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Ad Impressions Add More Evidence That Android Is Gaining Ground … Kinda

by Sean P. Aune | May 22, 2010May 22, 2010 8:00 am PDT

It seems to be becoming the in thing in mobile circles to provide evidence that Google’s Android operating system is gaining more and more ground.  A couple of weeks ago it was the new report from NPD Research saying that Android was outselling the iPhone in the first quarter of this year.  As we stated there, we don’t find that difficult to believe due to the number of handsets currently on the market that feature said operating system.

This week the news is coming from Google’s I/O Conference that 65,000 new Android phones are being activated every day.  Again this isn’t too surprising when you consider the number of handsets that are running Android.  (I really would like to know why so many people seem to gloss over this fact … it’s kind of important)

The even newer piece of information that seems to make everyone salivate that Android is gaining ground, and the iPhone is losing some, comes from the latest Mobile Mix report put out by Millennial Media.  This is a company that provides advertising on mobile applications, and while not having as much name recognition as AdMob, is reported to be the leading company for mobile ad impressions.  In the latest report, they had the following graph showing how the various mobile operating systems stacked up in the number of impressions for April.

mobile os mix

To go strictly by this chart, it looks like the iPhone is losing considerable ground, and five percent of its loss went to Android, and the other three percent went to BlackBerry.  While many blogs have been quick to put up this chart and say it shows that Google is gaining on Apple — albeit they all admit it is still a long way to go — no one seems to take into account that this is just measuring the ad impressions served by this one company.  What is to say that some developers didn’t switch over to another company?  Perhaps some of them removed ads and went a paid app route.  Or perhaps developers are preparing for the release of iAd, Apple’s own in-house ad system.

This data is dubious at best.  And while I am not leveling any sort of allegations of fudging numbers at Millennial Media, I am wondering about these other data points that might answer some of the questions about the shift.  Without the raw data, it is just impossible to figure out if this chart really tells us anything about the state of the true sales of the phones or not.  Until this company and others release actual raw numbers, these percentages do nothing more than provide us with a pretty pie chart to stare at.

Once again I have to wonder why everyone seems to want to see this shift in the landscape.  Last time I was discussing number of handsets sold, and it was possible Google had picked up speed due to volume, but this time I just have to ask the opposite and wonder why everyone wants to see iPhone market share fall so much?  You buy the phone you want, and if it serves your needs, great.  Why worry about how any other phone is doing so long as you are happy with your own?  Does the iPhone’s success somehow lessen your happiness with your Android phone and vice-versa?

What say you?  Do you really care if another phone is outselling the OS you chose to go with?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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