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Mobile Browser Usage in Q4 2014

In June 2012, Akamai launched the Akamai Internet Observatory (IO), which highlights browser usage across desktop and other connected devices. The data presented in the Fourth Quarter, 2014 State of the Internet Report and this post are derived from the Akamai IO site.

Chrome

As mentioned in a blog post on the third quarter's mobile browser usage trends, Akamai has reported on traffic from Android's Webkit and Apple's iOS Safari browsers previously. All other browsers were grouped into the Others category. Starting with the fourth quarter, Chrome for mobile is broken out from the Others category. Despite Chrome's formal launch in 2012 on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, Chrome did not ship as Android's default Web browser until Android 4.4 KitKat.

Over time, it is likely that mobile traffic on Chrome will overtake mobile traffic on Android Webkit. When comparing mobile operating system platforms (Android to iOS) Akamai combines Android Webkit and Chrome browser metrics to derive the total Android platform number.

Cellular connections

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, mobile Safari led Android Webkit by 9 percentage points, while Webkit led Chrome by about 18.5 points. During the fourth quarter, Chrome (along with those in the Others category) trended upward, while Safari and Webkit declined a few points. At the end of the quarter, mobile Safari's lead over Android Webkit expanded to 12 points, while Webkit's lead over Chrome narrowed to under 8 points.

When comparing the platform totals, Android maintained a slight 2-point lead during the quarter. In total, iOS made up 36 percent of cellular network requests, while Android accounted for 38 percent.

figure_37_Leading_mobile_browsers_across_cellular_networks_Q4

All network connections

After expanding the data to include all networks, the gap between Safari and Android Webkit widens. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Safari usage was roughly 20 percentage points greater than Android Webkit. This gap stayed roughly the same throughout the quarter and closed at a 24 point gap. On the other hand, the gap between Android Webkit and Chrome narrowed significantly. At the start of the quarter, the gap was 18 points between the two browsers, but trended down to 10 points as Chrome's usage picked up speed while Webkit's growth slowed.

figure_38_Leading_mobile_browsers_across_all_networks_Q4

Across platforms, iOS held onto a 9.8 percentage point lead over Android at the beginning of the fourth quarter. This lead narrowed to 9.3 points by the quarter's close. When averaged across the fourth quarter, iOS accounted for roughly 48 percent of requests, while Android made up around 40 percent of requests.

For the full report and more on mobile connectivity across the world, check out the Fourth Quarter State of the Internet Report.

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