Smartphone trends that augur well, especially for Google

There have been a couple of reports on developments in the smartphone world that I’ve been meaning to blog for a few days now.  These are important as we all assess the likelihood of a sustained tech boom driven by mobile computing, likely developments in mobile advertising and finally how the Android vs iOS battle is panning out.

First up is a study from an independent research firm that polled 5,013 US adults on their smartphone usage.  The report was commissioned by Google and reported on the Google Mobile Ads blog and so was always likely to come out with findings that are positive for the mobile ad market, if not for Google explicitly.  Still, the findings were conclusively positive – we are all using our smartphones more and more, including to research and conduct commerce, and we are influenced by mobile ads.  The headlines:

  • 71% of smartphone users search because of an ad they’ve seen either online or offline
  • 82% of smartphone users notice mobile ads
  • 74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase as a result of using their smartphones to help with shopping
  • 88% of those who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day

I’m not a typical consumer, but I use my iPhone to make purchases with increasing frequency.  I’ve blogged and tweeted about this before, but purchasing with the Amazon app is so quick that it is an absolute pleasure, and takes only fractionally longer than sending myself an email reminder to make the purchase later.  Purchasing on the iPhone outside of the Amazon app is still something I do very rarely though.  Equally I don’t use my iPhone much to assist with in-store shopping, although pretty much everything that can be bought online I buy online and hence I couldn’t really expect much help with the things I still buy offline.

There is a host more detail on the Google blog, which is well worth reading in full.

Secondly – research from Distimo the number of apps available for smartphones is growing for all platforms (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Nokia Ovi and Windows 7) but the fastest growth is with Android, Blackberry and Windows 7, see the chart below.  Perhaps the most interesting point is that if current trends continue the number of apps available on Android will pass the iPhone in July.  Note these extrapolations are based on three months of activity across the ecosystem, which is good in the sense that it only includes apps that are genuinely live, but makes the extrapolations fragile.

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Google isn’t having it all their own way though.  As Techcrunch noted this morning the latest iOS update from Apple was released very quickly in response to the bruhaha about Apple tracking the location of iPhones and is now available to all iPhone users, but the latest version of Android (2.3) is only installed on 4% of Android devices five months after it was released.  Even allowing for the apples to oranges comparison of 100% availability for upgrade on iOS to 4% have actually upgraded to Android 2.3 this difference is massive and must be creating headaches for developers and reducing usage of the latest Android features.