Friday, February 1, 2013

Android's Web share down 13% since Nov.; Apple's is up 1%

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt    February 1, 2013: 6:32 AM ET

Usage numbers contradict estimates of Samsung's smartphone and tablet sales
Data: Net Applications Mobile operating system share

Data: Net Applications' Feb. 1 report

FORTUNE -- According to a report issued Friday by Net Applications, the Web presence of Android devices peaked in November at 28% and has been drifting down ever since.

By contrast, Apple's (AAPL) iOS has climbed since October, after the company launched the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini.

That quite a different story than the one being told by market research firms like IDC, which has Samsung's Android-based smartphones outselling the iPhone and Samsung's tablets rapidly catching up to Apple's iPad. "IDC says Android is the new king of tablet market share," was Thursday's headline on CNNMoney.

I was skeptical of IDC's tablet shipment numbers Thursday, given that of the major tablet manufacturers, only Apple actually releases unit sales data.

And I'm doubly skeptical today, given the trends shown in Net Applications' data above. Unlike IDC, which seems to pull numbers out of thin air, Net Applications is actually counting something: The browser data from 160 million users per month weighted geographically according to the number of users in each country. (StatCounter, a competing service, does not weigh its data geographically and gets very different results.)

How can Google's (GOOG) Android be the king of tablets and smartphones if more than 60% of Web users are on Apple devices and only 24.5% on Android?

Either a lot of Android owners are not using their devices to surf the Web -- which is certainly possible -- or someone's numbers are screwy.
Posted in: Android, Apple, IDC, Net Applications, Samsung