Jan 22 AT 3:36 AM Taylor Wimberly 17 Comments

Android poised to overtake iPhone OS in US smartphone traffic this year

Android adoption is surging and shows no signs of slowing down in 2010. The United States leads all countries in Android adoption and will continue to see strong gains later this year when AT&T joins the other major carriers and launches five Android phones.

Analyst have predicted Android would overtake the iPhone in sales by 2012, but we might see Google’s mobile OS pass up Apple in online smartphone requests for the United States this year.

Observe the following chart that I generated with Admob Mobile Metrics data. It displays the percentage of smartphone request by operating system for each month in 2009.

US smartphone request for 2009: Android vs iPhone OS

In December, iPhone OS accounted for 46% of request while Android jumped to 36%. Based on the current trend, we could see Android overtake iPhone as early as Q2 2010.

The iPhone exclusivity will end sometime, but it remains restricted to AT&T in the United States. Android is available on Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and soon to be AT&T (plus other regional carriers like Cellular South). Google also has the advantage of dozens of new Android phones in multiple form factors and price points.

We could argue for a long time over the validity of these AdMob reports, but I still believe they remain an important metric. AdMob is one of the largest mobile advertising platforms, which gives us a good picture of where the money is going. If we follow the money, then we should have a pretty good picture where the smartphone industry is headed.

From AdMob: Remember AdMob data is based on the usage of mobile sites and apps, which is very different than if you were to look at estimates of device sales from Gartner, IDC, or your favorite Wall Street analyst. For those new to the Metrics report, visit this blog post for details on the report methodology.

Additional Android notes from the December Admob Mobile Metrics report:

  • North America: Android share grew throughout the year reaching 27% in Q4 2009, by far its highest penetration in any region.
  • Western Europe: Android had a strong Q4 2009 and generated 8% share of smartphone requests, second only to North America in penetration.
  • HTC share increased from 1% in Q4 2008 to 6% in Q4 2009 due to success of its Android devices in North America and Western Europe.
  • Android traffic in the AdMob network has grown dramatically over the last year in North America and Western Europe. In Q4 2008, traffic from Android devices represented only 1% of overall smartphone traffic, compared to 16% in Q4 2009.
  • The Motorola Droid is the most popular Android phone in the U.S. taking in 11.3% of all smartphone request in December.

Source: AdMob

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • http://headtoheadracing.appspot.com/ Craigo

    I think the last date on the graph should be 12/09/2009. :-)

  • Rox

    I’m not sure what Apple intended with remaining exclusive to AT&T. It has surely hurt them to make themselves so unavailable, and it gives Android smartphones the opportunity to catch up and surpass them. If Apple intended to generate desirability through limited availability, I think a year would have sufficed.

    But Apple does things the way Apple does things, and I’m sure there are many factors I am not considering, but it seems to me that they held on for too long. Certainly the benefit to AT&T has been tremendous.

    I’m thrilled that Android has proven to be such a game changer. It’s like the underdog that just had a training montage and its about to beat the bully at his own game. Exciting stuff.

  • http://Website eYe

    I don’t think that this chart accounts for iPhone OS 4. If they bring in multitasking, which they’re rumored to do, it will steal a lot of casual users from Android, thus lowering Android stats and helping iPhone. I do agree that Android is growing rapidly and may end up edging Iphone at some point. Still, 2010 is not going to be the year, it’s just too early.

  • http://Website ZeroDamage

    I think this trend is based more on the different network options than the Android platform itself. I am an Adnroid user (Moto Droid) but we cannot deny the popularity of the iPhone. It is likely that the iPhone will find itself on Verizon’s network this summer and those numbers could shift again towards the iPhone.

  • XenosNS

    Just because iPhone is popular right now doesn’t mean Android can’t overtake it. Blind drooling faith in Apple isn’t a good enough reason for a product to succeed in the long term.

  • http://Website Yunfei Qiu

    iphone OS still has better performance and better Apps.
    AT&T seems to be a problem, and also don’t forget. we are talking tens of cellphone brands against single iphone her.

    • http://Website dutch

      we are comparing operating systems its not our fault that Apple only makes one phone. and i believe once att users get android there will be a lot of people passing on the iphones?

  • http://Website b

    Personally, in order to really take a bit out of the iPhone, there needs to be an awesome media syncing app. I don’t care much about iTunes, etc. but the general public still does, and there’s no denying the ease of syncing your stuff w/the iPhone. THAT’S the “killer app” to really kick things into gear, IMHO

    • http://Website dutch

      i dont think i tunes is easy to sync at all. i uploaded a folder full of mp3′s to itunes and only some of the files transfered and even worse everytime i hooked my phone to i tunes it wanted to sync my phone with all of my wifes phones media and that was soooooo annoying. also i could never see a list of files on my phone when i hooked it up to itunes. i have a g1 and i cant get it to sync with WMP but i think i will try again after terence’s post.

  • Terence

    I really don’t understand why so many ppl whine about not being able to sync with Android. Hey my G1 syncs music flawlessly with Windows Media Player, though the fact that album art has to be embedded in the file to show on Android is a minor gripe…but for video yea we have nothing as seamless as Itunes

  • elias

    I recently made the jump from iphone to google android (mytouch 3g) and am loving it. Things aren’t as smooth Due to hardware but I’m ok with it. I’m. Looking forward to new Android phones this year

  • http://Website just some dude

    I wonder if Apple is being all buddy buddy with ATT n ow saying to them “hey buddy you dont want to release an Android phone now , do you? come on buddy stick with the iphone a little longer”
    I wonder if apple will threaten ATT in any way if they Carrie any Android phones.

  • http://Website Darkkef

    Hell Yeahh ¡ ¡ ¡

  • http://Website Adam H.

    This chart is flawed. It is comparing the traffic of 25 or so Android phones to one iphone. Of course android is going to have more traffic because they have more phones.

  • http://Website Au

    Well, let’s look at it this way: the iphone’s application market is so vast and very popular because users can “customize” their iphone experience. So, android is fully customizable, not just via the app market (which they are also growing). No wonder apple is scared (but of course, don’t let the world know they are…) P.s: I love my mytouch!

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