Nov 10 AT 11:54 AM Taylor Wimberly 9 Comments

AdMob data 2009: Android vs. iPhone

I like AdMob data. Apparently so does Google, since they just payed $750 million to acquire AdMob.

Every month, AdMob releases metrics reports that help us identify trends in the mobile industry. I have used these reports to generate headlines like “Android pulls ahead of Windows Mobile” and “Android closing in on BlackBerry“. A lot of people have criticized the data because it only reports on AdMob use, but I still find it a helpful tool. For more on placing AdMobe metrics in context, see their official blog.

We have finished the first three quarters of 2009 so I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at this year. I have compiled all the AdMob reports dating back to January to display a breakdown of Android vs iPhone.

Android vs iPhone in the United States: 2009

Android vs iPhone in the United States: 2009

First up we have smartphone ad request from just the United States. Android started at 1% and steadily rose to 17%. This was due large in part to two Android phones: the HTC Dream and HTC Magic. The Dream (aka G1) is the oldest Android phone and now ranks as the 3rd most popular handset in the AdMob reports. The Magic (myTouch 3G) was released August 5, 2009 and has already climbed to number 10 in the top handset models.

Sprint and Verizon have recently launched Android phones and we should expect to see their effects showing up over the next few months.

Year to date, iPhone OS requests (iPhone + iPod) are about where they started. The requests peaked in May and have been on the decline since then. With the iPhone still limited to a single carrier in the United States, we expect they will continue to decline for the rest of this year and in 2010.

Android vs iPhone worldwide: 2009

Android vs iPhone worldwide: 2009

The worldwide numbers tell a similar story. Android has shown steady growth throughout the year and shows no signs of slowing down. We can see that Android adoption has mainly been driven by two countries: United States (17%) and United Kingdom (11%).

I decided not to graph it, but Symbian has been the big loser in the smartphone world. Symbian started the year with 44% of smartphone requests and now sits at 29%. With even more handset makers turning to Android, 2010 will be a tough year for Symbian.


We can see that iPhone is not going away, but Android will eventually begin to eat their market share. I’m really interested to see what happens with the United States two largest carriers (Verizon and AT&T). The rumors are beginning to swell again that say Verizon will offer the iPhone (in some form) which could double its sales. AT&T is also rumored to finally get an Android phone in 2010, when Dell launches their smartphone.

No matter what happens, we know 2010 will be the year that Android growth explodes.

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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  • Santosh

    I disagree with your conclusion. Android growth will continue at Symbian expense (I am one of those, fed up with dysfunctional and outdated expensive Nokia smart phones).

    iPhone sex appeal will never go away, despite of how monopolistic, controlling and closed minded Apple has been about their OS. iTouch and iPod are prime examples on herd mentality of masses.

    Unless Android can create same level of “sex appeal” it is impossible for Android to cannibalize iPhone market share. Based on the recent closed minded attitude of Google and Motorola (oh, so yesterday tech business)on 2.0 introduction, I think “sex appeal” creation is doomed. I am hanging my hopes on Sony-Ericsson products and not on HTC, Samsung, Moto’s of mobile phones who just add “me too” products trying to ape iPhone.

    But what do I know, I am not an Ad-Man to read market sentiment

    • Michael

      First, I think we’ve reached a smartphone tipping point. Price plans in free fall, explosion in handset choices, and emergence of apps will herald the broader mass market of smartphone sales.

      Given this, I don’t necessarily see at as a market share battle with winners and losers, but (at least in the short term) a battle for a rapidly growing market. The ‘losers’ will be those who sell traditional handsets.

      Longer run, I see Apple settling into its current PC position. Apple makes great (the best?) laptops and desktops. However, you are limited to a handful of models that are refreshed only once per year. They have consistently been the leader in providing a smooth computing experience.

      Windows PC’s take a more open approach from a hardware perspective. At any given time, someone, somewhere is in the process of introducing a brand new windows-compatible PC. Consumer choice is endless and competition provides steady pressure on growth of features and development of low price points.

      The story in handsets will be similar. Want a physical keyboard? faster processor? Stripped down, but cheap (netbook-class) handset? Similarly in user interface you have your choice between stock android, motoblur, sense, Rachel/Sony and more.

      In this battle, if you want exactly what Apple offers it’ll be unlikely Android can compete. Android apps must coexist on range of computing environments, a number of screen resolutions, and eventually in a range of physical forms (picture frame? tablet pc?). The iPhone will always be able to deliver that extra bit of polish because it exists in a locked-down environment with a very specific set of hardware choices.

      In the end, however, I believe that the flexibility of Android will win out. Whatever your specific priorities you will be able to find an Android phone that fits. With Apple you will only be able to choose from a handful of models, and if one of them doesn’t fit your exact circumstances, you might as well go Android.

  • just some dude

    Slow and and steady wins every time.

  • Johnnyboy

    I predict that Android will dominate the smartphone market in 2012. Gartner research company predicted something like that too.

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  • spiele

    The good thing for Android is that it is only going to get better and the bad for Nokia is that it can only get worse. The only player on whom the pressure to innovate is probably Apple. People expect the heaven from them.

  • mulda71

    everyone is just chasing apple… laptops, computers, phones and OS…

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  • Derrick

    I hope Android dominates by 2011. :) But you’re probably right.