updated 11:59 pm EST, Thu March 7, 2013
Tablets slightly more popular than smartphones for paid Internet service
GoGo Inflight, which offers paid Internet service on various airlines serving North America has reported that mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets now make up 67 percent of the devices being used to connect to its service, with tablets just edging out laptops and smartphones. Like other actual-usage surveys we have reported on recently, GoGo found that around 84 percent of mobile devices accessing their network across 2012 were using iOS, with 16 percent using Android -- though the Android percentage is growing slowly but steadily.
The Android result marks a significant rise from 2011, when Android accounted for just 3.2 percent of usage and iOS had 96.8 percent, but still poses no threat to Apple's dominance in the foreseeable future. When looking at only smartphones, Google's platform did noticeably better -- accounting for 26 percent of use compared to iOS' 73 percent. BlackBerry and Windows phone OSes each ranked at less than one percent of devices being used in flight.
The company did not break out tablet usage by platform, but noted that tablets were the most popular device to connect to its network at 35 percent, followed by laptops at 33 percent and smartphones at 32 percent. Because the GoGo network is only available for a fee, its use is mostly limited to users who have long flights or need to get some Internet-based tasks accomplished and are willing to pay a modest fee for access during the flight. Among Apple users, 59 percent were using the iPad, with iPhones at 36 percent and the iPod Touch at five percent.
General web surfing ranked as the most popular activity for in-flight Internet use, followed by email, social media, news and sports reading and online shopping. Business travellers tended to access work email accounts and finalize office-type documents as the most frequent activity. Because mobile Safari is the primary browser used by mobile device owners, it ranked as the top choice of browsers on GoGo's network, followed by Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox in that order. Passengers also used the service to check the weather, get directions or explore entertainment options at their final destination.