10 neat mobile industry statistics we learned in 2011
Quantifying trends into numbers
So let's take the opportunity to look back over the past 12 months and cherry pick the 10 most significant stats of 2011.
10. 45+ year olds are 7.5 times more likely to buy IAP than 18-25s
The rise of in-app purchases this year has naturally lead to further analysis in terms of the gender and demographic split of users.
Slightly different from other analytics companies, MocoSpace is a mobile gaming portal, which has studied its own audience in various ways. Most recently, it found that while 10 percent of 18-25 year old gamers bought IAP, that proportion rose to 75 percent for the over 45 year old age group.
Similar research was carried out by Flurry, which found that among native iOS and Android games, the peak age group for buying IAP was 24-34 year olds, although 35-54 year olds were the best group in terms of the density of hours played to amount spent on IAP.
9. Microsoft is making 5 times more money from Android than Windows Phone
One of the many gems uncovered by ex-Nokia executive Horace Dediu via his Asymco website was the news that thanks to its patent licensing deals, Microsoft was making more money from OEMs making Android devices than it was making from OEMs making Windows Phone devices.
It's calculated than it gets around $5 per Android device versus around $15 per Windows Phone device.
Presumably, thanks to its hook up with Nokia, this situation will change in 2012, although with the majority of Android OEMs signed up with Microsoft, it might take longer than Microsoft would like.
8. China is now the second largest App Store
App store analytics company Distimo was one of the most active when it came releasing interesting statistics; in this case it was one of the first to highlight the rising importance of download volumes from the Chinese App Store.
It revealed that it's now the second largest in terms of app download volumes after the US, although the percent of those downloads that were paid is a mere 0.99 percent.
7. RIM could lose its entire US user base by the end of 2012
What a year for RIM; at least 2012 can't get any worse ... or can it?
According to figures from comScore and analysis from asymco, if it continues losing US subscribers at the current rate of between 500,000 to 1.2 million per a month, it "could lose its entire US user base" by the end of the year.
6. Rise of iOS and Android halves Nintendo DS game revenue
Many of the headlines raised by app analytics company Flurry concerned the growth of mobile gaming versus the 'relative decline' of portable gaming.
Its key finding was that "...as smartphone game revenue has climbed aggressively, Nintendo DS and Sony PSP revenue has dropped precipitously".
5. Non-Apple (and Amazon) tablets sell a mere 1.2 million units in the US
Obviously announced before Amazon released its multi-million selling Kindle Fire tablet in November, research from the NPD Group revealed that between January and October, a mere 1.2 million tablets that weren't iPads were sold in the US.
This total included Motorola's Xoom, the BlackBerry PlayBook, and HP's TouchPad, all of which can be considered failures; at least in terms of sales.
In contrast, Apple sold 32.4 million iPads during its FY2011, which runs October 2010 to September 2011.
4. Android holds 45% share of US smartphone market
Almost all research companies throw out regular stats related to the broad market share in terms of mobile operating systems in different countries.
While the likes of comScore, Gartner, Nielsen and IDC work off of handset sales, ad networks such as Millennial, InMobi and Jumptap calculate using the spread of mobile adverts.
Either way, there were clear trends across the year with Android in the ascendancy globally, iOS also gaining market share, while the likes of RIM and Symbian collapsed from their 2010 positions.
This particular headline came from comScore research in September, which saw Android double market share in the US over 12 months, at the expense of RIM, which halved its market share.
3. Samsung becomes the world's leading smartphone vendor
Despite its global feud with Apple during much of the year, 2011 was a great year for Samsung, which rode the Android rocket to become the world's largest smartphone maker.
Of particular note was the success of the Galaxy S II - the signature Android device of 2011, beating out even the Samsung-manufactured Galaxy Nexus.
Indeed, it even broke its own internal estimates, announcing it would ship over 300 million mobile devices, of all types, during the year.
According to Canalys, it shipped 27.3 million devices in Q3, while Strategy Analytics reckoned it had 24 percent of the smartphone market in the same period.
2. Android app downloads overtake iOS for the first time
What with Android being the largest mobile OS - Google now activating over 700,000 devices daily - it should be no surprise that its ecosystem is generated more downloads than iOS.
ABI put this trend in context, pointing out that Google's platform accounted for 44 percent of the worldwide app market in Q2 2011 compared to iOS's 33 percent.
Still, on a per user basis, iOS is winning, with roughly double the number of app downloads per user compared to Android.
1. IAP dominates App Store revenues; 4% of apps are generating 72% of iPhone App Store revenue
While the rise of freemium games monetised by in-app purchases was clearly one that grew in importance during 2011, it wasn't until Distimo worked out that 4 percent of iPhone apps (those using IAP) were generating 72 percent of revenue that the trend was crystalised into firm - incredible - numbers.