Google and its Android partners can thank customers in North America for the hot growth of smartphones sporting the mobile operating system.
Among all the Android devices owned around the world, 75 percent of them are in North America, according to AdMob's April Mobile Metrics Report, released Wednesday. That's followed by 11 percent owned in Western Europe and 12 percent in Asia. In contrast, 49 percent of devices running Apple's iPhone OS are in North America, with 28 percent owned in Western Europe and 14 percent in Asia.
Though consumer demand for Android has been climbing, the iPhone still commands the stronger market share, according to the April report. In the United States, iPhone OS devices held a 2-to-1 ownership ratio over Android OS devices last month; worldwide that ratio came in at 3.5 to 1. But of course, the iPhone OS has been around longer than Android.
Looking at hard numbers, AdMob tracked 8.7 million unique Android devices in the United States on its network in April, compared with 10.7 million iPhones. Factoring in the iPod Touch and iPad boosted the number of Apple devices in the U.S. to 18.3 million. Worldwide, AdMob found 11.6 million Android devices, 27.4 million iPhones, and 40.8 million total devices running the iPhone OS on its network last month.
Over the past year, the iPhone has also grown faster outside of North America. AdMob found that iPhone OS devices grew by 269 percent in Western Europe, 474 percent in Asia, and 367 percent in Oceana (which includes Australia, New Zealand, and nearby Pacific islands).
But Android is doing well in markets such as China. In April, Android owners outnumbered iPhone owners in China, noted AdMob, with the top three Android devices being the HTC Hero, HTC Magic, and HTC Dream.
Android and the iPhone both continue to enjoy rapid growth around the world--a recent Gartner study pegged them as the only two mobile smartphone platforms to rise in unit sales in the first quarter of 2010 compared with the same quarter last year. Google said last week that it's now activating 100,000 Android devices each day, according to AdMob, while Apple has sold 85 million iPhones and iPod Touches over the past three years.
Through its mobile-advertising network, AdMob tracks the number of unique devices running the Android and iPhone operating systems. So its stats only cover the devices it actually sees and aren't necessarily representative of the entire universe of Android and iPhone devices.
AdMob itself is being acquired by Android owner Google, a deal that just received the thumbs up from the Federal Trade Commission despite initial concerns that the purchase would give Google a significant chunk of the mobile ad market.