Dueling Mobile User Numbers: Android vs. Apple vs. Facebook

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In the battle of mobile users, Facebook trumps both Apple and Android — although those aren’t “apples to apples” comparisons. One analyst is now estimating that Facebook has 300 million active users of its mobile apps (vs. 800+ million total users) on a global basis. However that’s a smaller mobile number than Facebook itself reports overall, which is 350 million.

Accordingly, 43% of Facebook’s users access the site via mobile devices. Those who access Facebook via mobile devices are also the heaviest and most engaged Facebook users.

The same analyst, Benedict Evans, estimates that Apple and Android both have roughly 225 million active users today. Apple previously reported (in October) that the company sold 250 million iOS devices to date (including, iPads, iPod Touch devices).

Google’s Andy Rubin posted (on Google+) that there were 3.7 million Android activations on December 24 and 25. Last week he said that there were now 700,000 Android activations happening daily on average.

Separately Flurry Analytics estimated that on Xmas day there were 6.8 million device activations (iOS and Android) vs. 2.8 million last year. The question is: how many were iOS devices and how many were Android handsets or tablets (including Kindle Fires)?

If we do the math (as Philip Elmer-Dewitt has before me), and use Flurry’s numbers as an accurate reflection of total Android and iOS device activations on Xmas we come up with the following:

Xmas day activations:

  • Apple (iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone): 4.2 million at least/approx.
  • Android: 2.6 million (doesn’t count 12/24; alternatively there could have been somewhat fewer activations on 12/25 if the two days were more evenly distributed)

Dewitt assumes that 1.1 million Android devices were activated on 12/24. He speculates that Kindle Fire (an Android tablet) wouldn’t show up in Rubin’s numbers. It’s not clear to me why they would not. I assume they would when people set up their email on the color Kindle devices.

However in all the discussion of Android and iOS, what’s not often discussed is what’s happening with Windows Phones and BlackBerry. Windows Phones have yet to really make their “debut” in the US (although they’re available) and RIM’s sales are still fine overseas but now dismal in the US.

For more on mobile and 2012 see my Twelve Mobile Predictions for 2012.

Postscript: Earlier today Amazon said in a press release, “Throughout December, customers purchased well over 1 million Kindle devices per week.” That would put the number of Kindles sold in December above 4 million. But how many of those were Kindle Fire devices vs. other Kindle eReaders? It’s not broken out by specific type of Kindle in the release.


About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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