Android smartphone market proving to be anyone’s game

Android devices still have plenty of catching up to do with products from Apple

HTC's Dream and Magic smartphones  accounted for almost all traffic from Android devices 7 months ago, but now 11 different devices share in most of that traffic. Google said in March that there were 34 Android devices on the market from 12 manufacturers.

This is according to the latest research out of AdMob,  a mobile advertising network in the process of being acquired by chief Android proponent Google.  AdMob bases its stats on requests for access to the 18,000-plus Websites and applications in its network.

AdMob's traffic survey finds that HTC isn't hurting overall, with its phones generating 43% of traffic, second only to Motorola's 44% share in March, fueled largely by use of the Droid and Cliq phones. And HTC isn't sitting still, recently announcing with Sprint the EVO 4G Android smartphone, due for release this summer.

Also read: 7 Android devices that aren't phones

Android traffic has exploded over the past year, according to AdMob, with a 32% compound monthly growth rate.

One Android smartphone that hasn't gotten out of the blocks very quickly is Google's own Nexus One,  which AdMob pegged as having only 2% of the traffic in March. By comparison, the Motorola Droid  led the pack with 32% of worldwide traffic and was the top device in the United States.

Android devices still have plenty of catching up to do with products from Apple, whose CEO recently suggested people looking for porn apps could buy themselves Android phones for the task.  Apple iPhone and iPod Touches combined for 37% of worldwide traffic, with the Motorola Droid next at 4% (rankings were the same in the U.S.).

The Android vs. Apple mobile device race could become even more interesting if, as rumored, Google delivers an Android tablet that would put it into competition with Apple and its iPad.

Meanwhile, one other possible challenge for Android vs. iPhone, etc., is that while Apple's operating systems for its smartphones and mobile devices are generally available even for its older products, the Android market is pretty fragmented when it comes to which OS is being used on smartphones. AdMob found the breakdown to be Android 1.5 (38%), Android 2.0/2.1 (35%) and Android 1.6 (26%).

Follow Bob Brown on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alphadoggs

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Bob Brown

Network World
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