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Mobile browser figures to be taken with caution

A quick glance at the latest StatCounter figures for mobile browsers seems to suggest further upheaval in terms of market-share. Usage of iPhone and Android has, according to the figures, risen sharply since December, and Android has now overtaken Opera, with their shares being 22.67 per cent and 21.7 per cent respectively.

But mobile platform strategist Peter-Paul Koch, who runs QuirksMode and regularly blogs about mobile browsing figures, told .net that developers shouldn't just take the figures at face value, which are being reported elsewhere as Android Robot now having become the biggest mobile browser. "First of all, realise Safari is at 25 per cent – you have to add the separately counted iPod touch figures. So Safari is once more the largest mobile browser. That's nothing new," he said. "Opera falls a bit, and that's nothing new, either. They were at the same level in October. The only really new item here is Android's rise to a new maximum of 23 per cent."

Koch also urged developers to not read too much into the figures: "Android is clearly rising again, but not nearly as much as its immensely huge sales market share – 50 per cent or thereabouts – would lead you to expect. So I will wait for March's figures before announcing a new trend. If in March, Android rises again and Opera falls again, we're entering a new phase in the mobile browser wars. But the trend could just as easily reverse."