iPhone and iPod Touch See International Surge

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AdMob, the mobile advertising network, has released its latest metrics report (PDF), which looks at trends for the year. In 2009, one of those would be 150 percent growth for iPhone OS devices on AdMob’s network, with the greatest growth for the iPhone and iPod touch outside the U.S. While this is great news for the platform, it’s not quite the world domination the pretty charts suggest.

According to AdMob, there were 25.3 million unique iPhone OS users in their network in November, a unique user being one that has seen at least one ad request in a given month. That represents less than half the 60 million or so iPhone OS devices that have been sold, but it’s still a valid sample measuring change, change that favors Apple, at least for now.

As previously reported, the iPhone in Japan has come to represent nearly half the smartphone market, so that’s in keeping with what AdMob reports in Japan this year. France saw a big jump too, which could be a result of the end of carrier exclusivity. While China is also up, the lackluster official launch of the iPhone, only 5,000 units sold, likely has little to do with that growth. Gray-market, often pre-owned iPhones will continue to dominate iPhone sales in China into 2010, but that’s not biggest problem for Apple; that would be continued growth in the U.S.

Not that 100 percent growth is bad, but in the U.S. iPhone OS devices have likely reached a saturation point, at least compared to other countries. For those pining for a Verizon iPhone, this relative slowing of growth should be a strong incentive for Apple to abandon its exclusivity agreement with AT&T. Another incentive would be competition from Android.

AdMob shows Android traffic up dramatically over the year. For November, Android accounted for 27 percent of ad requests, up from 20 percent in October, with 88 percent of traffic generated in the US. Expect that to change in 2010 with a profusion of Android devices and deals being made domestically and internationally. While 2009 may have been the year of iPhone OS, unless Apple abandons carrier exclusivity 2010 may belong to Google.

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