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Study reveals iPhone still minority on web

updated 04:35 pm EDT, Tue May 13, 2008

AdMob iPhone Study

Despite its reputation as a web-focused device, the iPhone is still clearly in the minority on the web, according to a tracking study by advertising startup AdMob. Using April ad requests as a means of gauging phone web use, the company finds that the iPhone accounted for just 1.1 percent of cellphone traffic in the US and 0.8 percent worldwide. Both results are dominated by Motorola and Research in Motion phones, with the four-year-old RAZR V3 leading the ranks at 5.3 percent worldwide and 9.1 in its home country; the BlackBerry Pearl (2.6 percent and 5.1 percent) and BlackBerry Curve (1.5 percent and 2.9 percent) were fourth and fifth, the study notes.

Notably, the Apple-made smartphone also trails more significantly when pitted against other smartphones in the results. BlackBerries lead in the US and account for nearly half of all web requests in the country at 47 percent; market leader Nokia occupies a similarly commanding lead on the world stage at 42 percent of requests using its version of the Symbian OS. iPhones represent just six percent of US mobile web hits and five percent in the world. In most cases, the relative newcomer is also equaled or outranked in share by Palm OS and Windows Mobile devices, the study reveals.

AdMob further points out that a significant number of iPhone web requests come from countries that aren't approved to use the handset. About 81 percent of views come from officially sanctioned countries, while the remaining 19 percent comes from users who have unlocked their cellphones in Canada, Hong Kong, and other countries.

The study adds that slightly more than half of all Internet requests on iPhones (54 percent) are made with Wi-Fi rather than the slower EDGE-based cellular connection.

Nonetheless, the appearance of Apple may by itself be significant, according to AdMob. The company is new to the top 20 list of handset vendors and is also seeing an increased number of sites optimized specifically for its view of the web that may grow as iPhone shipments increase.

Cellphone web use: world (left), US (right)

by MacNN Staff



  1. pottymouth

    Joined: Dec 1969



    How does that relate to this recent article?

  1. Coruscant

    Joined: Dec 1969


    admob or google?

    This seems to run contrary to the reports by Google that indicated the iPhone was far and away the leading mobile presence on the web. Who would you be inclined to believe, the start-up or Google?

  1. chas_m




    Because the majority of ads on the web use Flash, and iPhone Safari doesn't support Flash, the iPhone's "request for ad" is a completely invalid way to measure the iPhone's presence on the web.

    The Safari detection method -- Google's method -- is more accurate.

    So why is this even a story?

  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Google Effect

    This may in part be because of the Google Maps application, which bypasses the browser, and can be use for the kind of web searching (local businesses) that makes up a big part of phone-based searches. It may be further impacted by similar factors caused by the weather, stocks, YouTube, and iTunes apps.

  1. macslut

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Seriously flawed

    Note to those doing similar studies: You may want to look into things when the top phone model on the list isn't really capable of surfing the web.

    I think the study only counted those lame-a** phone web services, in which case it's amazing the iPhone showed up at all.

  1. tomodachi

    Joined: Dec 1969




    You have to look at how these people collect data. As chas_m said, this particular study looks only at ads served to mobile handsets; very different from the Google study which looked at hits to google.

    There probably are various reasons why non-iPhone smartphones are more likely to hit these ads, and since Google search/Google maps is the default standard on the iPhone (compared to other handsets/carriers that may have different defaults, such as to Yahoo or MSN search); so this study likely skews against iPhones while the Google study skews for iPhones.

    The actual "mobile web marketshare" of iPhones probably lies somewhere in between.

  1. SillyPooh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Sales figures don't

    ... quite match those numbers. I mean, did the Kyocera K24 sell so much more than the iPhone? Has anybody ever seen one?

    If we imagine for a sec that the same percentage of people owning both phones go online, then the K24 must have sold TWICE as much as the iPhone... Really?

    Then again, I'd guess the fun and ease of going online with the K24 must not quite match the fun of going online with the iPhone, so those usage percentages should also be in favor of the iPhone.

    Looks to me like something's wrong...

    Ditto to chas_m on that one.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The study also implies that every iPhone web request made from within a country without an iPhone provider must be an unlocked iPhone, specifically citing Hong Kong and Canada.

    Gee, ever hear of international roaming? I'm sure that a large number are unlocked phones, but surely not all of them.

    Just goes to show: "There's lies, damn lies, and statistics." And my favorite: "Numbers will say anything if you torture them long enough."

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This may be the most useless set of data I have ever seen. How many hits your ad service get is not a valid measure of total web traffic.

  1. eddd

    Joined: Dec 1969


    on another note

    I surely hope more sites customized for the iPhone DON'T show up. I HATE those sites - it defeats the whole idea of the "real" web on a handset. Less of that c***, please.

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