Irina Sandu

on mobile and Mozilla

Month: August, 2012

Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 33

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

  • Smart updates reported on for the Google Play Store
  • Galaxy Note 2 expected to be revealed soon in Berlin
  • Jurors in the trial concerning IP on mobile devices between Samsung and Apple to begin deliberations
  • Recent shipment data shows intense competition in the Android OEM space
  • China now has more mobile internet users than desktop ones
  • China remains top producer of mobile devices; Economist briefing on Huawei
  • New announcements in the mobile payments market

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Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 32

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


  • Trial between Samsung and Apple reveals more history of smartphone evolution, competitive analysis documents and user adoption motivations
  • Nokia survey shows that a device with a QWERTY keyboard is important in any platform portfolio
  • Q2 results show Android and iOS on the rise, Blackberry and Symbian in decline
  • Rumours point to a new, 10-inch version of the Kindle Fire to be released in the fall
  • Opera opened offices in SiliconValley


The patent trial between Samsung and Apple is revealing interesting and important details on the evolution of the companies’ main offerings that helped shape the overall smartphone market. An Apple employee testified in court that the iPhone design is heavily inspired from what Sony was promoting at the time (picture here). Further, internal documents or their contents are made public, two of which relate to surveys from 2011 and 2010 on iPhone and Android adoption as well as a pretty thorough competitive analysis performed by Samsung employees on the strengths and weaknesses in the user interface of the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S device. The whole document can be found here and the iPhone adoption user survey’s quoted findings include:


  • Apple’s brand and design are by far the bigger drivers of iPhone purchases than software and apps
  • trust in the Apple brand was the first or second most popular reason to buy the device in most regions
  • the physical appearance and design was also important
  • least important almost universally was the ability to transfer music and other media across multiple devices
  • another important feature for buying consideration was comfort which holding in hands
  • games were not an important category of apps to have, except in China



A similar survey on Android adoption among iPhone users from 2010 reveals that most Android buyers wanted to stay with their carrier, some of them were conquered by their trust in the Google brand and another set of them liked the larger screens offered by those devices, as well as the integration with the Android Market and Google services and yet another reason offered is wanting to be on the latest technology. The two surveys validate that the parent company of the operating system is an important factor in the purchase decision, together with design and appearance and the software offering.


Nokia published a survey of its users on preference for input methods which reveals that QWERTY keyboards are liked by a significant share of consumers. Nokia’s research is pretty representative of the world given their global penetration, but skewed to a limited extent away from touch screens, as their user base is under-represented in North America, a market that will have a string connection with touchscreen interfaces supported by the iPhone’s significant penetration. The survey is consistent with findings that the top activity on a mobile phone is not voice calling, but SMS sending, which is followed by photo taking and after that voice calling. Commentary by mobile analyst Tomi Ahonen recommends that devices with QWERTY input need to be present in any smartphone portfolio.


Q2 results reveal that overall mobile phone sales have declined by 2.3% year-over-year to 419 million units, which represents an abrupt decline in feature phone demand for which smartphones did not entirely compensate. They continued their extraordinary growth to account for 36.7% of total device sales, which represents a 42.7% growth year-over-year for the smartphone segment. Platforms-wise, Android and iOS accounted for 85% of all smartphones shipped in the quarter, both of which recorded growth, while Symbian and Blackberry had a declining evolution. Android lead the top with 68% and 105 million of all smartphones shipped, supported heavily by Samsung, which accounted for 44% of the Androids and totaled more than the next 7 Android vendors combined. iOS was on 2nd place with 26% and 20 million devices shipped, followed by Blackberry with 5% and 12.5 million and Symbian with 4.4% and 18.3 million.


Rumours point to a new Kindle Fire version with a larger, 10-inch display, that might be released in the fall.


Opera opened offices in Silicon Valley, in San Mateo, that will host more than 100 people and will be home to AdMarvel and Mobile Theory, the affiliates that deal with its advertising network and its multi-platform mobile app store.

Android and mobile browsing insights – Week 31

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


  • Gingerbread still main Android version in market, Jelly Bean at 0.8%
  • Developer policy on Android changed to reduce spam
  • Privacy Policy field for apps introduced in Google Play Store
  • Preloaded YouTube app removed from iOS 6
  • Samsung maintains spot as top handset and smartphone vendor by shipments
  • More than 200 million people are using Opera Mini and Mobile
  • Dual-core processors to reach entry-level smartphone market early 2013
  • Perception of privacy on mobile far from reality, according to University of California study
  • iPads accounted for 73% of tablet sales in China in Q2


New Android version distribution stats from Google put Gingerbread at 61% of the market, Ice Cream Sandwich at 16%, Froyo at 15%, Eclair at 4%, Honeycomb at 2% and Jelly Bean at 0.8%.


Google has reviewed the developer policy for Android to reduce spam and restrict conditions for in-app ad delivery. The changes limit the amount and manner in which ads can be shown, particularly in the notification tray and forbid the impersonation of system warnings. The application that sent the notifications needs to be easily identifiable to the user.



Another recent modification to the Play store is the introduction of a Privacy Policy field for each app, under the Developer Webpage information. This field is not mandatory, but it allows developers to free up some space from the Description section, where they would typically add links to their Privacy Policy.



After doing so with the Maps application, Apple has decided to remove the YouTube app as a preloaded function for iOS6. Google is making available a YouTube client in the App Store, to be downloaded by users at will.  This move has been interpreted as a distancing by Apple from its main mobile competitor and the cut off of a revenue source for Google and it is not clear whether Apple will provide another preloaded video platform or not. This also gives control to Google over the YouTube experience on iOS, as the default one has been built by Apple.


Q2 results from Strategy Analytics show Samsung to be maintaining its position as top handset manufacturer by shipments, both in the smartphone as well as the overall phone market, having sent 26% (93 million) of all devices and 35% (50 million) of smartphones. Nokia is the second biggest mobile device manufacturer (23% and 84 million) and the third largest smartphone manufacturer (7% and 10 million), with Apple on the 3rd spot in the overall phone market (7% and 26 million) and second in the smartphone segment (18% and 26 million).



Opera published the June version of its State of the Mobile Web report which states that there are more than 200 million people using its mobile browsers, 17 million of which are on Opera Mobile and the rest on Opera Mini. Opera Mini users viewed over 115 billion pages in June 2011, which amounts to over 600 page views per month and 20 per day per user. The rest of the report focuses on Africa and includes data on mobile penetration, top 10 visited domains and top 10 handsets used. You can download the report here:



Opera partnered with Etisalat to offer a co-branded version of the Opera Mini browser to 13 million people in Nigeria. The app comes in 2 flavors – sport and social.


Opera conducted a study on 6,000 people in Brazil on mobile Internet usage. Findings include:

  • 79% of participants use mobile devices to go online and most commonly update social networks, download content, watch videos and search the web
  • Opera Mini is the most popular mobile browser, with almost 34% of the market, according to StatCounter
  • Almost 30% of users don’t have internet access at home and 24% go to internet cafes
  • 78% of mobile internet users browser the mobile web with feature phones
  • 59% like to access social networks, 57% like to download content, 36% search and 32% watch videos


Dual-core processors accounted for 20% of smartphones shipped in 2011, 60% of which were produced by Samsung, followed by Qualcomm with 16%, Texas Instruments and NVIDIA. Samsung’s position can be attributed to sales of the iPhone and its Galaxy S series. It is expected that dual-core application processor penetration will increase in 2012 and 2013 and the the ARM Cortex-A5 will help dual-core penetrate entry-level smartphones at the start of 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.


A study conducted by the University of California suggests that there is a significant disconnect between many people’s perception of the security and privacy of data on their phones and reality. People declared that they don’t like to have their information stored on the devices accessed and that they believe that their phone is as private as their personal computer. Four-fifths of respondents said that they definitely or probably wouldn’t let apps collect their contacts lists and that would not permit phones to serve location-based ads, but these are practices that have been encountered in the industry.


The iPad accounted for 73% of tablet sales in China in Q2 of 2012, according to research firm Analysys International. Apple is followed by Lenovo, eBen eRen, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Teclast, Aiguo and Motorola.


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