Smarter Agent Top 20 Mobile Devices – November 2011

What mobile devices are hot and what devices are not is always an interesting question and something we here at Smarter Agent watch very closely. I thought it would be interesting to take a snapshot during the holiday season (HAPPY NEW YEAR!) with plans to revisit next month to see what “HOT” new devices are used for looking for real estate.

To be perfectly honest, the Smarter Agent platform manages this data daily on behalf of our clients. This is the “fun” part of the fragmented mobile ecosystem we have been operating for over a decade. We understand the devices that run our applications are key to insuring we provide the best user experience to each and every one of our clients and their customers. Current mobile devise usage stats are also vital to planning features and support based on the most sought-after devices and the OS versions they are running.

In November 2011, we tracked more than 200 different mobile devices accessing our Real Estate applications. An interesting factoid here is that those 200+ devices logged over 900 different hardware/software combinations. That means that our mobile platform has to insure that our clients applications are stable with all the combination and different feature sets that each device offers.  This is exactly what our mobile real estate platform does and why we love mobile, but to be honest if you are looking into a mobile solution, you MUST consider this fragmentation and how it can affect the functionality of your mobile real estate application.  Your clients expect, and deserve, nothing less.

Top 20 Fastest Growing Devices  Based on New Users November 2011 Top 20 Devices Based  on Active Users    November 2011
1.       Apple iOS4Device2.       Apple iPhone 4 (GSM)3.       HTC EVO 4G

4.       Apple iPhone 4s

5.       Apple iPhone 4 (CDMA)

6.       Apple iPhone 3GS

7.       Apple iPod Touch 4G

8.       Motorola Droid X / Shadow

9.       HTC Desire HD

10.   Samsung Fascinate

11.   HTC Incredible

12.   Samsung Epic 4G

13.   HTC Thunderbolt

14.   HTC Glacier

15.   BlackBerry Torch 9800

16.   Motorola Droid 2

17.   HTC Droid Incredible 2

18.   HTC Shooter/EVO 3D

19.   Apple iPad 2

20.   LG Optimus S

1.       Apple iOS4Device2.       Apple iPhone 4 (GSM)3.       Apple iPhone 4 (CDMA)

4.       HTC EVO 4G

5.       Apple iPhone 3GS

6.       Apple iPhone 4s

7.       BlackBerry Torch  9800

8.       Motorola Droid X /   Shado

9.      Samsung Fascinate

10.   Samsung Epic 4G

11.   BlackBerry 8530

12.   HTC Desire HD

13.   HTC Incredible

14.   Motorola Droid 2

15.   HTC Thunderbolt

16.   Apple iPod Touch 4G

17.   BlackBerry 9700

18.   BlackBerry 9650

19.   HTC Glacier

20.   Apple iPhone 3G

As you review the Smarter Agent Top 20 Mobile Device List, keep in mind that is only reveals a tip of the iceberg of the growing mobile fragmentation issue that need to be addressed in any mobile solution, including mobile web. Fragmentation is the dark little secret that is often in the small print when you review a mobile web solution.

Michael Degusta did a great job of doing a Case Study of Google’s Android Fragmentation.

To put it in layman’s terms, DeGusta said “fragmentation must be managed or your shiny new application will start losing market share the day after it is launched”, meaning your mobile app will not work properly on the 100’s of combinations that have been introduced recently to mobile technology nor on the new devices that come out weekly. 

This fragmentation creates a vicious cycle considering there are multiple types of cell phones from different manufacturers that produce devices with small screens, large screens, sideways screens, etc. and more importantly all running different android operating system versions.  Most “new” Android devices launch with an older version of the operating system, and the manufacturer has no path planned to upgrade.

Using Google Android’s Fragmentation as an example:

  •  7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
  • 12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
  • 10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
  • 11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
  • 13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
  • 15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
  • In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
  • At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.

 

This dark little secret is the number one issue your chosen developer and/or mobile platform MUST understand in order to effectively maintain your mobile application. Remember, the manufacturers only make money when you buy a new device.

As Degusta theorizes, “…if Manufactures keep all devices updated with the latest OS which would reduce fragmentation they will not be able to sell new devices.” Convoluted and unethical on the part of the phone manufacturers, perhaps, but reasonably plausible as a sales tactic.

As crazy and short-sighted a business practice the above theory seems, it also explains to a large degree why Apple has loyalty and maintains a very high % of all devices on the latest iOS version which allows developers to focus more on device fragmentation as opposed to both device and OS fragmentation.

Business practice or no, fragmentation is a very real and very complicated issue for mobile application developers to face. By providing the mobile application as a cascading platform, the potential issue can be managed before it ever affects the client.

~ Eric Blumberg, President and CTO

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