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Apple's iPhone may be known as The Jesus Phone, but Google's diversified approach to selling smartphones appears to be paying off. According to AdMob's March Mobile Metrics Report, Google's Android operating system is quickly picking up market share in the smartphone market.

AdMob's results should be taken with a grain of salt, considering that the mobile ad network was recently acquired by Google for $750 million. However, AdMob has an impressive store of mobile ad data, with a 40% share of the mobile ad market.

And there is plenty to be found in the company's new numbers. AdMob packaged together data from 18,000 mobile ad publishers and found that Google's Android operating system is returning an impressive growth rate of 32% year over year.

The iPhone still commands a large percentage of mobile internet usage. 22% of web usage on cellphones comes from iPhone devices. However, Android devices now account for 4% of web usage. The iPhone still dominates the Admob network worldwide. Apple's device accounts for 46% of Admob's ad requests. But Android comes in second place with a 25% share. Considering that the Droid hit the market 2.5 years after the iPhone, those numbers are pretty respectable.

Another interesting finding relates to the number of devices powered by the Android operating system and their usage. While Apple exhibits tight control over its smartphone product and manufactures all iPhone and iPods, Android powers 34 different handsets from 12 manufacturers.

However, 96% of all Android traffic in March came from just 11 of those devices. Six months ago, two devices accounted for most of Android's traffic.

Also, the Droid was the most popular device. It accounted for 32% of Admob'd Android-based traffic in March. Meanwhile, Google's bid to unseat the iPhone, the Nexus One, accounted for only 2% of Android Admob advertising requests in March.

Apple's iPhone has less of a fragmentation issue, but giving consumers multiple routes to access smartphone technology appears to be paying off for Google. It's effort to sell phones directly to consumers, however, is not working.

Google originally sold an unlocked Nexus One directly through its website, but has since loosened its grip on the phone. Soon it will be available in the United Kingdom and Europe through Vodafone. In light of delays of a contract with Verizon to sell the Nexus One, Google is directing consumers to purchase other, similar Android devices

Image: AreaCellphone

Meghan Keane

Published 27 April, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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