Apple Takes Biggest Bite of U.S. Wi-Fi Usage

Apple's iPhone and iPod lead the pack mobile handset Wi-Fi in the U.S. use while Nokia's handsets are dominant worldwide and the Symbian platform is tops in global Wi-Fi activity, according to a just-published report.

Apple's devices accounted for 29.1 percent of U.S. Wi-Fi Internet access requests in the U.S. for January, with the iPhone claiming 16.8 percent share and the iPod taking 12.3 percent, according to AdMob's January Mobile Metrics Report.

That's a three-fold spike since November 2008, when iPhone users representedjust eight percent of total U.S. requests on Wi-Fi networks and up from three percent in August, according to AdMob reports.

Worldwide requests on Apple devices grew 28 percent between December 2008 and January 2009 to 1.2 billion, with iPod growth outpacing iPhone growth. The iPod now represents 40 percent of Apple device requests, up from 20 percent in September 2008.

The news comes as increased competition among handset players is driving greater connectivity options. Users are eager for faster, dependable Internet access anytime and anywhere. In turn, more reliable Internet access via Wi-Fi and 3G networks is driving user Web activity.

Growing user demand isn't going unnoticed by handset makers. It prompted Research in Motion to launch its second Wi-Fi device, the Curve 8320, last December.

Other new handset developments, such as Google's G1 Android phone, are also playing a part in pushing Wi-Fi forward. The G1, made by HTC, broke into AdMob's top 20 in U.S. Wi-Fi access with the January report.

The G1 is 18th on the list with 0.9 percent share in December. The open source Android platform also now has three percent of Wi-Fi access share in the U.S.

In response, such Wi-Fi growth is driving chipset sales. Recent statistics by the industry group Wi-Fi Alliance reported sales grew 26 percent in 2008. While that's only half of sales tallied in 2007, before the slowdown in the economy, it shows that Wi-Fi networking remains robust.

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Google, networking, iPhone, ipod touch, Nokia