Android gaining momentum across the board
As Google today rolls out a new Google-branded Android handset, it's also receiving good news on multiple fronts that it is gaining market- and mindshare on Apple's iPhone – something previous rivals have failed to accomplish.
Between lending its own weighty name to the Android effort as well as tapping partners like Verizon for a massive ad blitz, Google is attacking the mobile market from all angles. A number of new research reports released in recent days show it making real progress, succeeding where competitors like Palm and Microsoft have failed to make a dent.
According to a new survey from Changewave Research (polling 4068 consumers from Dec. 9-14), ownership of Android-based phones jumped from 1% to 4% of its respondents.
More significantly, the number of users that said they planned on buying an Android device in the next 90 days jumped from just 6% to 21%, placing the Google OS in the number-two slot behind Apple in purchase mindshare. In fact, Apple's mindshare in the 90-day category actually fell from 32% to 28% in the latest Changewave survey (see image 1).
"To put this in context," wrote Changewave analysts Paul Carton and Jean Crumrine, "three months ago, Android OS was tied for last place in consumer preference among the major mobile operating systems. But since then it has surged into second place ahead of all competitors except the iPhone OS."
Meanwhile, mobile advertising vendor AdMob (which Google recently acquired), released its latest data on Android growth, based on data from its ad network. According to AdMob, worldwide requests from Android devices increased 97% from October to December. AdMob received over 1 billion ad requests from Android devices in December alone.
That's got to be good news for Google, which despite its various product efforts still counts on advertising for generating revenue. Mobile advertising, and ultimately locally- and custom-targeted mobile advertising, represents Google's next big opportunity after Web search.
AdMob also reported a growing diversity of Android handsets: In October 98% of requests came from HTC devices (which built the first Android phone, the G1). In December, HTC (which is building the new Google Nexus One phone) accounted for 56%, but 39% came from Motorola with its Droid and Droid Eris models (see image 2).
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