Let’s analyze some market share information. This will help us to make some decisions about how our work will be done.
Sometimes it’s difficult to decide what to target. Should we develop for all devices, or only for the iPhone and Android devices? How can we decide how many versions to create?
The mobile world is very different from the desktop world. If we are developing for desktops, we can assume that the market share of the available browsers will be similar worldwide. In the mobile world, this is not the case. Because of commercial agreements and cultural differences, we find very diverse market shares in different regions of the world (U.S. & Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Oceania). For example, Nokia has a huge market share in Europe and Asia, but not in the United States. That’s why we need to define who our targets are. Worldwide users? U.S. users? What about gender and age? Depending on the target demographic, we can define our porting strategy.
Overall mobile device sales statistics aren’t the only ones we need to analyze. The market shares are very different if we look only at people using their mobile devices to browse the Web. A device with a very low total worldwide market share, such as the iPhone, can prove to have a big market share if we only analyze devices with high web consumption. Figures 1-14 through 1-16 show a few different counts with varying results.
Figure 1-15. At http://gs.statcounter.com we can find mobile browser statistics (global and by region) collected from websites using the StatCounter tool. The iPod Touch is registered as iTouch, so iPhone OS devices are leading here.
Figure 1-16. AdMob is an advertisement network for mobile websites and applications. It offers public statistics at http://metrics.admob.com.
GetJar.com is an application store for freeware and shareware applications, mainly developed in Java ME but with other platforms supported, too. The site offers public statistics about the market share of its visitors, as shown in Table 1-2. This information is very useful, because the visitors are active—they are browsing a website looking for applications to download—so we can consider them active mobile Internet users in the Java ME–compatible market.
Table 1-2. Global GetJar market share statistics by manufacturer (September 2009)
While GetJar statistics are very useful, we need to understand that the market share of iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, and webOS devices are not represented accurately because their users don’t typically use GetJar.
The well-known research firm Gartner predicts the 2012 smartphone market share as shown in Table 1-3 and Figure 1-17, with Symbian still at the head, followed by Android and iPhone. The prediction indicates a small reduction for Symbian but a positive future for Android and Windows Mobile, with both increasing their market share.
Table 1-3. Gartner’s prediction for 2012 smartphone market share
2012 predicted market share
Figure 1-18 shows another way of exploring localized device statistics. Remember that these statistics depend on the source and can change a lot over time.
Figure 1-18. A nice updated mobile browser market share graphic based on StatCounter data is available at http://www.icrossing.co.uk.
You can find a list of updated mobile browser and device market share statistics in the statistics section of this book’s blog, at http://www.mobilexweb.com/go/stats.