Mobile browser stats for May; methodology change

Here are the global mobile browser stats for May. Three new browsers entered the stats because both StatCounter and I changed our methodologies. These changes are detailed at the end of this entry.

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Despite the changes in detection, nothing much is happening among the big five. Android grows but still hasn’t passed Nokia, which also grows. Opera and Safari are back on the same level, after a brief Safari advantage.

All in all it seems the times of huge Android growth is past, which takes most of the dynamics out of the top five.

Global browser stats, May 2011
Browser May 2011 ch April 2011 Remarks
Safari 22% -1 23% iPhone and iPod Touch. iPad not included.
Opera 22% 0 22% Mini and Mobile combined
Nokia 17% +1 16%
Android 17% +2 15% Includes 2.x tablets
BlackBerry 13% 0 13% WebKit-based BB6 browser still marginal
NetFront 2% -2 4% Drop caused by bug; see below
Jasmine 1% +1 - NetFront-based and early WebKit-based
Obigo 1% +1 - For LG phones as well as Brew MP. Version 10 is WebKit-based
Dolfin 1% +1 - Samsung bada
Other 4% -2 6%
Samsung 0 -1 1% Real change +1
Volatility 6% 3% due to StatCounter changes
WebKit 58% +2 56% Safari, Nokia, Android, Dolfin, 10% of BlackBerry
Mobile 6% +1 5% Mobile browsing as percentage of all browsing

Now let’s take a look at the changes that took place under the hood.

StatCounter’s changes

In late April StatCounter made a few changes in its browser detection after I delivered a few bug reports and feature requests. The following list details those changes. Many thanks to the StatCounter team for the action and subsequent clarification.

The big five (Safari, Opera, Nokia, Android, BlackBerry) are not affected. The differences are in the long tail:

  1. The Obigo browser, which is mostly in use for LG phones but which also runs on Brew MP, was misdetected as an unknown desktop browser. This has been mended.
  2. The Samsung category encompassed all Samsung non-Android browsers. It has been split into the following:
    1. Dolfin for bada.
    2. Jasmine. This is a name Samsung used to use for all its mid-range browsers. It encompasses both early WebKit-based bada browsers and older, mostly NetFront-based browsers. It’s on the way out.
    3. Samsung. I am not sure what this category is. Apparently it’s Samsung browsers that are detected as neither Android nor bada nor Jasmine.
    I interpreted the old Samsung category as mostly bada, but it seems I was wrong.
  3. When these changes were made, a bug crept in that made some strings that ought to be detected as NetFront or the new Samsung return Unknown instead. This bug was corrected in mid June. Therefore the May and June figures for NetFront and Samsung are too low, and Unknown/Default Browser/Other too high. This bug will be corrected fully only in the July figures.

These changes are best visible in Brazil, where Jasmine and Obigo have relatively large market shares.

My changes

I also changed one aspect of my methodology: Until now my cut-off point was 1% of market share; browsers that had less were lumped together in Other. The cut-off point has been changed to 0.5%, and values between 0.5% and 0.99% are rounded to 1%.

What I did not do is re-calculate previous quarters according to these new rules. That would drive me mad very quickly.

This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter.
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