Feeds

Web stat WTF: iOS beats Android 3 to 1, iOS and Android tied

Welcome to Schrödinger's web analytics

New hybrid storage solutions

Apple's iOS devices account for 65 per cent of mobile web traffic versus Android's 20 per cent, or the two operating systems are neck-and-neck at about a quarter of all mobile web traffic apiece.

Yes, you read that correctly. There is, indeed, that much disparity in two recent mobile web-usage reports, one from Net Applications' stat service Net Market Share, and another from StatCounter's Global Stats.

As Mark Twain was wont to say, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." In this case, however, a little digging beneath the surface of each data set show that both Net Applications and StatCounter may indeed be correct.

Let's start with the most obvious difference. Net Applications measures both handset and tablet – mostly meaning iPad – web usage, while StatCounter defines a mobile device as being "pocket-sized".

Net Applications: Handset/Tablet Web-Usage Market Share

Either iOS is beating the stuffing out of Android ... (data: Net Applications)

I don't know about your trousers, but the only pocket into which we might envision an iPad – or, for that matter, a Samsung Galaxy Tab or any other far-behind iPad competitor – fitting would be in our London Fog Bogart Micro. If that.

With that in mind, and knowing how the iPad is heavily used as web-consumption device, the difference between Net Applications' and StatCounter's web-usage stats might be quite reasonable – but there's more.

Net Applications measures unique users, while StatCounter measures page views – a huge difference in methodology. StatCounter argues in its Global Stats FAQ that to base stats on uniques distorts true usage levels.

Net Applications disagrees, arguing in its Net Market Share FAQ that "Counting pageviews for market share reports would be susceptible to bot attacks and inexplicable jumps in market share that don't represent the true nature of the market."

StatCounter: 'Pocket-Sized' Device Web-Usage Market Share

... or Android and iOS are neck-and-neck. Or maybe both analyses are correct (data: StatCounter)

From here on the sidelines, The Reg sees value in both metrics – as long as you keep in mind the pros and cons of each. Page views can give a deep look into how active an average user may be, and uniques can provide less-distorted analysis of, for example, which OSes and browsers are being used in the wild.

And then there's data weighting. As Net Applications explains, they weight their stats based on CIA-provided data on per-country internet usage. "If our global data shows that Brazil represents 2 per cent of our traffic," they say, "and the CIA table shows Brazil to represent 4 per cent of global Internet traffic, we will count each unique visitor from Brazil twice."

From Net Applications point of view, "Country level weighting removes any bias by region." StatCounter – surprise! – sees things differently. "Weighting stats means that the stats are only as good as the weighting methodology used. If the weighting data is inaccurate or out of date, then it renders the data completely incorrect."

There are other differences between the two major web-usage stat providers, not the least being sample size: Net Applications tracks 160 million unique visits (apples) at 40,000 websites per month, while StatCounter keeps tabs on 15 billion page views (oranges) per month at over 3 million websites.

Both data-set sizes, we aver, should be considered to be of statistically significant size. You may disagree, but what is difficult to disagree with is that the two companies measure mobile web usage in such different fashion that to claim that one is indisputably "right" and the other indisputably "wrong" is missing the point – they're merely different.

That said, they do both provide useful trend analysis, if not rock-solid market share numbers. And any way that you choose to look at either company's trend lines, it's not a happy time for RIM and its BlackBerries. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.