What’s happened in the smartphone wars over the past year

Apple Online Store “It’s been a year since Google released Android OS, the open-source smartphone operating system widely perceived as the most likely to overtake Apple’s iPhone in the long run,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“As it happens, Google this month also purchased AdMob, the world’s largest purveyor of mobile phone advertising. So this seemed as good a time as any to take a snapshot of the changing smartphone marketplace, as measured by ad requests to AdMob’s network,” Elmer-DeWitt reports.

“We reviewed a year’s worth of AdMob data — including the October numbers released Monday — and charted it on a graph [see full article],” Elmer-DeWitt reports. “There’s a bias in the data, since AdMob ads run better on iPhone OS and Android devices than on, say, Research in Motion (RIMM) BlackBerries. But the trends are clear.”

Full article here.


  1. Android OS, the open-source smartphone operating system widely perceived as the most likely to overtake Apple’s iPhone in the long run

    “Widely perceived” by whom, exactly? With Android being so fractured across different phone manufacturers, the overall Android numbers don’t mean as much as Apple’s numbers, which represent a cohesive platform.

  2. AdMob doesn’t need to skew the numbers, but the period between May and August are just odd. They show the iPhone losing 10%, from 50% to 40%, while Android was gaining 4% and Pre was gaining 3%. Fine, what’s odd is that while the iPhone was losing 10%, WinMo, Symbian and RIM were not. How is that possible? The fact that they make no attempt to explain that oddity makes me wonder about the validity of their measuring system.

  3. @KenC:
    No, the period between May and August is not odd. That was the run up to the release of the new iPhone. Consumers waited, Apple cuts inventory, there are fewer iPhone sales.

  4. @ Original Jake

    This chart is not sales.
    It is iPhone use at web sites. People with existing iPhones are not going to stop using them for three months waiting to upgrade their iPhone.

  5. @Think

    However it is entirely possible that new iPhone owners use their phones far more than long time owners and therefore the baseline “average use” is much lower than the total usage. Then as the newness wears off a new usage pattern emerges, thus people waiting to buy decreased the total usage.

    Notice this doesn’t actually mean anything in relative terms, as I would suggest the same data usage is likely the case for other phones as well. It does suggest that any time a phone is in a holding (pre-release) pattern for sales that particular phones usage will drop to near the normal usage rate and then spike however.

  6. It is hard to figure out this data. Wish they would add more info to it.

    Could be that iPhone owners are more well off and during the summer they took vacations and enjoyed the company of other humans, leaving the iPhone alone more. ; )

  7. lmao, that is actually an idea as well, except i suspect that they would still take the iPhone for vacation “find the nearest starbucks” type use.

    The data has huge problems with it, and like most other platform data is useful for trends only and even then is pretty limited. I am not even sure if this includes web usage, as i would think most iPhone web use is real pages and not mobile. So then this would only include app requests and the iPhone is under represented as wild as that sounds looking at the data.

    lies, damn lies, stats.

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