The ongoing Ben Hur-like chariot race for dominance in the mobile realm between iOS and Android continues to elicit oohs and ahs from the tech community. Apple tends to stay in front -- a comScore study with stats ending in August 2011 has mobile devices with iOS taking 58.5% of internet traffic, and Android taking 31.9%.
But Google is never far behind, and sometimes the only factor determining which operating system is the most popular among mobile users is how the relevant stats are collected.
For instance, while several different studies have shown that iOS still represents a large percentage of the mobile market, the latest numbers about ad impressions for Android and iOS during the holiday season has Android in the lead by a comfortable margin.
According to the analysis of mobile ad impressions by analytics firm Chikita, iOS represented 51.7% of the mobile market share in November 2011, with Android coming in with 46.1%. However, in December those positions basically reversed, with Android taking 51.6% of the market share and iOS taking 46.5%. Windows and RIM hovered around the 0.5% and 1.5% range, respectively.
These stats reflect the holiday season, when new mobile devices were flying off the shelves to be given away as gifts. And as you can see, Android made an impressive move to overtake the mobile market. Chitika believes Android's growth had to do with its being open to a variety of different mobile devices, whereas Apple's OS only functions on Apple products.
Still, something else to consider according to one report, is that the Android Market sells quite a few more free apps than the App Store does. And free apps are typically ad-supported, which could skew the results.
One thing is certain, whatever angle it's viewed from, the race is fun to watch.
[Image Credit: aoisora9x]