Google's Android is working on taking over the world if we are to believe the latest numbers from comScore from their December 2010 U.S. Mobile Subscriber Market Share. Not only that but the uptake of smartphones is rocketing with a year-to-year change of 60%. What does this all mean for you and your mobile and online video? Read on Reel believer (for those wondering, I stole that from Stan Lee and his True Believer line seen when he would address the reader in Marvel Comics).While the December report found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 24.8 percent market share, their own OS isn't anywhere near the top. Instead, they along with Sony, Motorola and yes, even Nokia, have joined the Google Android movement. I removed the non-smartphone portion of the report but you can find the whole report at comScore.

Smartphone Platform Market Share

63.2 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in December 2010, up 60 percent versus year ago. While RIM and its Blackberry OS are still in the lead, it doesn't look like that will last and by the time you read this, they might have already fallen to second place. Google Android seems to be rocket-powered and heading for the top, leaving iOS in the dust as well. Apple did maintain 25% of market share for smartphone OS so it can't be ignored, that's some 15.8 million online users versus the 18.14 million Android users.

Top Smartphone Platforms

3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Sep. 2010
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
                               Sep-10    Dec-10    Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers    100.0%    100.0%        N/A
RIM                              37.3%     31.6%       -5.7
Google                           21.4%     28.7%        7.3
Apple                            24.3%     25.0%        0.7
Microsoft                         9.9%      8.4%       -1.5
Palm                              4.2%      3.7%       -0.5

What's it Mean for Mobile Video

Well, it means that currently is that the percentage of mobile smartphones that can't handle Flash is diminishing and Android, which does have full Flash support, is leading a whole new generation of smartphones that can use legacy media players. While many might think that HTML5 is the future, and it very well may be, the fact of the matter is that right now, Flash reaches a wide range of smart phones.

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But it doesn't reach them all. So if you're pushing video to mobile devices and aiming at the smartphone user base, you still need to plan for the others. You can't just keep using Flash and HTML5 might be a good way to go for the future when things settle down. I think right now your best bet is to have a plan that hits all of the platforms. Still using a fallback scheme is going to be the way to go until the HTML5 specification and codec issues get finalized (let's say two years from now).

The thing that we don't really get from the comScore research is how much people are using their smartphones for video. The top five categories of usage they listed are text, browser, downloaded apps, social networking or blog, games and music. Mind you, browsers and downloaded apps could both be video usage and total usage of those categories was about 61%.

  • Steven Graff

    Good post Chris, clearly Android is shaking things up, but Flash® enabled Android devices are a relatively recent addition to the Android family. Since we have yet to see handset manufacturers offer the types of OS upgrades that would make it possible for older Android handsets to view Flash, what percentage of the 28.7% would you estimate are actually able to view Flash. The "What's it Mean for Mobile Video" section implies it is much higher than the 4% of devices added since September 2010?

    • Ronnie Bincer

      Just because Flash capabilities were added in Sept. 2010, does not mean that the handsets out in the market prior to that date are not running Flash now. The majority of existing handsets have been updated via OTA (over the air) software updates to now run Flash. (at least I think it is the majority)

  • Ronnie Bincer

    Go Android Go! Kinda strange coming from a Mac user, but iUse Droid for my smartphone. iEven made a YouTube channel to help users: usemydroid (& it is pretty popular)!

    • Christophor Rick

      Just wait, there are new dual-screen Android coming that are so awesome I can't contain the Sony Xperia Play which is all about the games and... and... and...
      Kyocera just announced a dual screen Android and I know someone else is set to show some off next week in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (where I should be going but couldn't afford the trip).