On an interesting note in this article, “the iPhone has the highest share of mobile browsing in the United States, with 2.9% of all Internet traffic and 35.2% of all mobile Internet traffic.” Now that’s a lot. On the other hand, according to InformationWeek, Android stands at 2.6% of all US Internet traffic, and 31.6% of all US mobile traffic.
You could say that those numbers are pretty close. However, according to Gartner, Android’s share of the smartphone market now stands at more than double that of Apple iOS. These numbers refer to worldwide sales, but other results reported by Nielsen reflect the same outcome in the U.S.
So how is it that the number of Android phones out there is more than double that of iPhones, yet they are both responsible for nearly the same amount of mobile Internet traffic? If we look at this very simply, if iPhone mobile Internet traffic is at about 35%, then Android (with double the devices) should be at nearly 70%.
So what is happening?
Setting aside the obvious differences in how Android is shipped via its multiple physical smartphone choices (which could account for physical usability variables), those statistics showing the iPhone has an overhead in Internet traffic while it is outnumbered by Android devices proves several things possible. Maybe the iPhone’s dominance in mobile Internet traffic is due to great marketing/branding on behalf of Apple (making their customers believe that using their iPhones for this purpose is very easy, which in turn encourages them to do so… versus Android not doing a good job at this). Or possibly, these results are due to a very well designed iPhone, whose effective design alone encourages data-driven activities (so much so that it outperforms its competitors – even when outnumbered). Another possibility is crippling UI design customization of Android for each of its phone choices; this results in weaker branding, as well as multiple versions of the same interface getting improved independently (which scatters, instead of focuses, improvement efforts). Further, another reason could simply be a poorly designed “core” interface that hinders Internet activities on Android devices. Or maybe it’s a combination of the above.
Perhaps there are other reasons, but these are interesting statistics. And yes, I like my iPhone, but I promise I’m writing this as an objective observer; I’m not an Apple fanatic. But I am an anything-that-is-greatly-designed fanatic, and I think Google should harness Android’s bigger numbers and diversity and use it to their advantage here.