Mobile advertising company AdMob highlights smartphone growth in its February 2009 Mobile Metrics Report.
The report shows that despite a troubling macroeconomic environment, smartphones continued to gain significant market share worldwide over the past six months, rising from 26 percent to 33 percent of requests in February 2009.
The report states that the launch of the HTC Dream (G1) and BlackBerry Storm propelled increases in Android and Research In Motion (RIM) operating system requests in the United States. The report bases operating system growth on mobile Web usage, not the number of handsets sold, and demonstrates the high consumer engagement with touchscreen devices.
A previous AdMob report from December 2008 showed that the iPhone operating system held a controlling 33 percent share of the U.S. market. Since then, that share has increased to 50 percent, with RIM following at a distant second with 21 percent.
RIM’s most recent high-profile touchscreen addition, the BlackBerry Storm, saw a modest increase in requests. Requests for the Storm rose from 5 percent in mid December of 2008 to 8 percent in the most recent report.
The BlackBerry Curve led RIM device requests in February, taking over the top spot from the previous frontrunner, the BlackbBerry Pearl. Forty-four percent of RIM requests were for the Blackberry Curve.
In August 2008, the top four smartphone spots worldwide were held by Nokia (N70, N95, N73, and N80), with RIM’s BlackBerry Pearl taking the fifth spot. The release of the iPhone shook up that order.
In the most recent AdMob report, the top five smartphones worldwide are now the iPhone, Nokia N70, BlackBerry 8300, Nokia N80 and Nokia N73. The top five U.S. smartphones are now the iPhone, BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl, Palm Centro and HTC Dream(G1).
Analysts have been trying to understand the effect the economy is having on consumer cell phone habits. While a recent NMRC survey showed that customers are indeed cutting back on extras and switching to prepaid, the most recent AdMob data seems counter-intuitive, with consumers opting for more expensive phones that can handle equally expensive extras.