Android Users Don't Know Enough to Matter

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) took a few shots at Google ( GOOG) last week during their WWDC keynote.

Even Siri poked fun at Google's names for their different versions of their operating systems (Ice Cream Sandwich, Cupcake and FroYo): "Who came up with these names, Ben & Jerry's?"

But the really stunning stat to come out at the conference was from Scott Forstall, who is the head of Apple's mobile software. He pointed out that more than 80% of Apple's iOS users were running the latest version of iOS. However, only 7% of Google Android users are running the latest version of their software.

This is important from a couple of perspectives. First, from a developer's perspective, it is very attractive when deciding which operating system you want to develop your application on first.

Jeff Verkoeyen, the developer who built Facebook's ( FB) iPad app (and also my nephew), tweeted this after hearing this stat above in the keynote:

This is one of the many reasons why I love building for iOS. 80% vs 7% latest-gen adoption.

But this issue is also relevant to time spent browsing on iOS vs. Android. Consulting firm Flurry Analytics found 69% of new mobile application developer projects started in the first quarter of 2012 were for iOS. This compares to only 31% for Android.

At first, this might seem odd, given that the media continuously reports that Android's market share in smart phones is greater than Apple's.

But another explanation might have to do with mobile browsing. Starting last June, U.S. users started spending more minutes per day browsing on their mobile devices compared to their PCs.


But here's what really hurts Google. According to Net Applications, 61.2% of mobile Web users use the Safari Web browser that comes as a default on all iOS devices. This is up from 54.9% in January. Android has only a 18.6% share, followed by Opera Mini with 14% (which Facebook has reportedly been looking at as an acquisition target).

So, even though Android is supposed to have a market share advantage over iOS, Apple users out-browse Google Android users by a 3.3x margin.

It gets worse. A ComScore study in April found that 70% of American Android users can't seem to figure out how to use WiFi on their devices. They found that 29% of iPhone users only connected to the Internet using nothing but cellular data. In the UK, only 13% of iPhone users solely used wireless data to get on to the Web. But in the U.S., 68% of Android users relied on their wireless carrier to do their internet browsing.

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