Jan 22 AT 3:36 AM Taylor Wimberly 20 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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