It may be a little harder to call who will be the dominant Android device maker in the year ahead, but it does look like we have reached a tipping point in terms of Android being the most dominant smartphone platform in the U.S. According to Millennial Media, the OS platform commands a 46 percent share of all impressions, and 55 percent of all revenue generated from apps, on the mobile advertising network.
Although Android had been inching ahead already — Millennial releases figures every month — this is the first time that Android has passed by Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) in both categories. Apple’s iOS remains the second largest OS, with a 32 percent share of impressions, and a 39 percent share for revenue.
Judging by how much Android share increased — 8 percent in impressions; and 13 percent in revenues — its evident that Android is still in the middle of the kind of high-growth phase that you see in a new product. Ad requests on the platform grew 141 percent between Q3 and Q4, and an astounding 3130 percent between January and December.
Apple’s been growing, too — but given its relative maturity compared to Android, and the fact that until now the device has only been available on one network and demand has potentially levelled out, the numbers are significantly more modest: ad requests on iOS grew 12 percent from Q3 to Q4, and the annual increase is a relatively piddling 14 percent. Apple’s one fast riser is also its newest product: ad requests on the iPad grew by 280 percent between Q3 and Q4.
The Android tide continues to lift many boats. Millennial says Android represented 16 of the top 30 mobile devices on its ad network. There are four different manufacturers coming up in the list that put Android into their devices: HTC, Motorola (NYSE: MOT), Samsung and LG (SEO: 066570) — a list that looks like it will be growing in the year ahead. Apple remained the single biggest manufacturer, with the iPhone and iPod touch two of the three biggest mobile devices.
According to Millennial’s figures, HTC appears to be the number-three maker, with a nine percent increase month-on-month. Unsurprisingly, this is down to HTC having the most devices in Millennial’s top-30 ranking.
What impact will Verizon’s iPhone have? Interestingly, Verizon currently dominates the charts when it comes to which operator originates the most data traffic in terms of ad impressions. AT&T (NYSE: T) is one of the lowest of them:
That speaks to how disproportionate the iPhone has been in AT&T’s lineup. Getting the iPhone on Verizon may impact sales of BlackBerry and Android devices on Verizon — although this is debatable until we actually start seeing numbers come in — but what’s equally interesting is to see how well AT&T will court, and then market, other devices to widen the game on its own network.
Content. If you look at the stats for mobile internet usage time, Social Networking, at 10.7 percent, is the single most dominant category (with sites like Facebook and Twitter, I am sure, leading for their team). But the combination of different media/entertainment categories is by far still the most important category by a mile in terms of usage time, at 15.4 percent, and even higher if you add news, at 7.2 percent, into the mix.
Given that a lot of those media services will be more intensive on bandwidth than social networking or search, you can see why operators are trying to get a bit more clever about how they charge to use such services on their data networks.