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Mobile Users Stick with Their Default Browsers
Mobile Users Stick with Their Default Browsers
By Mark Long / NewsFactor Network Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus

Users of mobile devices running Apple's iOS platforms are more active when it comes to downloading alternate browsers than users of mobile devices running Google's Android platform, Chitika Insights said Tuesday.

Based on a recent sample of the advertising network operator's U.S and Canadian ad traffic, researchers at the data analytics arm of the Chitika advertising network noted that 91.26 percent of Android device users were relying on the standard Android mobile browser whereas only 85.0 percent of iOS device users were employing Apple's built-in browser.

"We found that, while the vast majority of users from both mobile operating systems stick with their default browsers, Apple users are more active at downloading replacements than Android users," noted Chitika Insights. "Additionally, Apple users were found to be more adventurous with their selections."

Still, new mobile versions of the Chrome and Firefox browsers have yet to make significant inroads on either the iOS or Android platforms. According to the ad network firm's sample of hundreds of millions of online impressions, only 3 percent of iOS device users and just 2.4 percent of Android device users were running Chrome between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4.

"On Android devices, the mainstream alternative browsers -- Chrome, Firefox, and Opera/Opera Mini -- make up all statistically significant non-native Browser usage," Chitika Insights said. "Compare that to iOS, where 14 percent of impressions are referred from a variety of smaller, exclusively mobile browsers."

Meager Shares for Chrome and Firefox

Despite receiving favorable reviews over the summer, the latest Chrome and Firefox browser releases for mobile devices have not caught fire with consumers. Chitika views this as a testament to high user satisfaction with the default browsers that ship with today's mobile phones and tablets.

"While both Chrome and Firefox's share of iOS and Android Web traffic are meager, their modest performances shouldn't be taken as a statement about poor usability," Chitika Insights reported. "Google and Mozilla's venture into the mobile browser realm has likely been as effective as they'd have hoped."

Still, the divide between the PC and mobile browser markets will only grow greater as phone and tablets account for a greater slice of global computing market. The latest data from Net Applications indicates that mobile handsets and tablets collectively account for 9 percent of all online computing device activity on a global basis -- up from 5.5 percent in October of last year.

According to the U.S.-based Web metric firm, Apple's Safari browser currently holds a 65.7 percent share of the mobile device market. By contrast, the generic browser shipping with Google's Android-powered mobile devices accounted for a 20.2 percent share.

Kindle Fire HD Versus the Nexus 7

Chitika also reported Tuesday that Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD released on Sept. 14 is already accounting for a significant share of all Web browsing activities on Amazon's tablets in the U.S. and Canada. During the new model's first five days of availability, the Kindle Fire HD accounted for 11 percent of all Kindle Fire Web traffic.

Still, Kindle Fire devices have a long way to go to catch up with the phenomenal success of the new Nexus 7 tablet. In a head-to-head comparison of the Nexus 7 to Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet models, the new tablet co-produced by Google and Asus accounted for a 68.5 percent Web share versus 27.9 percent for the Kindle Fire and 3.5 percent for the new Kindle Fire HD.

"Having largely the same hardware as the Nexus 7 puts pressure on Amazon's Kindle Fire-specific services to make the difference for customers --- features that include Whispersync, X-Ray for movies and books, and integration with Amazon Prime," Chitika Insights noted. "But the Kindle Fire also includes ads unless users pay more --- a feature which could turn some buyers off."

Tell Us What You Think


Posted: 2012-09-27 @ 5:47am PT
The ICS default browser seems to be more intuitive and responsive than the alternatives anyways. I am a fan of Firefox on the desktop, but the latest mobile version leaves much to be desired.

Posted: 2012-09-26 @ 2:58pm PT
Um... On iOS there is no way to change the 'default' browser. That means any time you ever tap a web link in an email or another app, it will *always* open in the default iOS browser. Serious impedance to using an alternate browser. Yay for locked down systems...

Posted: 2012-09-26 @ 12:17pm PT
I expect iOS users will be less likely to switch considering all non-standard browsers are rated 17+ maturity in the app store now.

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