Only recently, it seemed like Apple was on the ropes in the ongoing fight for mobile dominance with Android. But more recently, the tale of the tape seems to indicate that the battle is far from over. This is true especially in certain geographical areas like the U.K, where iOS accounts for an outsized portion of mobile data use, as it pertains both to apps and to the mobile web.
Earlier this week, the GSMA reported that 65 percent of devices that offer Internet-connected apps use iOS as their operating system, compared with only 30 percent for Android. This is only a measurement of connected apps that need to hook into a cellular network or active Wi-Fi Internet connection to transfer data, so offline apps and general phone use don’t factor in. But that’s a huge margin, and one that network operators eager to sign users up for lucrative, high-limit bandwidth plans are no doubt paying attention to. Developers, too, will likely see this as an indication that if you want to land connected customers, iOS is the way to go.
Mobile web developers might glean the same takeaway when considering the latest data from comScore. The iPad is running away with mobile web browsing among iPads in the U.K., with 21.3 percent of total mobile traffic. Android tablets hold only 0.3 percent of web access in the market, by contrast. The iPhone is still king, however, with 29.9 percent of the overall picture. Android smartphones only represent 15 percent of U.K. web traffic, which is even less than the iPad taken alone.
Admittedly, Android still dominates mobile web access in the U.S., accounting for 35.6 percent of traffic on smartphones, according to comScore, beating out the iPhone’s 23.5 percent by a decent margin. But the U.S. is the exception, not the rule. The iPad and iPhone are the top contenders for mobile web access in most other countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Brazil and Japan. Nor is iOS just barely edging out the Google competition: In some cases, Android lags behind the iPhone by 10 to 20 percentage points. Add to that a new report by Yankee Group (via BGR) that says 40 percent of European smartphone shoppers intend to buy an iPhone next, versus only 19 percent intending to go with Android, and the global picture for iOS is very rosy.
Despite Android’s gains in the mobile device market in recent years, Apple still seems to have a hold on mobile data use and web access in many key international markets. It’s a reality that developers have to take into account, especially when preparing apps and websites that appeal to a broad international user base. If your Flash intro automatically cuts out the 50 percent of Australians who browse the mobile web using an iPhone, for instance, that’s a lot of potential customers you aren’t reaching.
Apple may not be the only game in town, but it does have a growing stake in the burgeoning smartphone user community, which is turning more and more to mobile devices to access the web.