsung and INQ.

But a closer look at AdMob’s geographic breakdown indicates a huge opportunity for newcomers in Asia, where Nokia (s nok) currently owns 50 percent market share of mobile web traffic and its Symbian platform claims an astonishing 85 percent. Nokia has done a fantastic job tapping emerging markets where fixed-line Internet access is rare, but mobile data usage in Asia will ramp up quickly as 3G networks and handsets come online in China. China can be a difficult market for foreigners — as evidenced by the government’s mandate to disable Wi-Fi on the iPhone — but look for the iPhone OS to build on its 12 percent share of the region’s wireless Internet traffic in a hurry as Apple’s phone becomes available to users in the world’s largest handset market.