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Our company plans to roll out a mobile support for our site later this year. I will need to test it. I will investigate several testing strategies, but one I will definitely use is testing on actual devices in-house. iOS runs a small number of models. Android, of course, is a different story. I am looking for a some reliable numbers for smart phone market share in the US to help guide some purchasing decisions. Polling our customer base is not an option.

Because of the nature of our product, I am only interested in the cell phone market share in the US, so I need a report that is either specific to that country or that at least reports statistics per country.

What are some authoritative sources for identifying the smart phones with the most market share?

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This question is too localised please re-word ... "This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable" –  Bruce McLeod Jun 21 '12 at 0:05
    
I do need statistics specific to my market, but of course a broader-based report that breaks out statistics per country would also work. I updated my question accordingly. If that will not suffice, I will delete the question. –  user246 Jun 21 '12 at 1:23
    
That update is fine ... it looks good now ... :-) –  Bruce McLeod Jun 21 '12 at 6:38
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4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you want authoritative, you'll probably have to pay money. Accurate, current and authoritative information for things like this is hard to come by.

That said, you should not focus so much on testing it out with specific devices. The mobile segment is so fragmented that even if you manage to test it and get it working well with 50% of the devices, the other 50% are still uncharted territory.

My recommendation would be to take a representative sample of the Android and iOS smartphones that are reasonably still in use. For Android that typically means starting with Android 2.1 devices such as the Droid 2 (or even the original Droid) and scaling up to current-gen ICS phones such as the Razr Maxx. Repeat for the different vendors. Repeat for different screen resolutions.

You basically want to "modulate" (vary) the following variables: 1. Operating system (both version and platform, so e.g. iOS and Android, then Android 2.1, 2.2, 4.0, etc).

  1. Screen size, from the smallest phones to the largest tablets.

  2. Generation, from the latest reasonable generation still in use (depends largely on your customer base though) up through the stuff hitting the market in Q2 2012.

  3. Network speed, if you're using network communications in your app... check out at least a 3G phone (e.g. EvDO) and a 4G phone (e.g. LTE).

  4. As a corollary to network speed, you might also want to modulate on carrier, but you'll end up doing that anyway if you modulate the other parameters.

So if it were me, my strategy would be something like:

  1. Android

1a: Motorola 1a(i): Old/small phone: Droid 1 or Droid 2 1a(ii): Typical phone: Droid X or Droid Bionic 1a(iii): High-end phone: Razr Maxx 1a(iv): Motorola Xoom tablet

1b: HTC 1b(i): Old/small phone: Incredible 1b(ii): Typical phone: Thunderbolt 1b(iii): High-end phone: Jewel

1c: Samsung/Google 1c(i): Sidekick 4G 1c(ii): Galaxy S 1c(iii): Galaxy S3

1d: Lenovo 1d(i): ThinkPad Tablet Slate or IdeaPad (Android, not PC)

1e. Asus 1e(i): Asus Transformer tablet 1e(ii): Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet

1f. Amazon 1f(i): Kindle Fire tablet

  1. iOS / Apple: Just go through the various generations of iPhone, not many products to choose from...

  2. Windows Phone 3a. HTC 3a(i): 7 Trophy 3a(ii): Radar 3a(iii): Titan II

3b. Samsung 3b(i): Omnia 7 3b(ii): Focus S

Obviously if you aren't targeting some of these platforms you don't have to test them at all. It really depends on what your requirements are and what your budget is. But these phones should provide a fairly representative sample.

Note that you will see much more variation in behavior and usability between devices on the same platform if you ship native apps. Web apps should perform relatively the same unless there have been major browser changes between versions of the platform. So all you'd really need to do for a web app is test it against the rendering engine of each platform at appropriate representative resolutions, and do as I mentioned with the network speed modulation.

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If you do a search online there are variety of sources. Generally analyst firms like comScore, IDC and Gartner often have these. Here is an example of a press release from comScore relating to OEM and OS market share. http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/6/comScore_Reports_April_2012_U.S._Mobile_Subscriber_Market_Share

There may be a variety of other sources as well.

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Not surprisingly, Gartner's report (gartner.com/…) is too expensive ($1500) for my little start-up company. –  user246 Jun 20 '12 at 22:51
    
Not surprising at all - though you did specify authoritative, not free. ;) –  Dan Snell Jun 20 '12 at 22:53
    
I would consider prices in the middle ground between $1500 and free. –  user246 Jun 21 '12 at 1:24
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The most authoritative source of information will be your actual results. Once your product is live, you should also monitor actual usage and modify your test matrix accordingly.

I know this doesn't help you right now, but afterwards you user base may or may not conform to the market data. I see this affect in the product that I'm working, our user base is tilted towards (ugg) blackberry devices (though rapidly declining).

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Here is an authoritative source for Samsung and Apple devices in the United States: http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1286669/Apple_v_Samsung_US_sales_numbers.pdf. It turns out that this summer's Apple vs Samsung court case had the side-effect of releasing lots of confidential data about those vendors into the public domain, including some per-model sales statistics for both Apple and Samsung.

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