updated 11:30 am EST, Mon January 14, 2008
Google iPhone traffic
iPhone traffic at Google surged to unprecedented levels during Christmas, new statistics indicate. The New York Times reports that, based on internal data from Google, more iPhones were connecting during Christmas than any other mobile device, despite the fact that industry figures show only two percent of smartphones worldwide as belonging to Apple. A few days after Christmas, iPhone traffic dropped below that of phones using the Nokia-backed Symbian operating system, but kept a second-place ranking.
Surpassing Symbian at all may be an achievement, as the platform accounts for 63 percent of the smartphone market. Windows Mobile holds 11 percent, while BlackBerries amount to 10 percent. The momentary surge is being attributed mainly to the sharing of iPhones as gifts, but also to the device's web browser, which Needham & Company analyst Charles Wolf says removes the frustration from browsing on a cellphone.
At the beginning of this week's Macworld Expo, meanwhile, Google has updated its the iPhone versions of its web applications. As whole, the apps should now have improved looks, and be easier to use on a touchscreen; one of these improvements is the ability to customize which sites appear on the Google.com menu bar, making it easier to switch between a user's favorites.
Gmail now has the critical addition of automatic refreshing, eliminating the need to hit the Refresh button to download new messages. Similarly, the app has been sped up by the inclusion of auto-completing contacts. Finally, the iPhone version of iGoogle has been altered to support gadgets, which are normally reserved for the desktop site.
A New Yorker article mentions tangentially that as a result of Google's Android platform and the Open Handset Alliance, CEO Eric Schmidt has had to pull back in his participation with Apple. While Schmidt sits on Apple's board of directors, he is now excusing himself from discussions relating to cellphones. The two companies have otherwise been drawn closer together, partly because of Google Maps support on the iPhone.
Written, edited and compiled by Jeff Valvano