updated 08:20 pm EST, Thu March 7, 2013
Android losing ground with business, but inching up in tablets
Two new studies -- one focusing on enterprise usage of mobile devices, the other looking at tablets -- have shored up conventional wisdom on the distribution of platforms, relegating everything but iOS and Android offerings to "other," but providing some new insights and a hint of changing trends. Advertising network and mobile analyst firm Chitika finds that the iPad continues its overwhelming dominance, but shows Android tablets finally inching up in usage, while Egnyte's study finds Android falling in corporate influence.
Cloud storage and enterprise file-sharing company Egnyte reports on the mobile platforms being used by its 100,000 paying customers in a study that covers the last year and a half. The most interesting part of the survey finds that while Android share (phones and tablets combined) held steady across late 2011 and right through all of 2012 at 30 percent, in the first quarter of calendar 2013 there was a pronounced shift to iOS, with iPhones and iPads picking up nine percent share -- exactly the amount lost by Android, which slipped to 22 percent share, and "others," which sank below one percent share to be too insignificant to be listed.
In late 2011, the study shows, iPad was actually the most dominant item, with 40 percent share -- followed by iPhone (all models combined) at 28 percent, and Android at 30 percent. Across 2012, the iPhone (led by the release of the iPhone 5) swapped places with iPad -- now with the former at 42 percent and the latter at 27 percent, picking up a total extra percent from "other" devices.
This increase in iPhone popularity continued into 2013, with first-quarter figures showing it gaining further to 48 percent share across Egnyte's customers. The iPad also gained, reaching 30 percent -- presumably from the recent introduction of the iPad mini and refreshed fourth-generation iPad last fall. These moves, however, completely squeezed out the "other" category entirely, and took eight percentage points from Android.
In total, iOS accounts for 78 percent of all mobile device traffic in the Egnyte survey -- almost precisely mirroring a similar study released last month from Good Technology, which found that iOS devices combined have 77 percent share of activations for their products, with Android down from a previous 29 percent to 22.7 percent.
In the Chitika survey, covering the month of February and analyzing data from across 250,000 websites, it would seem that despite increasing competition, the tablet market still belongs -- nearly exclusively -- to the iPad. Apple's tablet accounted for 80.5 percent of usage across Chitika's North American customer base, though this does represent a decline of seven percentage points since December.
About half of that decline went to Amazon's (combined) Kindle Fire tablet family, which has nearly doubled its share from 4.3 percent to eight percent in the past three months. Samsung's Galaxy tablet line also saw a substantial increase, from 2.6 percent to 4.2 percent. While the iPad remains the 800-pound gorilla, the pace of increase in Android and Windows 8 tablets could become a concern by year's end -- at least until Apple releases a new model of iPad or iPad mini, or a competitor comes out with a truly flagship tablet.
The late 2012 arrival of the iPad mini appears to have staunched any significant drops in iPad share. The iPad lost 6.2 percent share to competitors in December, but only 0.5 percent in January, suggesting that a lot of people got the smaller iPad as Christmas or other holiday presents. Among the other tablets, most saw decreases in share as 2013 rolled in, with only a few brands -- Google's Nexus line, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Microsoft's Surface tablets -- gaining any ground into February.
The broad "other Android tablets" overall gained share, nearly tripling its presence from 0.37 percent to 1.19 percent, but brands such as BlackBerry's Playbook, the Asus Transformer, the Toshiba Thrive, Motorola Xoom and HP Touchpad all saw declines. The "other Android" category excludes those models.
Unlike most industry surveys of tablet shipments, the Chitika and Egnyte surveys both measure actual usage in the hands of end-users, and are considered to be more representative of real-world use and sales trends, drawing from tens of millions of activations, ad impressions and other usage metrics rather than reported shipments (which -- with the exception of Apple, which only reports end-user sales figures -- are not necessarily reflective of actual sales).