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Android overtakes Apple's iOS during holiday season

Android grabbed the top share of the mobile market in December based on the number of ad impressions tracked by ad network Chitika.

Android shot past Apple's iOS in market share last month, at least according to the number of ad impressions seen by ad network Chitika.

Chitika found that iOS took the lead in November with 51.7 percent of traffic seen on its ad network, followed by Google with 46.1 percent. But as the holiday season came into full bloom in December, Android grabbed the lead with a 51.6 percent share, leaving iOS in second place with 46.5 percent.

Chitika noted that Android hit holiday buyers with a variety of mobile devices. Google's Android chief Andy Rubin recently touted that 3.7 million Android devices were activated the weekend of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Rubin aso revealed that 700,000 Android devices are being activated daily.


Apple has of course remained a dominant force in the smartphone arena. But it's been getting stung by a nest of Android rivals, including HTC, Motorola, and especially Samsung. Combine the vast number of devices with the surge in demand, and Android continues to scoop up market share.

The open nature of Android itself is also driving growth as device makers have the freedom to offer the mobile OS on a variety of devices and customize the user experience.

"The highly flexible nature of Android in regard to both hardware and software create the conditions necessary for what market leaders in all industries fear most: change," noted Chitika.

Google also continues to build up its Android Market with around 400,000 apps now available. Though Apple has well over 500,000, Google has lately been able to increase the pace at which new apps become available.

Of course, the open nature of Android Market has taken its share of lumps, with many security experts pointing to Google's mobile ecosystem as a favorite target for malware writers. But such openness is also key to attracting developers and consumers alike, says Chitika.

Overall, though, Apple still leads in the number of active iOS devices with 250 million (including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch), compared with Android with 230 million.