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The World Agrees, 'Dumb' Phones Are Out

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It seems nearly everyone you know has and uses a cellular phone. Netbiscuits, a global research firm based in Germany, has gathered information about those phones and all those users and compiled some very interesting statistics.

Every quarter, Netbiscuits releases what it calls its Web Trends Report, an analysis of mobile Web usage across the planet. The firm surveyed users in 242 countries.

The analysts found more than 4,000 different mobile phones models with more than 100 different screen sizes were in use during the first quarter of 2014, an 8% increase in phone models from a year earlier. Those phones come from nearly 200 vendors -- running versions of 26 different operating systems utilizing 26 different browsers. If those numbers aren't staggering, Netbiscuits analyzed 2.5 billion page impressions to determine the current trends.

The latest survey confirmed the world is trending away from dumb/feature phones toward increasingly sophisticated smartphone hardware. The survey also determined:

  • Google's (GOOG - Get Report) Android is the world's most popular platform, accounting for 55% of total traffic
  • Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) greatest volume of Web hits comes from the U.S., where it accounts for 44% of mobile device traffic.
  • The U.S. is the most consistently connected nation on mobile, with the peak share of evening surfing (between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT) happening much earlier than Europe (8 p.m. to 10 p.m.).
The analysts also came up with some interesting regional results:
  • Android's largest country share of traffic is in South Korea, representing 80%
  • Apple's iOS has its largest share of traffic in Canada, an impressive 59%. It also has the highest proportion of the latest Android KitKat users at just over 1 in 5 of Android hits.
  • Australia is the only country in Asia Pacific where iOS share of traffic (54%) is higher than Android's share.
  • Spanish Web usage was staggered, with a much later start in the morning and a later spike for lunch.
  • In 26 countries, users surf the Web on mobile phones with screens that are, on average, smaller than 3 inches. Twenty-five of those countries are in Africa with Ivory Coast and Lesotho mobile surfers using the smallest.
The study found overall that 52% of all traffic came from Apple, Samsung and HTC with other users fragmented across a vast array of other vendors and devices.

What do all these numbers mean? Daniel Weisbeck, chief operating officer and chief marketing officer of Netbiscuits, said he believes the survey can be used as a learning tool by the mobile industry.

"The complexity of mobile means it is no longer just enough to know that a customer is using an iPhone or a Samsung device. Brands need to understand how device parameters, such as screen size and browser version, along with contextual elements like location and bandwidth speed, influence engagement and behavior. Knowing your mobile visitors better can help identify reasons for abandonment and high conversion groups to target," he said.

>>Read More: Samsung Boots Galaxy Smartphone Design Boss

>>Read More: Why ARM Believes We'll See a $20 Smartphone

>>Read More: Nokia Sells Cell Phone Business to Microsoft Just in Time

-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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