updated 07:00 pm EDT, Thu May 15, 2014
Real-world user metric proves North American iPhone strong, users engaged
Yet again, a real-world usage study has established that -- at least in North America -- the iPhone is the most widely-used smartphone. Contrary to shipment stats that give Google's Android platform a sizable lead, a new study from mobile ad aggregator Chitika has shown that the iPhone outperforms all Android devices combined in terms of web share, a primary indicator of end-user sales and engagement.
According to Chitika, the iPhone was responsible for 53.1 percent of smartphone web traffic in the US and Canada, 8.6 percent more than all combined Android vendors at 44.5 percent. In revealing the statistics, Chitika actually took more note of the fact that Windows Mobile had surpassed BlackBerry in terms of web traffic -- however, both of the latter platforms combined made up just 1.8 percent of smartphone web traffic, leaving all other mobile OSes at 0.6 percent. Interestingly, the iOS and Android figures are also the opposite of each others' alleged North American marketshare based on shipment data, with Android thought to have around 53 percent and iOS around 41 percent.
The statistics reinforce other usage surveys that consistently show iOS users as far more engaged than Android users when it comes to Internet activity, though the studies are unclear as to whether the dramatically lower web-surfing rates are a cultural phenomenon unique to Android users, or if released "shipment" figures are disproven by what is very likely a reliable metric on end-user sales.
It is hard to imagine that Android buyers would refrain from using the Internet so much less often than other smartphone users, particularly as even poorer users who choose Android for its wide array of low-cost and contract-free phones would still be likely to take advantage of Wi-Fi in ubiquitous public hotspots and their own home network. The more logical conclusion to draw, therefore, is that the web usage roughly indicates actual North American user share, and thus that Android shipment figures are not a reliable indicator of real-world sales.
"While Microsoft has worked hard to make Windows Phone a competitive third mobile OS," the firm concludes, "from a functionality standpoint, the operating system's flat rate of growth over the past several months makes it likely that Apple and Google's offerings will remain the frontrunners stateside for the foreseeable future."