Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 29

by Irina Sandu

Every week (or so) I post an overview on what’s been happening in the mobile (browsing) world and is relevant to Mozilla.

  • Google released stable versions of Chrome on Android and iOS, a new version of Android (Jelly Bean) and a 7-inch Nexus tablet
  • Adobe to be discontinuing Flash support for Android devices
  • Gingerbread now on 64% of the market, Froyo on 17%, ICS on 11% and Eclair on 5%
  • Deutsche Telekom to launch application component marketplace
  • Telefonica partnered with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM to provide carrier billing
  • Smartphones surpassed feature phone shipments in China for the first time
  • Network operators investigating Wi-Fi as alternative data network infrastructure


Google released a new version of Android (4.1), code-named Jelly Bean. Improvements were made to the user interface responsiveness, fluidity and smoothness, the platform’s input methods and gesture controls. In order to mitigate the fragmentation problems that Android is known for, Google has released a Product Development Kit to help OEMs with porting of the platform on devices and is offering early access to partners for future releases. New stats were released, which point to continual growth for the ecosystem. They include 400 million official activations, a rate of 1 million new activations / day and high growth rate in the emerging markets. Google also revealed a rate of 1 million new NFC-enabled Android devices per week and the following stats for its app store: 600 k apps and games, 1.5 billion installs / month, 20 billion app installs across Google Play. Google also released the stable version of its Chrome browser for Android and an iOS version.


Adobe announced that it will be discontinuing development for the Flash Player for mobile browsers starting with Android 4.1. Users that have already installed the Flash plug-in will continue to receive updates, but users who would like to install it will not be able to do starting with the 15th of August. Devices which have the Flash Player installed and will be upgraded to Android 4.1 may encounter stability issues, because the platform upgrade will not have a certified Flash Player version.


New Android version distribution numbers for end of June put Gingerbread at 64% of the market, Froyo at 17%, Ice Cream Sandwich at 11% and Eclair at 5%.


Deutsche Telekom partnered with Verious to launch the Verious-powered Developer Garden Component Marketplace in 14 countries in Europe, where it will feature application components for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and HTML5, as well as DT’s own APIs. They offer access to a number or Telekom services, such as machine-to-machine communication, SMS, cloud-based voice applications and operator billing.


Telefonica partnered with Facebook, Google, Microsoft and RIM to offer carrier billing in 14 of its markets worldwide by the end of the year. Operator billing is already live on Google Play for O2 customers in Germany and will launch soon on Movistar in Spain. For Windows Phone, Telefonica will setup a section inside the platform’s app store in the form of a branded app download portal. The network operator also announced a strategic partnership with Visa Europe which makes the finance firm the preferred mobile payments’ partner across the continent.


China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology revealed that smartphones shipments in the country have overtaken feature phone ones for the first time. Over the past three months, 56.9% of all of the mobile devices shipped to retailers were smartphones. In terms of install base, China will have 200 million active smartphone units by the end of the year, which represent 20% of its mobile market.


Network operators in India plan to shift some of the data traffic to Wi-Fi. In order to keep up with demand for data on already strained network infrastructure and limited spectrum space, carriers are investigating offloading some of the traffic to Wi-Fi technology. This is part of a worldwide trend of telecommunications providers looking at alternative solutions to complement the building out of 4G networks in developed economies and 3 and 4 G in developing countries.