Rhythm NewMedia's study on the use of mobile video is intriguing. The researchers said they found that use of mobile video is accelerating far faster than is commonly assumed. Just between the first and second quarters, they said, video views grew by 30 percent.
The press release compares its findings to that of a report from eMarketer earlier this month, which concluded that mobile video will "only" double by 2013. Rhythm acknowledges that the different ways that the organizations gathered data makes it impossible to definitely say that Rhythm's projections for mobile video use are more aggressive, but that it almost certainly is the case.
New TeeVee's Ryan Lawler, using the stats from Rhythm, pointed out something else that is interesting: that owners of Android-based devices are using 3G networks for video far more than iPhone users are. The study found that 72 percent of mobile video delivered to Android devices comes over the cellular network, while 28 percent arrives on Wi-Fi. iPhone users employ 3G for 56 percent of mobile video viewing and use Wi-Fi networks for 44 percent. Commentary in the story suggests that this could accelerate the trend to metered billing on cellular networks.
It's difficult to say whether that differentiation is due to the nature of the users, the perceived strength of the devices or is just a statistical blip. Regardless, observers should get used to these kind of comparisons between the iPhone and Android. There are other smartphone operating systems here and coming, of course. The WebOS, Research in Motion's Blackberry, Windows Phone 7 and others have fans, but the iPhone and Android definitely have the mindshare.
Though they earned their notoriety in different ways -- the iPhone was a success on day one, while Android grew into the role over a longer time period -- the two are likely to slug it out for supremacy for some time. The bottom line is that the fast growth of smartphones and the ability of users to find more uses for them is having a tremendous impact on network usage. It is certain that this consistent acceleration will continue, and that Android and the iPhone will continue to be the poster children of the growth.