Google’s Mobile World & Vision for 2012

As smartphone ownership continues to grow, going mobile and mobile optimization are becoming a business necessity. To coincide with the annual Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Google has revealed smartphone usage stats and some 2012 predictions.

Google: 300 Million Android Devices Activated

Google had some big announcements regarding Android today. More than 300 million devices now run on the Android platform, with 850,000 new device activations daily – good for 250 percent year-on-year growth.

Google Senior Vice President, mobile and digital content, also announced in a blog post that the number of applications available in the Android Market have tripled from 150,000 last year to 450,000 this year, and more than 1 billion app downloads happen every month. Google surpassed 10 billion app downloads in December.

Twelve million of those activated devices are tablets, a number Rubin described as “not insignificant, but less than I’d expect it to be if you really want to win.” While Android is the leading smartphone operating system, it trails far behind Apple, which sold more than 11 million tablets last quarter alone.

Rubin also addressed concerns that Google may favor Motorola, telling reporters Android will be “neutral” and won’t give Motorola early releases of software.

Rumor has it that Google Jelly Bean (Android 5.0) will be announced as the replacement for Ice Cream, perhaps as early this spring.

Google’s Mobile Planet Study

A new Google study on smartphone usage shares new data from a survey of 1,000 participants in six countries – the U.S., the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Japan – on mobile search and consumer behavior. This article will only focus on the U.S. stats. Among the highlights:


  • 38 percent of residents own a smartphone.
  • 82 percent of smartphone users use a search engine at least one time per week.
  • 88 percent of smartphone users notice ads on a smartphone – 41 percent on search engines; 46 percent in an app; 25 percent on a retailer website; 20 percent on a video website; 27 percent while watching a video; and 47 percent while on a website.
  • 75 percent of smartphone users watch video; 26 percent watch at least one time per day.
  • 79 percent of smartphone users visit social network; 54 percent visit at least one time per day.

When it comes to ads on smartphones, Android devices are dominant. According to a separate study from Bytemobile:

Android devices generate more advertising transactions and corresponding data volume on mobile networks than iOS devices. In addition, Google is far and away the most dominant source of mobile data traffic produced by advertisements, with an average of 75% of the total ad-generated data.

Of course, Google owns somewhere in the neighborhood of 97-98 percent of mobile search traffic. Apple recently cut the minimum price it charges advertisers to run iAd mobile campaigns in the hopes of better competing with Google.

But back to Google’s study. Google noted that 89 percent of smartphone owners take some kind of action after looking up local content:

  • 51 percent called a business or service
  • 25 percent made an in-store purchase from a business
  • 21 percent made an online purchase from a business
  • 48 percent visited a business
  • 47 percent visited the website of a business or service
  • 49 percent looked up a business or service on a map

Mobile shoppers are buying: 20 percent buy daily; 14 percent buy weekly; and 29 percent buy monthly. But they’re also using their smartphone to compare prices and research products.

Google’s 2012 Predictions

Jason Spero, Google’s head of global mobile sales and strategy, shared 12 predictions on “major developments we will see in mobile in 2012”:

  1. More than 1 billion people will use mobile devices as their primary internet access point.
  2. There will be 10 days where >50% of trending search terms will be on mobile
  3. Mobile’s role in driving people into stores will be proven and it will blow us away
  4. “Mobile driven spend” will emerge as a big category
  5. Smartphones will prove exceptional at driving a new consumer behavior
  6. Tablets will take their place as the 4th screen
  7. New industry standards will make mobile display easy to run
  8. 5 new, mobile first companies will reach the Angry Birds level of success
  9. The ROI on mobile and tablet advertising will increase as a result of the unmatched relevance of proximity
  10. The intersection of mobile and social will spark a dramatic new form of engaging consumers
  11. 80% of the largest 2,000 websites globally will have an HTML5 site
  12. 12. One million small businesses globally will build a mobile website

Do you think we’ll see any of these predictions become reality in 2012, or do you have some predicions of your own? Let us know in the comments.

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