AdMob: iPhone v. Android around the Globe

AdMob released its mobile metrics report for May, 2010. In parallel the Google-owned company released data reflecting the past two years of activity and growth on its global network. (It's important to not conflate AdMob's data from its network with the "mobile Internet" as a whole, although the trends are directionally consistent.)

Here are the (slightly edited) highlights AdMob provided: 

The company also presented a veritable treasure trove of slides about devices, geography and market share:

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With the caveat that these data aren't synomous with the mobile Internet, what conclusions about the market can we draw here? Right now it's really all about Apple and Android from a smartphone perspective.

Perhaps the most telling and provocative graphic above is the one that reflects handset market share vs mobile Web/app usage. That chart tells the entire story; for those users interested in the mobile Internet there are (right now) only two choices -- the iPhone (iOS) or Android. And among Android OEMs it's a two-way battle: HTC vs. Motorola. Samsung will eventually be a leader there too. 

BlackBerry is continuing to sell well, although reportedly sales are declining except in the US market. Longer term the company is vulnerable unless it dramatically upgrades its handsets' mobile Internet capabilities. I won't go into Nokia's position because that's been written about ad nauseam. The company leads from sheer historical girth, but that lead grows more fragile in the West by the day -- though in developing markets Nokia seems to be holding firm.

There's reason to believe that Kin hasn't caught on for Microsoft, because of recent Verizon price cuts. So Windows 7 emerges as something of a "hail mary" for Redmond. The reports I've heard (vicariously) are positive. But it's imperative that the phone be a hit out of the gate. Even if the user experience is good the lack of apps will put the OS at a competitive disadvantage in much the same way Palm suffered for its lack of apps.

The success of Android is a remarkable story for Google. After the company's core search product Android has emerged as its second greatest accomplishment. However Android doesn't make any or very much money directly for Google. But mobile advertising, from search, display and rich media, aided by the AdMob acquisition, eventually will. 

Yet Android's biggest "accomplishment" is arguably the marginalization of Microsoft in the smartphone world, the secondary effect of which is to cast a shadow over the company's future and make it appear vulnerable in a way it never has before.

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AdMob stated that this will be the final "mobile metrics report" on its blog:

We plan to continue sharing data that will help everyone in the industry, but will not be issuing metrics reports for the next few months. We are going to take this time to think about how we can re-invent the report to make it more useful, powerful and relevant for the mobile ecosystem. We plan to do regular posts to our Metrics blog, so please continue to follow it for updates.

These reports, emulated by others, have been an enormously successful vehicle for AdMob PR as well as helpful to analysts and others in the industry. Post acquisition, as Google figures out how to assimilate the company, this sort of "hiatus" is probably to be expected. Some see the move, however, as an indication that the company is becoming less "transparent." 

On the other hand, the reports served their purpose, getting attention and coverage for AdMob. Now that there's been an exit the same need to maintain visibility no longer exists.