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Christmas Day Sees Tablet, Smartphone Activation Surge

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Christmas Day set a record for tablet and smartphone activations, with application downloads set to pass 1.5 billion by New Year’s Day

On Christmas Day, more iPhones, iPads, Galaxy devices, Kindle Fires and other mobile devices were activated than on any other day in history, according to a report from Flurry Analytics.

The research firm also found activations soaring to more than 17.4 million, a 332 percent increase from the December baseline of 4 million per day.

Tablets beat smartphones

When comparing smartphone and tablet activations on Christmas Day, it turned out that tablet activations held a slight edge over smartphones (51 percent, versus 49 percent), although smartphone activations typically outpace those of tablets by four to one.

An estimated 25 percent of Americans owns a tablet device such as an Apple iPad or an Amazon Kindle Fire, up from 10 percent in late 2011, according to a recent Pew Research survey, which was conducted from 15 October to 10 November among 2,252 Americans aged 16 and older.

“The big winners were Apple iPads, Apple iPad Minis and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-in. tablets,” the Flurry report said. “In particular, Amazon had a very strong performance in the tablet category, growing by several thousand percent over its baseline of tablet activations over the earlier part of December.”

The competitive landscape in the mobile PC market – which includes tablets, notebooks, netbooks and hybrid devices – is rapidly changing, thanks to increased tablet adoption, Apple’s strong dominance, and the emergence of new players like Google and Microsoft, according to a 12 December NPD DisplaySearch report.

Flurry also benchmarked download volumes, which are tracked in its system against publicly released app download milestones from Apple and Google, in order to monitor the surge in application downloads. Flurry’s report found app downloads more than doubled on Christmas.

Early-morning downloads

On a per-hour basis, most downloads occurred early in the morning, reaching roughly 20 million per hour, and remained elevated well into the evening.

“Specifically, over the 1 to 20 December baseline, download volumes increased by 112 percent on Christmas,” the report noted. “Despite the ever-growing installed base of existing smart devices, the influx of new devices on Christmas Day still helped deliver a record download day, besting that of any previous day in history.”

Flurry anticipates downloads to surpass more than 1.5 billion between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and could even break through the 2 billion download barrier for the first time.

The report also noted Christmas Day 2011 held the previous single-day record, having reached 6.8 million device activations, with those on Christmas 2012 more than 2.5 times larger than those on Christmas 2011, which exceeded its own baseline by more than 300 percent.

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Originally published on eWeek.