iOS leads in the US, but China uses "less capable" browsers
Smartphones and tablets now account for about a fifth of US and Canadian web traffic, with the majority share going to iOS devices, according to new figures compiled by Phil Webb for the Mobify blog. The iPhone makes up 74 per cent of smartphone traffic, and the iPad makes up about 95 per cent of tablet traffic.
In China, however, statistics revealed by Chinese search engine Baidu highlight a very different environment. Mobile browsing is larger than in the US and Canada, with about 40 per cent of web traffic coming from mobile devices. However, in China the iPhone accounts for less than six per cent of traffic, with 2G phones instead grabbing the lion's share. As Webb notes, you must therefore be mindful of such statistics before developing mobile sites, and ensure compatibility with less capable browsers where relevant.
In February, we reported on developers having a tendency to focus too much on the iPhone, and mobile platform strategist Peter-Paul Koch recommended installing Opera Mini as a good starting point to break out of this line of thinking, and potentially opening your mobile output to a wider market. This certainly tallies with the latest news from Opera, which said India now tops the list of Opera Mini browser usage (with Russia second).
Opera Mini has also now branched out into the social space, providing people who use basic mobile phones with quick access to Facebook and Twitter content. This could drive usage in many countries and therefore makes it even more important designers test their mobile sites in that browser.