The mobile Web browser market is a mess. Most platforms have a default Web browser installed, often a customise one, and unlike desktop PCs, it’s hard to change that browser.
So platform market share gives you a good proxy for mobile browser market share. But according to StatCounter, no mobile platform commands more than 25 per cent of the global market.
The platform data is not as clean as one might like for understanding the mobile-browser landscape. For example, you should combine iPhone and iPod Touch data to get an idea of Apple’s mobile Safari market share. And some Android smartphones have a custom Android Web browser, while newer ones have Google Chrome preinstalled. Nokia is likewise a mess: It used to support Opera, it then featured its own Nokia Web browser for the Symbian smartphone operating system, and its newest Windows phones have mobile Internet Explorer.
Nonetheless, it is clear that the market is fragmented across platforms. As we’ve discussed before, this is a big problem for the development of HTML5 because these browsers do not supports a consistent feature set. As long as mobile browsers remain fragmented and no standards for HTML5 are ratified, native apps will still be king.
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