AdMob Feb. Metrics: Smartphone Mobile Internet Share Continues to Grow

Smartphones are a disproportionate driver of mobile Internet usage, especially the iPhone but other smartphones as well. AdMob's mobile metrics report for February shows that smartphones dominate mobile Internet traffic (and apps usage) in the US. These data are drawn from AdMob's network of sites and apps for which it serves ads and not identical to the "mobile Internet." It should be seen as a directional indicator of trands and user behavior. 

One of the headlines from the release put out by AdMob is "HTC Dream (G1) and BlackBerry Storm are the #1 Devices on T-Mobile and Verizon Just Three Months After Launch." That points to a larger Android share in the future as more devices hit the market.

Here are the top-level bullets from this month's report:

  • Smartphones generated 33% of worldwide traffic in February 2009, up from 26% six months ago.
  • The Top 5 US smartphones - Apple iPhone, BlackBerry Curve, BlackBery Pearl, Palm Centro, and HTC Dream (G1) - generated 77% of traffic in February.
  • The Symbian OS is still number one with 43% share and six of the top 10 handsets. Windows Mobile and Palm each lost half their worldwide share over last six months.
  • The iPhone generates 33% of all smartphone traffic worldwide and 50% in the US. Although RIM lost share in the US due to the rapid growth of the iPhone, the overall number of requests from RIM devices increased 48% in the last six months. 
  • Android has captured 5% of the US smartphone market just three months after launch and is now the #1 device on T-Mobile.

Here are a few of the tables from the report:

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Again, these data are not necessarily representative of the mobile market as a whole. But they're probably a reliable indicator of trends. The data that show the loss in mobile Internet share by Nokia/Symbian as well as Windows Mobile are striking. Palm has lost share too but that's consistent with its slow disappearance from the marketplace (although the Centro has impressive Internet usage in the US market). Palm and its investors are hoping the Pre will revive the company's fortunes. 

Outwardly Microsoft betrays little or no concern about the competition for Windows Mobile, but these data -- assuming they are representative of larger trends -- have to be of concern.

Right now, it's important to point out, handset  unit sales and mobile Internet share aren't equivalent; the iPhone has a mobile Internet share that is disproportionate to its overall penetration. But the mobile Internet will become a larger factor in consumer smartphone buying in the immediate future.