Android Dominates but iOS Owns the Mobile Web

There are two competing "memes" circulating simultaneously. The first, reaffirmed by the recent Samsung Q3 handset data and associated coverage, is that Android has "blown past" Apple/iOS to claim smartphone leadership across the board. The second, which flies directly in the face of the first is that Android is a distant second to iOS when it comes to mobile Web usage.

How does one reconcile these conflicting reports? Let's look at some of the data circulating today that illustrate these contradictions.

The Guardian in the UK published a chart showing Android handsets eclipsing everyone else in the smartphone space. RIM leads the iPhone and everyone else is well behind them. (iPads, iPod Touch devices aren't included in this data.)

Below is an IDC smartphone share graphic for the US market; it's quite similar to the UK chart above. It shows Android leading all challengers by a considerable margin, followed by the iPhone and then RIM.

 Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 11.43.42 AM

Now take a look at StatCounter global smartphone data for the past month. The chart below shows mobile OS share of traffic. According to StatCounter, iOS and Android are almost dead even. That's a far cry from the data above, and the Net Applications data I discuss below. 

Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 11.36.53 AM

The following two charts are from Net Applications. They reflect Internet access from mobile devices. They show something radically different that the data above, a very dominant iOS. 

 Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 11.35.35 AM

Here's the same data presented in another way. It shows Safari and iOS with a dominant mobile market share vs. Android.

Screen shot 2011-11-01 at 11.34.49 AM

There's a bit of "apples to oranges" in all this because the Net Applications data include all iOS devices, whereas the top two charts above only feature comparison of smartphones. However the StatCounter chart in the middle presumably includes iPads and iPod Touches in its "iOS" category. But if so why wouldn't these data be closer to the Net Applications data?

How can Android devices have such a marketshare lead and iOS be so dominant in terms of mobile Internet usage? This is a mystery that I'm waiting for someone to explain.