Google Consumer Surveys help to analyze voter preferences, while Google products serve up voter-information queries

Google just gave itself a pat on the back by detailing how Google Consumer Surveys efficiently polls anonymous web users and helps to analyze voter preferences.

“So how’d you all do in your first election with us?” wrote Googler Brett Slatkin on the official Google Politics blog, “Pretty spectacularly.”

FiveThiryEight’s Nate Silver, a media-dubbed “high priest” of polling, called Google Consumer Surveys the “No. 1 most accurate poll online and the No. 2 most accurate poll overall,” according to Slatkin, while the Pew Research Center said Google’s surveys will “likely be an important addition to the research tool kit available to pollsters.”

The surveys run across the web and subsequently earn websites money for showing them, and web surfers can then anonymously submit their responses, and the cropped data gives publishers, such as Texas Tribune, Denver Post, etc., as well as political campaigns, academics, start-ups, and marketers, detailed research to better improve their products.

In related news, Google does more than collect data; the Internet giant also supplies it. Eric Hysen, of the Google Politics and Elections team, said the search engine saw “unprecedented digital engagement in this election on Google and across the web” during the 2012 U.S. Elections.

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Nearly three in 10 Kindle Fire owners say they’ll up their spending at Amazon

ChangeWave Research published an interesting survey today proving that people are really loving their Kindle Fire tablet, with more than half of the respondents (54 percent) being “Very Satisfied” with Amazon’s Android-driven tablet versus 74 percent for Apple’s iPad and 49 percent for other tablets. Whilst Amazon is believed to be selling the $199 tablet at a loss, content spending among the Fire owner benefits the online retailer over time.

Specifically, post-purchase spending at Amazon.com is up, with nearly one-third of respondents (29 percent) claiming they will spend more at Amazon in the next 90 days versus just 19 percent for non-Kindle owners. ChangeWave Research, a service of 451 Research, included a look at the reaction of Kindle Fire owners to their gizmo. Price was the determining factor for a whopping 59 percent of owners, followed by its color screen at 31 percent, ease of use at 27 percent and selection of e-reading material at 20 percent…

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Millennial: Android march unstoppable, News apps on the rise

If Google and Apple were to merge, their respective Android and iOS mobile software would seize well over three-quarters of the world’s platform share in smartphones, per latest Millennial Media’s “Mobile Mix” mobile device usage share report. Separately, Android and iOS held 54 percent and 28 percent share in August. Millennial now includes data from smartphones, tablets, e-readers and gaming devices so direct comparison to their smartphone-focused July study is meaningless.

Apple continued to be the leading device manufacturer on our network in August, representing 23% of the Top 15 Manufacturers impression share (Chart A). Apple iPhone maintained the number one position on the Top 20 Mobile Phones ranking with 13% of the impression share.

Nearly one-third of devices on all carriers used wireless hot spots. Verizon Wireless and Sprint had 18 and 14 percent carrier mix, respectively, followed by T-Mobile USA and AT&T with eight percent each. Games, music and entertainment remain the most popular app categories. iOS represented 41 percent of the app platform mix and Android 49 percent. On Android, News apps rose by 26 percent month-over-month. Go past the fold for a bunch of pretty charts and more explanation.

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Survey: Android folks more comfortable switching handsets, one in three eyeing the iPhone

Apple’s embattled iPhone has had tough time competing against the legions of Android handsets that have flooded the market. That shouldn’t come as a surprise: Carriers are promoting inexpensive Android devices left and right and they are literally everywhere. But how satisfied Android and iPhone users are with their handsets? According to a study of 515 smartphone owners conducted by USB Research (via GigaOM), iPhone is “sticky” like no other phone, with an average retention rate of 89 percent.

It is falling rapidly for other vendors, though, and the next nearest hardware is HTC with a retention rate of 39 percent and 28 percent for Samsung. Android phones in general are at 55 percent. Nokia and Research in Motion are sinking really fast. The former saw its retention rate drop from 42 percent in March 2010 to just 24 percent and the latter dropped from 62 percent to 33 percent.

The survey may not be terribly accurate due to a small sample size, but it helps understand market trends. People are obviously happy with their iPhones and a large portion of users will happily stay within the Apple ecosystem. USB concludes:

Demand for iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro remains robust, with a leading ecosystem that creates sticky demand.

Truth be told, Android’s low stickiness could be due to its users being more comfortable changing handset manufacturers. Another interesting nugget that bodes well for Apple: Nearly one-third (31 percent) of polled Android users have plans to switch to an iOS device in the future. Also important, more than half the smartphone switchers are in the market for an iPhone while only one in ten iPhone users plan on defecting to other platforms.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com.

Nielsen: Android men are for Maps, women are for Facebook

In jargon talk, marketeers frequently argue that Android is from Mars and iPhone is from Venus when explaining the different demographics and appeal of the two platforms. Be that as it may, it would be interesting to figure out what apps are people particularly liking on their Android devices. That’s what research firm Nielsen set out to discover in their latest survey that analyzes app trends among U.S. consumers. Based on data obtained from on-device meters on thousands of Android smartphones, Nielsen found out that Google’s own programs dominate the list of most-used Android apps nation-wide.

In addition to Facebook (#2) and Android Market (as expected, it ranked first), the top 10 list based on overall active reach includes Google Map, Gmail, Google Search, YouTube, Adv. Task Killer Free, Angry Birds, QuickOffice Pro and Pandora Radio. Amazon’s storefront app to their own Appstore for Android ranked twelfth.

Gender break down reveals that the Facebook app is more popular with the ladies, reaching 81 percent versus 69 percent for male users. Google+, on the other hand, is more popular with male Android users (15.8 percent active reach) than women (7.2 percent). Google Maps has the highest reach among male Android users, 77.1 percent, second only to Android Market. Twitter, Words With Friends and Kindle apps are more popular with female Android users in the United States.

And while we’re at it, what do you reckon the most profitable apps on Android are? Games? Entertainment? Adult apps? No. It’s weather programs, per research2guidance’s free “Android Market Insights” research note.

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Chrome just keeps chugging: One in four desktop installations, now within spitting distance of Firefox

Chrome and Android, the two crucial weapons in Google’s assault on mobile and desktop, are showing no signs of stopping. We already reported today that Android passed iOS globally. When it comes to browsing the web, Google’s Chrome zoomed past the 25 percent mark for the first time this weekend, ConceivablyTech observed. More precisely, Chrome grabbed 25.02 percent share this past Sunday, per StatCounter Global Stats data.

The software has been growing rapidly, registering global market share of 18.29 percent in April, 19.36 percent in May 2011, 20.65 percent in June and 22.14 percent in July. Apple’s Safari grew marginally, adding just 0.02 percentage points to its 5.17 percent share in July. The latest StatCounter data, which may not be representative of the entire market, really spells trouble for Mozilla’s Firefox. Mozilla’s browser used to be the preferred alternative to Microsoft’s market-dominating Internet Explorer not that long time ago. How times change…

Firefox’s share is declining five times faster than Internet Explorer’s, indicating that Chrome is slowly but steadily chipping away at Firefox’s market position, which is now within spitting distance. Firefox scored a 27.49 share for the month of August versus 41.89 percent for Internet Explorer. The fact that only 14.5 percent of web users, or 54 percent of Firefox users, have upgraded to Firefox 6 is another indicative of shifting tides as Google gains significant ground in the web browsing space.

Google also benefits from the silent updating mechanism, a computer process that sits in the background to automatically keep your Chrome installation up to date, without any intervention on your part. Did the latest StatsCounter numbers surprise you? The writing has been on the wall for some time.

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Android passes iOS globally in web usage share

Per latest StatCounter Global Stats data, Google’s software platform in August 2011 passed iOS worldwide to rank as the world’s #2 mobile operating system. showing no signs of stopping, Android gained ground at the expense of pretty much every other platform, including Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS, Symbian OS and Apple’s iOS. Of course, stats can be deceiving and phone makers have been boosting Android’s numbers with dirt cheap handsets and BOGO promotions. Let’s not forget that StatCounter base their data on web usage stats obtained from a network of participating sites so the survey does not necessarily paint a representative picture of the whole market.

That being said, Android was trumped only by Symbian OS, which lost 1.46 percent of market share since June 2011. Symbian OS in August grabbed 32.12 percent market share versus 20.6 percent for Android and 19.41 percent for iOS for the month of August. While Apple’s mobile operating system had pretty much held ground during the June-July period, it dropped 0.62 percentage points between July and August.

In the same period of time, BlackBerry OS declined by 0.64 percentage points. Samsung’s own Bada software for feature phones took 6.04 percent market share in August. Interestingly, Microsoft’s Windows Phone doesn’t even blip on the global radar and is probably tucked away under the ‘Unknown’ category which claimed a 5.72 percent share.

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Android the platform of choice for the earliest of early adopters, says Nielsen

Like politics, smartphone wars come down to two major parties – Google and Apple – embroiled in a never-ending fight for consumers, especially those who have not made up their mind as to which operating system they’d like in their next smartphone. According to July 2011 data from Nielsen survey, “these ‘undecideds’ will be the ones device makers will be hoping to win over”. Interestingly, the Late Adopters among likely smartphone upgraders are the ones most likely to be undecided about their next phone platform.

The research firm discovered that forty percent Americans aged 18+ now have smartphones. Android leads the pack with a forty percent OS platform share  and iOS came in second with 28 percent. Compared to Nielsen’s June 2011 study, Android grew its share by one percentage point while iOS growth fell flat. The BlackBerry platform lost one percentage share and now stands at nineteen percent.

Of those buying a new smartphone next year, one third would opt for an iPhone and another third would go Android. This leaves other manufacturers outside the Android-iOS duopoly to fight for the remaining 33 percent of buyers.

Android, however, is the preferred platform of choice for the earliest of early adopters:

Among those who say they are usually the first to embrace new technologies, “Innovators” or the earliest of early adopters, Android leads as the “Next Desired Operating System” – 40 percent for Android compared to 32 percent for iOS. (Survey respondents were asked several questions to determine their attitudes toward new technologies.)

Moreover, the smartphone is clearly on the rise…

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Survey: More than one in three non-iPad tablets in 2011

A Digitimes Research survey of tablet shipment expectations for 2011 indicates that Apple will retain its lead by a large margin, but also signals the Cupertino, California firm’s share of the tablet market dropping as Android vendors have begun flooding the marketplace with non-Apple tablets in various forms, shapes, sizes and price points. The report says shipments are expected to surpass 65 million this year, up more than 200 percent from 2010. “While Apple remains the dominant player with its iPad line, other major vendors have looking to gain traction in this booming market”, the report notes.

Some 40 million tablets should be sold between June and December, with Apple growing 76 percent compared to H2 2010 and clearing 25.5 million units in H2 2011. This compares to 15.65 million non-Apple tablets predicted in the second half of 2011, a 65 percent increase versus the first half of 2011. This puts Apple’s H2 2011 share of the tablet market at 61 percent versus 39 percent for all other vendors combined. This isn’t bad at all, but it’s worth noting that Apple’s choke hold grip on the tablet market is easing as consumers face tablet choices other than iPad. Research firm Strategy Analytics pegged Apple’s share of the tablet market in the June quarter at 61.3 percent, while Android tablets have gone from 2.9 percent market share in June 2010 to 30.1 percent in June 2011. Also…

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Nielsen: Android top phone OS in the US, HTC #1 Android vendor

Research firm Nielsen chimed in today with a survey that puts Apple as the leading handset maker in the United States whilst Android is portrayed as the top mobile operating system in the country. Those findings follow a recent analysis which had Apple overtaking Nokia to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor in July, also corroborated  by IDC figures. According to Nielsen’s June data, Google’s Android remains the nation’s top phone platform with a 39 percent of the country’s consumer smartphone market. Apple’s iOS follows with 28 percent and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion continues to bleed share, down to 20 percent in the second quarter of 2011. Windows Mobile and Windows Phone combined grabbed nine percent, webOS and Palm OS were barely a blip with two percent, as was Nokia’s dying Symbian OS.

Apple on the other hand is the top smartphone maker in the United States that controls 28 percent of the market (excluding iPods and iPads). That’s partly “because Apple is the only company manufacturing smartphones with the iOS operating system”, Nielsen argues. HTC shares second spot with Research In Motion with a fourteen percent share of Android devices and six percent of Windows Phones for a total of 20 percent share of the whole market, same as the BlackBerry maker. HTC is also the nation’s leading Android and Windows Phone vendor with 14 percent and six percent share, respectively. No wonder Apple is suing HTC and seeking to ban import of their phones into the US…

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IMS Research: Samsung, Apple the biggest beneficiaries of the Nokia downfall

IMS Research put out a study estimating that some 420 million smartphones will be sold worldwide in the 2011 calendar year, or 28 percent of all handsets sold. The survey portrays Apple as making huge gains in the space, buoyed on the sales of 18.65 million and 20.34 million iPhones in their last two quarters – enough to garner a 19 percent share of the global smartphone market. Combined with Nokia’s slumping sales, Apple emerged as the world’s leading smartphone maker.

It remains to be seen whether Samsung, which is due to report its earnings Friday, will beat Apple’s smartphone sales (some say it will). IMS noted the fact that the company grew their share of global smartphone market from three percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 13 percent in the first quarter of this year. Samsung, as you know, sells phones powered by Google’s and Microsoft’s software in addition to their own operating system for feature phones, Bada. IMS’s Analyst Josh Builta says this of LG:

LG, despite being the third largest OEM in the world, has offered a fairly limited smartphone portfolio in recent years, a factor that resulted in the company reaching less than a three percent share of the total smartphone market in 2010.

However, Nokia’s fall surprised even the most seasoned watchers and is unheard of in this industry. Nokia, the Finnish phone giant, lost 16 percentage points of its smartphone market share, going from a 40 percent share last year to 24 percent in the first quarter of 2010. They shipped 16.74 million smartphones in the June quarter – a 34 percent annual decline – versus Apple’s 20.34 million units – a 134 percent annual increase. Nokia also killed Symbian and is only shipping the well-received but short-lived MeeGo-powered N9 to select markets. Here’s how the analyst described Nokia’s problem:

Clearly one of the key dynamics of the mobile handset competitive environment in recent years has been the inability of many traditional market leaders to recognize and adjust to the growing smartphone tier. The reasons for these failures vary and include everything from poorly designed and manufactured devices, unsatisfactory user interfaces, and portfolios that don’t offer products with a differentiating feature. These lapses have created opportunities for newer entrants to the market, which they have aggressively pursued.

Research In Motion fell from 20 percent to 15 percent in the same period, mind you. IMS sees one billion smartphones by 2016 as average selling prices drop and vendors release more inexpensive handsets. Smartphones then will account for one of every two mobile handsets sold, the research firm concludes.

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Survey: Buyers want sub-$250 Amazon tablet

Much has been said about a rumored Amazon tablet so far. It should be based on Android, we are told, and Asian source have chimed in with their share of leaks, the latest being that Taiwanese contract manufacturers have begun producing the gizmo, presumably for a Fall launch. But will you take the plunge? That’s what research firm Retrevo set out to figure out in a July study stemming from polling over a thousand online individuals in the US. Key takeaway: Amazon tablet must be really affordable if it’s to hit the ground running.

Asked whether they’d consider buying any Android tablet with similar features over a base model $499 iPad, more than three-quarter respondents, or 79 percent, said “Yes, if it cost less than $250″. Amazon is rumored to be skipping on some tablet features in order to keep production costs down, like use a less expensive touch panel which can only detect two fingers at once.

Of course, Amazon knows how to build gadgets like Kindle and make them less expensive over time. The tablet, however, they’d have to price aggressively from day one as Apple pretty much set the starting price at $499. Nearly half the respondents would choose an Android tablet over an entry-level $499 iPad if it was priced less than $300 and nearly one in three would go Android with a sub-$400 device.

In a blow to other tablet makers, including brands such as Motorola, Samsung, Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard and others, a whopping 55 percent would seriously consider a tablet from Amazon. This highlights the power of ecosystem which has turned Apple’s tablet into a smash hit. Amazon too has its own app store, music store, movie store and other digital stores in the cloud, bound to create a compelling user experience in the familiar environment from a trusted name in online retail. More food for thought and pretty charts right below…

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