updated 12:00 pm EST, Thu January 21, 2010
AdMob has Apple's lead grow again in December
The iPhone is increasingly taking control of the mobile web in certain continents, AdMob says in its study of the last quarter of 2009. Alongside the iPhone growing to 54 percent of all smartphone Internet traffic in North America, it now makes up more than half of all handheld traffic in Latin America (56 percent) as well as Western and Eastern Europe (78 percent and 51 percent). Apple's lead is especially high in Oceania, which centers on Australia and New Zealand, as it represents 92 percent of all mobile data.
In Africa and Asia, both of which have traditionally been Symbian strongholds, the iPhone remains in the minority but has carved out shares of 8 percent and 27 percent respectively. Symbian is usually the second most used platform in areas where the iPhone leads, except in North America, where its share is virtually non-existent and Android has a 27 percent share of smartphones.
Apple's handset now accounts for 51 percent of all traffic worldwide where Symbian holds 21 percent and Android 16 percent.
iPhone OS influence shrinks in the new data when non-smartphone share is included but is still usually the largest as the inclusion of the iPod touch partly offsets the presence of simple phones or gaming devices like the PSP.
Within North America, the Motorola Droid was the most commonly used Internet handheld outside of Apple's products during December, placing third in the overall device list and second in smartphones. Of the top ten in either category, only the BlackBerry Curve 8300 series, the Palm Pre and the Samsung R450 are running an OS other than Android or iPhone.
Most of the shift is seen as the result of Nokia offering poor competition to Apple on the mobile web. A large number of the 26 million iPhones estimated shipped during 2009 were used to replace a Nokia device. Android also contributed to the rearrangement of the market, although most of its gains only came later in the year when more phones reached stores. HTC has been a particular beneficiary as a major expansion of Android has expanded its share among manufacturers from 1 to 6 percent in just a year.
As is the case with AdMob's studies, the Internet share shown in the latest results doesn't translate to actual sales but often reflects the popularity of a device for Internet use, which can go up significantly as more of the handsets themselves are in users' hands. Apple has lately been the third-largest smartphone maker by shipments with Nokia and RIM in first and second place respectively.
North America share by device, December 2009