Android browser bumps Opera for No. 2 spot

In the mobile browsing market, Google's browser has pushed Opera Mini aside, but Apple's Safari remains the top dog.

Apple's lead in mobile browsing increased in October 2011, while Android's browser passed Opera Mini for second place.
Apple's lead in mobile browsing increased in October 2011, while Android's browser passed Opera Mini for second place. Net Applications

Google's mobile browser leapfrogged Opera Mini to take the second-place spot in worldwide usage of the Web with smartphones and tablets in October.

The change, revealed in Net Applications' monthly browser usage statistics, reflects the shift from older phone operating systems where Opera Mini is more popular to Android. But while Google's unbranded browser rose in the rankings, from 16.3 percent in September to 18.7 percent in October, top-ranked Apple rose even more.

Safari usage rose from 55.6 percent to 62.2 percent, extending its dominance in mobile computing.

Opera Mini plunged from 18.9 percent to 13.1 percent, Net Applications said. As the mobile market evolves, Opera is trying to tie its future more to Android--in particular with an upcoming version of the full Opera Mobile browser that can run in the lightweight Opera Mini mode when there's not enough network capacity available.

Other losers in the October mobile statistics were Symbian, which dropped from 4.7 percent to 2.6 percent, and BlackBerry, which dropped from 2.7 percent to 2.4 percent. Net Applications ascribed some of Research in Motion's troubles to a four-day BlackBerry service outage .

The advances of Chrome and Safari continue to nibble away at Internet Explorer's browser usage share, while Firefox remains level.
The advances of Chrome and Safari continue to nibble away at Internet Explorer's browser usage share, while Firefox remains level. Net Applications

On personal computers, the browser market is less volatile. Here, earlier trends continued at a more stately pace.

Specifically, Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari continued to extract usage share from Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Chrome increased in worldwide usage from 16.2 percent in September to 17.6 percent in October, while Safari rose from 5.0 percent to 5.4 percent. IE dropped from 54.4 percent to 52.6 percent. Firefox, in second place, stayed mostly level yet again at 22.5 percent.

Microsoft, meanwhile, prefers to examine a more selective but arguably more future-looking category: those using Windows 7. Among that subset of browser usage, IE9 has surpassed Chrome and tied Firefox, according to a Microsoft blog post.

Net Applications gathers its statistics based on visitors to a global collection of Web sites using its analytics software.

Desktop browsing dominates over mobile browsing, but over recent months, mobile browsing has been on the rise as a proportion of overall usage. However, in October, desktop browsing won some share back, growing from 93.7 percent to 94.2 percent, while mobile browsing dropped from 6.0 percent to 5.5 percent.

Updated 2:53 a.m. PT with charts that reflect October data.

Mobile browsing has generally been increasing in usage, but the fraction of people using a personal computer on the Web increased at mobile browsing's expense in October
Mobile browsing has generally been increasing in usage, but the fraction of people using a personal computer on the Web increased at mobile browsing's expense in October Net Applications
 

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