back to article Apple iOS dominates Euro smartphone usage

How have the great mobile operating systems been faring in the UK and Europe over the past year? Mobile internet access gives us a picture. The snapshot isn't an unbiased one, mind. The data comes from StatCounter, which tracks what browsers, operating systems and so forth are used to access the 3m-odd webpages which it claims …


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  1. Robert E A Harvey

    Europeans far less keen on Android than Americans are

    That wouldn't have anything to do with pound=dollar predatory pricing, by any chance?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Dead Vulture


      Nah I don't think so. I personally think this article fails to emphasize the obvious downward trend of iOS and the obvious upward trend of Android. So in a sense, no, europeans are not less keen on Android than Americans *are*, but were.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Trendspotting

        That was the first thing I noticed about the graph too.

        Apart from a Christmas twitch, probably caused by parents buying iphone for little Johnny, ios has been slowly heading downwards.

        The only one which has shown a consistent upward trend is Android.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: Trendspotting

          Looks like that figure has been backed up by my own stats (above)...

          Judging by the thumbs up 5 vs the thumbs down 1, Android is 5 times as popular as iOS.

    2. Velv Silver badge

      Missing the obvious


      Apple until recently only worked on certain networks. Not just as exclusive deal, but a physical limitation.

      The US still has many CDMA networks, something Apple didnt work with until 2011 (or the very end of 2010). So for a large percentage of the US cell phone userbase, iPhone was never an option.

      Lucky basterds!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do Blackberrys actually count as smart phones?

    I would class them as normal phones that happen to be specialised for sending and receiving email.

    Back to the graphs what they show for me is that its only the introduction of the ipad that has stopped the continuing decline of iOS and with blackberry and android tablets now hitting the market how long before that line starts going down again....

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can be interpreted in various ways

    I expect the next iphone (probably around the summer) will cause ios usage to rise. Plenty of people waiting for the next model.

    Android phones should be higher considering the broad price ranges and frequent handset releases of them.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Bad use of statistics

    Counting web hits does NOT tell you how popular an operating system is.

    It DOES tell you how much website traffic comes from a particular OS, which when used in conjunction with actual sales/activation figures can tell you how prolific the average user of a particular OS is in accessing your sample sites.

    Some OS may use data more with apps than others, or users of different OS may have different browsing habits and not use the sites in the sample... and Android is used on a lot of lower range phones, likely without as much data allowance, or users not so inclined to 'go online'.

    The conclusion "Europeans not as keen on Android" is not really supported by the statistics on offer here. No judgement on OS merits from me, just on the use of statistics.

  5. morphoyle


    Can't really put too much faith in these "statistics" since the data is gathered using an opt-in counter method. Did these guys sleep through Statistics 101?

    1. Dibbles


      Agreed -

      "The obvious caveat aside - that StatCounter-tracked pages may not be representative of the whole" is somewhat wide of the mark; the obvious caveat is that the web traffic coming from each OS is not necessarily representative of the handsets being sold.

      I mean, have you tried to use Blackberry OS to browse the web? It's vile!

  6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    Is this down to AT&T?

    In the US, Apple seemed to keep the exclusive deal with AT&T for much longer than its exclusive deals in most other places. And there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth from US posters on the internet who were rather sad about this - as the AT&T network creaked under the load.

    So has this been a motivation to all the other US carriers to promote Android more heavily than has happened in Europe, where they weren't shut out for so long?

    Or is it down to marketing spend? I know Motorola spent big dollars on the launch of the Droid. Did that campaign feature the phone, or Android? I've seen a bit of marketing for HTC (but not mentioning the OS) - just general brand awareness stuff. But I can't remember seeing any marketing in the UK for Android, just iPhone, Blackberry and the odd specific model.

  7. Philippe

    where is the analysis of "Why?"

    No word about multi carrier policy in Europe versus two carriers (since one month) in the States.

    No analysis of business customers not wanting to support "one more operating system".

    Nothing about the regular OS update failures experienced by the Android beta users. (i am thinking German OS on UK phones, thank you O2).

    Nothing about UK, French and German press obvious biais towards the iOS plateform

    I am a bit disappointed.

    For lacking articles I usually read Theinquirer, not TheRegister..


  8. EddieD

    Hmm - self selection

    There's a terrible joke "How do you know if someone has an iPhone? They tell you...."

    Probably true in most cases. Certainly with business phones like the RIM machines, I don't think they'd be taking part in things like this.

    THis is all however irrelevant. What I put fingers to keyboards to whinge about was the lack of consistency of plot colours between the two graphs - IOS stays blue, but the others are all over the place.

    If I was marking this, definitely a grade killer.

  9. BigBadWolf

    Does this count iPads?

    You mention smartphones is the headline, but the graph talks about mobile OS. The iPad has shown up surprisingly high in a lot of web stats, which makes sense if it's displacing netbooks for couchbound web surfing.

    Nevermind, went to the source. They have a mobile browser share which breaks it down into iPod Touch (8%) and iPhone (36%) which adds up to the total given here. There FAQ also suggests mobile means pocketable, ruling out iPad.

  10. mmm mmm

    Good to see

    iOS taking a tumble and Android picking up but I'd feel slightly dirty if I knew the Apple brigade had found an OS that I liked.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just an Observation

    Over here in the US at the moment, an observation I've had (whilst wandering around the parks in Orlando) is that quite a lot of people have Android handsets with biiig screens (HTC etc.), and I've seen fewer Apple devices than in the past (although they're still around, but Android seems to be dominant). That's not a scientific 'empirical' experiment, but just an observation, but it's definitely noticeable.

    There does seem to be much more of a push on the networks over here for Android handsets. Haven't seen much advertisiting for Apple products over here, although the Apple stores in both malls in Orlando were packed.

  12. bertino

    Do iPhones really outnumber Android phones 3-1 in Europe?

    Not sure, working in a techy environment skews my perception, where android is probably level.

    How many people have the Android web browser (Dolphin in my case, not sure if you can change the stock browser) set to desktop though, so that you see the full web page instead of a mobile version? And if so does this count towards the stats?

    1. Steve Evans

      Re: Do iPhones really outnumber Android phones 3-1 in Europe?

      Remember the stats are based on web hits, not on sales. So all the graph shows is that iOS users browsed sites running this specific counter 3 times more than Android... However, as you say, it could be a case of miss counting. iOS has been locked into the built in browser until only recently, whereas Symbian and Android users have been able to opt for other since year dot. If these are not identified as the correct OS then the entire graph and conclusions drawn from it aren't worth jack.

      I for one wouldn't dream of browsing t'intarweb on the default Nokia browser. First install on Symbian for me was always Opera mobile, and the second was Opera mini!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mobile OS vs Browser ID?

        Yes, I thought the same thing.

        This is about USAGE, not sales.

        Also, keep in mind these are OS statistics, not browser statistics.

        As Opera reported last month, they have ~105 MILLION mobile users now & growing, so I don't know if StatCounter is including Opera for iPhone (or Android, Symbian, Blackberry versions) and will count the pending release of Opera for Tablets on iPad & Android.

        This will skew the OS market share readings if Opera user-agent strings are being misrecognized or uncounted altogether...

  13. bex

    it's all in the interpretation

    looking at those charts what I see as andriod gaining and ios loosing share

  14. Mark .

    Doesn't reflect usage at all

    All these stats tell us is how unreliable going by network usage is. For phones, we *know* what the market shares are. We know that Symbian and Android dominate, at around 30% each. We know that Apple lag behind at only 15% of smartphone share.

    The fact that Apple users seem more likely to sit around hitting refresh on Facebook all day long does nothing to change those facts. (Another interesting point is that, AIUI, Blackberry has gone from 2nd place to 4th place in share, yet on these stats, one would think their share has increased.) Other bias comes from that IOS has more apps that sit in the background and guzzle data.

    "It's no surprise to see the decline in Symbian usage"

    Not this myth again. Symbian sales have been *increasing*. The share has fallen, but that's simply basic statistics due to more companies entering the market. And the share is still twice that of Apple's.

  15. Mark .

    "Terrible stink of failure coming off them certainly didn't help"

    Talking of the anti-Nokia bias, what's with the "Terrible stink of failure coming off them certainly didn't help" and a pic of the perfectly good (though a few years old now) Nokia 5800? The article it links to doesn't have this bias nonsense.

    Is this meant to be a professional publication? It's like some angry child who wants to brag about the expensive Iphone his parents got him, wrote some rant on The Reg front page when no one was looking...

    The Nokia 5800 is a perfectly decent smartphone for it's time - remember that at that time, the Iphone couldn't even do basic functionality like copy/paste, multitasking, Flash or video, despite it costing far more; and Android mid-range phones also had lower resolutions and poorer cameras. And comparing an old Nokia to modern phones is unfair, when there are newer phones from Nokia.

    Given that Nokia are still the number one phone and smartphone company (despite bias claims like in this article), it seems plenty of people spending their money agree with me.

  16. NoneSuch

    On the graphs I see...

    ...IOS going consistently down and Android going consistently up. Just seems North Americans are ahead of the trend this time. Cannot be the Yanks so must be those scrappy Canadians leading the way. ;-)

    (Would use the Mexicans but I hear their Ambassador to the UK has little sense of ha-ha lately)

  17. Kay Burley ate my hamster


    You can change the default browser on Android, not on iOS, also maybe iOS users have to use the browser to access porn, Android users can of course use an app/alternate browser. Shhh!

  18. Mark .

    Re: it's all in the interpretation

    "looking at those charts what I see as andriod gaining and ios loosing share"

    Indeed - and note how this compares to the reporting on *actual* share for Nokia. Where are all the headlines of "Nokia Symbian dominates smartphone sales"? No, instead we just get doom and gloom on how their market share has fallen.

    So why not for Apple? Why not write off Apple as a "terrible stink of failure", now that we can see that usage share is falling?

  19. Ted

    Americans Hate Androids Too

    Here in the States, most everyone dislikes the Android smartphones as well. Too "clunky" is what most people say. Then there is the lack of software, poor hardware quality and dismal battery life makes them quite unpopular.

    Android sales have really dropped off now that the iPhone is on all the main carriers, so Android is fading out like everyone predicted.

    1. Adam-the-Kiwi

      Re: Android is fading out like everyone predicted...

      So, this is what it looks like inside the reality-distortion bubble.

      Mmmmm, fruity...

  20. simpfeld

    Lack of Awareness?

    Certainly in the UK, there are a lot of Android phones.

    There is however, from my experience, very little awareness that:

    1/ Android has a massive application list.

    2/ Android is common to many phone manufacturers

    3/ Android is never advertised on it's own. So no one has any idea that it is from Google or what the Android logo on phone adverts even means.

    Not sure why awareness is higher in the US, I'd have thought the above issues would true there too. I guess just carrier issues in the US.

  21. JaitcH

    Markets are different and difficult to compare

    The North American market is split in two and defined by the 49th parallel; Europe is defined by not only the carriers but by EU policies. Into this already eclectic mix add cultural and economic differences.

    Out in the Far East market conditions are again different with some governments really flattening the market so handsets can be bought through carriers or retailers with cut-throat pricing regimes.

    India is a developing market with infrastructure problems, as is the case with Africa.

    As SIMPFELD so rightly pointed out OS don't mean too much to the average user. You buy a Nokia or a Lemon 4 or a Motorola - you buy whatever provides the best answer to your daily challenges - a lot buy because they are happy buying by name alone trusting the manufacturer hasn't screwed up too much.

    1. Antidisestablishmentarianist


      Are you still on about the "Lemon 4"?

      How sad. Very sad.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @Mark .

    @Mark .

    That's not an old 5800, it's a current Nokia 5230: A phone priced and aimed at the same market as the Android Orange San Fransisco. A phone with no WiFi, a capacitive screen and which is almost unusable even for making a phone call, let alone sending a text (T9 predictive text on a touch screen FFS). Yes it's a Nokia phone that stinks of fail and I can't think of a recent one (possibly excluding the N900 which was quickly left to die) that doesn't.

  23. John 62
    Jobs Halo

    the kids

    all the cool kids get a cheap Blackberry from their parents so they can use BBM, and maybe facebook. Some richer kids get HTC Androids, or they get a Blackberry and an iPod Touch. The less-cool kids get a Blackberry lookalike from LG or Samsung or whoever, just to fit in.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    So far from the truth it's not even funny.

    I mean everyone knows Android is killing iOS in sales, so this article is utter tosh.

    1. Drewc (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: So far from the truth it's not even funny.

      I don't think Apple gives a fig about what any price comparison sites has to say about mobile phone sales.

      We certainly don't ...

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