As reported by Peter-Paul Koch on the QuirksMode blog, the mobile browser race is hotting up. Based on statistics supplied by StatCounter, Opera (Mini and Mobile combined) still leads the pack, with a share of 22 per cent, but Android has jumped into second position, with its share of 20 per cent leapfrogging Safari for iPhone and iPod touch. Nokia remains third, with a share of 17 per cent. Figures for mobile operating systems also show Android for the first time overtaking Apple’s iOS, with shares of 20.6 per cent and 19.4 per cent respectively.
“Just when I was starting to doubt the Android march would continue, it did,” says Koch. “Its gains are incomparable to the three to four points per month it regularly grew per month at the start of this year, but grow it did. And since Safari declined by a point during the same period, the mobile browser landscape has shifted.” He likens the race to a “confused scramble”, noting that the gap between Opera and Nokia is “not impossible to bridge”.
With the iPhone 5 imminent, Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility, and Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia, expect these figures to fluctuate for some time to come. However, one figure that doesn’t seem to be in doubt is the dominance of WebKit. Used in Safari for iOS, Nokia, Android and others, it commands a 58 per cent share of the mobile market. That said, its flavours aren’t identical, and the other statistics show that anyone targeting mobile needs to be doing more than just giving adaptive and mobile websites a cursory glance on an iPhone.
Note: StatCounter says that the iPad does not conform to its definition of a mobile device and it's therefore not included in these statistics.