Tag Archives: data

“Smartphones”: market share & usage data

After every quartery release industry analysts, experts and all comment on the latest market share data, based on sales in that timeframe — something a bit misleading if you think about the expression “market share”: in fact, these numbers does not tell much about the actual distribution (i.e. platform share in a given period: look e.g. at the market share of Symbian, RIM and iOS published alongside this FT piece on Nokia CEO troubles, in which you have Symbian declining from over 60% in 2006/2007 to slightly above 40% in 2010, RIM moving from less than 10% in 2006 to 20% in 2010 and Apple iOS raising to something like 15% after the 2009 slightly higher peak; sorry for not being precise but the chart is very small… precious exact figures are missing ofc).

Update: via @tomiahonen I just found a Reuters infographics, Strategy Analytics data, that shows the general dynamic very well.

This is not to say that this information is not important: of course it is, 100%, for a number of obvious reaasons. But there is big but here in my opinion: if we want to look at the “user” side of the coin (end-user or business), then discussing smartphones market share makes sense as long as they are accompanied by some data on the actual usage of the specific capabilities that make them different (supposedly “smart”) when compared to “dumb” phones: i.e. online applications usage, be they related to Web app/mobile sites or native apps. Even in this case, we would still be at a very high level, unless we discuss about some sort of activity or product/service category: e.g. search, games, social networks etc.

To make the point clearer, look e.g. at the chart below, taken from a MocoNews.net post on a recent Pew survey:

In other words: we might well have a relatively small number of iPhones around, but if iPhone users (or Android users, or whatever) are those mostly actively browsing the mobile Web, using and spending on mobile apps, searching and possibly clicking on those paid search ads etc. then this is what matters most from a business and marketing perspective.

Now, data on mobile products/services usage vis-à-vis actual smartphone penetration divided by platform do not seem easily available, at least in the public domain — or am I wrong?

Update (27-7-2010): cf. e.g. these conclusions from a Yankee Group report (Why iPhone matter; premium access only, the following quotation is from the public executive summary): Two-thirds of iPhone owners use the mobile Web daily … Plus, iPhone owners download more apps, are more interested in mobile transactions and conduct more mobile e-commerce than users of other [smartphone platforms I guess — it’s truncated right there!]

PS: I put the quotation marks on smartphones in the post title for the same reason: Wikipedia tells that a smartphone “allows the user to install and run more advanced applications based on a specific platform” and then that they “run complete operating system software providing a platform for application developers”. Still you can use a smartphone pretty much in the same way of a dumb phone, as perhaps one went for it for other reasons than the possibility to use apps, the mobile Web and the likes. In short, couldn’t be this one the case for so many Nokia smartphones around? (especially in Europe) Smartphones are not created equal…

New visualisations from Last.fm playground

At Last.fm, we enjoy being mad scientists, playing with data and infographics — stay tuned for more in the visualization department!

via Last.fm – the Blog · Mad Science + Awesome! = New playground apps.

The “Tube Tags” map snipped above is a visualisation of alter‘s listening habits, using music tags and related artists as this fictional Tube main lines and stops, and changes as lines directions (so e.g. as I was listening more of Mozart the corresponding classical music brown line goes up or “North”, and the same for the yellow “Folk” line as more of Stefano Miele was scrobbled).

The link above from Last.fm official blog has more on the topic — in short, the team has beefed up the service “playground” area with some new visualisations, available only to subscribers but visible to everyone.

I like the idea very much, even though no practical implication is evident at the moment — or maybe exactly for this reason. This is also really on the same lines that were discussed in Vertigo, a conceptual design and exploratory research work on which I have been active over the last few months (in Vertigo the scope was larger than music and included movies, pictures, linear media in general).

I am fascinated by the idea that visualisations can be informative and entertaining at the same time.  It’s a blend of functional and aesthetic (or edonistic) values that to me is badly needed in the digital space, where they are often separated (so that you might have applications or services that are either overtly functional or overtly easthetic-driven, or let’s say dominated by formal technological and media experimentation — not a bad thing as such of course! in both instances).

See here below another example, a collage of top artists pictures (again, alter‘s view).

9th of November 2013 update: the pics originally inserted into this post got lost in this blog Oct. 2013 crash, so I replaced them with the one below, taken from the Visualizing Music blog – thanks them! not that I asked before…)

Last.fm Tube Tags visualization
At Last.fm, we enjoy being mad scientists, playing with data and infographics — stay tuned for more in the visualization department!

via Last.fm – the Blog · Mad Science + Awesome! = New playground apps.