It’s instructive to take a good look at some local mobile browser market stats, as always by StatCounter. Today we treat India.
India resembles Nigeria, which we studied last time, but is less extreme. Only 6 in 10 website hits come from mobile devices, and the combined proxy browsers have roughly 70-75% of the market instead of Nigeria’s 90%.
Like in Nigeria, the top three browsers are proxy browsers — browsers that leave the interpreting and rendering to the server and only show the resulting page. This process saves their users a lot of money, both because an old device is sufficient to run a proxy client, and because they essentially get one image instead of a full web page, which leads to low data usage.
Here, too, UC is growing at the expense of Opera Mini and Nokia Xpress. It’s even taken first place in Q3. Better get to know this browser if you’re creating international sites.
Still, the browsers that are certainly not proxy browsers have about 25% of the market, with Android as largest (cheap Android devices are flooding the Indian market), and NetFront second-best.
NetFront is a browser by the Japanese Access company. It was pretty much the default browser on old Samsung and Sony(Ericsson) devices of uncertain OS, but after both vendors went for Android, NetFront declined in importance. It moved to WebKit and made it onto modern Nintendo and Sony game consoles. I presume its Indian market share comes from cheap Samsung devices, but I’m not sure.
Dolfin, too, has a sliver of the Indian market. Dolfin (not to be confused with Dolphin) is the default browser for the Samsung bada OS, which was discontinued a while ago. It’s a pretty decent browser, certainly for one that’s several years old, but completely tied to bada.
IE and Chrome have also entered the Indian market. Since they mostly run on more expensive devices, I don’t think their market share will grow hugely in the year to come.
Surprisingly, Openwave returned to the Indian market. This is about the only old mobile browser I’ve never even seen, so I can’t tell you much about it. It used to run on older systems, but I’m not sure what the current incarnation runs on.
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