Apple vs Android: mobile browser wars

Akamai released its Q3 2012 State of the Internet report recently, which showed among other things that Apple’s Mobile Safari browser was responsible for the majority of observed web requests.

According to Akamai, the current data set comes from sampling traffic across several hundred top-tier sites delivering content through its cloud platform, but explained that most of these sites are focused on a U.S. audience.

This means that the data presented in the report is biased in favour of U.S. users, Akamai conceded, adding that back-end data collection and processing work is ongoing to expand the sample set.

Akamai expects to provide more global and geo-specific views of the data, as well as more granular insight into browser versions, during the first quarter of 2013.

The table below summarises the average percentage of requests mobile browsers were responsible for during Q3 2012:

Requests from mobile browsers by originating network type
Mobile browser Cellular networks All networks
Mobile Safari 35.7% 60.1%
Android Webkit 37.6% 23.1%
Opera Mini 19.3% 4.9%
BlackBerry 4.2%
Microsoft Mobile Explorer 1.5% 9.3%
Others 1.7% 2.6%
Mobile browsers seen across cellular networks - Akamai, Q3 2012
Mobile browsers seen across cellular networks – Akamai, Q3 2012

Outside the 5 browsers listed, Akamai said it observed around a dozen additional browsers, but these made up a very small percentage of usage.

Akamai also noted the following key points:

  • Across all networks in the third quarter, only Apple Mobile Safari, Android Webkit, and Microsoft Mobile Explorer were consistently responsible for more than 5% of requests.
  • Across cellular networks in the third quarter, only Apple Mobile Safari, Android Webkit, and Opera Mini were consistently responsible for more than 5% of requests.
  • Blackberry browser usage share on cellular networks increased from 3.1% to 4.1% during the third quarter, while it grew from just 0.9% to 1% across all networks.
Mobile browsers seen across all network - Akamai, Q3 2012
Mobile browsers seen across all network – Akamai, Q3 2012

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Apple vs Android: mobile browser wars