RealTime IT News

Surf's Up: Droid Boasts 25% of Android Web Traffic

The Droid smartphone is already posting rapid gains in mobile Web traffic as it becomes an integral part of a larger Android blitz, despite having only been on sale for a week, according to one Web analytics firm.

Verizon, in partnership with Google and Motorola, last Friday launched the high-end handset juiced up by Android 2.0 against the backdrop of an escalating ad campaign taking on rivals AT&T and Apple's iPhone.

While it's too soon to tell if the Droid will deliver on the hype surrounding the release -- Motorola is expected to sell about 1.2 million Droids in the fourth quarter, according to Pacific Crest Securities data -- it appears Droid owners are highly engaged in mobile Web surfing, according to Clicky, a Web analytics company.

The Droid accounted for nearly 1.5 percent of mobile Internet traffic in the U.S. -- about one quarter of all Android mobile usage -- on Nov. 11, five days after the Droid launch, according to Clicky. This should be good news for developers, as the mobile analytics firm Flurry recently highlighted a surge in Android apps.

To date, the Droid, Verizon's first Android device, is the only mobile phone running Android 2.0, dubbed Éclair, and also the first to include Google's free, turn-by-turn mobile navigation app.

The data comes as the Android OS starts to gain traction in the marketplace on the heels of several smartphone releases, including the HTC Eris, the myTouch, HTC Hero, Samsung Moment and Motorola Cliq. These handsets will be joined by the Samsung Behold II, slated to go on sale Nov. 18. Sony-Ericsson's X10 is also in the launch queue, though it's uncertain when and if it will be available in the U.S.

Hardware vendors are also taking the wraps off Android smartphones, with Dell poised to sell the Dell Mini3 in China and Brazil this year, and Acer in line to offer its Liquid. Reports have also been surfacing naming AT&T as the likely carrier for a Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) Android phone early next year. That would mean Android devices would be offered on all four major U.S. carriers in just over a year since the new OS was introduced.

Several e-readers running Android are also on tap, including the Nook from Barnes & Noble and Spring Design's Alex.

Meanwhile, all the major players in the mobile space have been busy updating their respective operating systems in an effort to dominate the lucrative smartphone sector.

Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) just rolled out several upgrades to its BlackBerry OS 5 platform and plans to offer a new mobile browser next year.

Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) is busy prepping its app store for an official launch before 2010, and last month updated its webOs to version 1.2.1, though rumors abound that the Pre's smaller sibling, the Pixi, will run version 1.3.1 when it goes on sale Nov. 15.

Nokia (NYSE: NOK) also gave its SDK for Symbian a refresh, and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) just started offering phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 even as it works on version 7.

Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone OS underwent several major upgrades in June following the launch of the iPhone 3GS, which reached 7 million in sales during the third-quarter, marking the most profitable quarter in the company's history.