Chrome makes gains in browser race; tablets jockey behind iPad

Google's Chrome browser makes market share gains at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Plus, a breakdown of mobile stats, including tablets.

If web browser usage trends continue, it will be only months before no major browser holds the majority of the market.

My CNET colleague Stephen Shankland helpfully points out this morning that Google's Chrome browser is making headway in the browser scrum, increasing from 12.5 percent in May 2011 to 13.1 percent in June, according to figures from NetMarketShare.

But market share is a zero-sum proposition, and that gain came at the expense of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which dropped from 54.3 percent to 53.7 percent -- almost the same amount.

Mozilla's Firefox browser continued to defend its place, preserving 21.7 percent share, while Apple's Safari browser and the Opera browser duked it out on the low end: Safari increased from 7.3 percent to 7.5 percent while Opera decreased even further, from 2 percent to 1.7 percent.

Look at the big picture, and the web browser market is slowly trending toward more equal distribution. But make no mistake: IE continues to have a huge hold on the market.

Mobile figures from NetMarketShare were even more revealing: mobile phones and tablets surpassed five percent of overall browser usage for the first time.

In the United States, that figure is an impressive 8.2 percent.

The browser breakdown in the States:

  • Apple iPhone: 2.9 percent
  • Google Android: 2.6 percent
  • Apple iPad: 2.1 percent
  • RIM BlackBerry OS: 0.6 percent

But perhaps most interesting to me were the tablet usage figures.

Here's the breakdown of tablet share as a percentage of all browsing:

  • Apple iPad: 0.92 percent
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab: 0.018 percent
  • Motorola Xoom: 0.012 percent
  • Blackberry PlayBook: 0.003 percent

In English: the iPad has 53 times the usage share of its nearest competitor.

While that's hard to dispute anecdotally -- there are an awful lot of iPads walking around with few alternatives to be found -- what's interesting about this point is that the spot for No. 2 is really wide open.

As HP introduces its webOS-powered TouchPad, it should be interesting to see the rest of the group jockey for that second position. Will Android win, or will iOS stand a chance the way it didn't in the smartphone race?


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