Christmas Day customer activity showing Apple is crushing it, Android strong, Microsoft toast.

Christmas Day customer activity showing Apple is crushing it, Android strong, Microsoft toast.

Christmas Day is a huge day for mobile device activations, obviously. Once we finish unwrapping our gifts and scarfing down a big breakfast, we all become children and want to immediately play with our gifts. For smartphones and tablets, that means activating your device on a network, and downloading a slew of apps. Once we install these apps (like Twitter), we start telling followers about our new device. Two pieces of research hit my radar today. They’re both quite fascinating and paint a picture of Apple dominating the scene.

The first is from analytics firm Flurry, who posted a little something on their blog revealing just how big these activations were this year.

Flurry estimates that iOS and Android sales were more than 2.5x larger on Christmas Day in 2012 compared to last year’s equivalent. A whopping 17.4 million devices were activated this year versus only 6.8 million last year.

Tablets are also growing in popularity big time. Perhaps because many of them don’t come with cellular connectivity (and therefore don’t have data plans), they are easier gifts. But 51% of device activations on the 25th (among iOS and Android devices tracked) were tablets. Compare this with 20% tablets for the days leading up to Christmas. I think these data points tell us the tablet market is on fire, and not slowing down anytime soon.

Interestingly, the Flurry study makes no mention of Windows Surface or the heavily discounted BlackBerry Playbook.I’m not surprised on the Playbook side of things - it’s now an old tablet, and will be obviously updated in 2013 when BlackBerry 10 comes out. But the Surface is brand new. If it was going to make a move, you’d think Christmas would show some results for team Microsoft, eh?

Another data point, if I can call it that, aggregated tweets from people writing “first tweet from (device name)”. The image showing the results (below) comes from Andy Biao and @axian, and it looks like a completely unscientific (but very interesting) graphic detailing the search results.

For whatever these results are worth, iPad crushed everybody else. And to check if these results could be trusted I did an informal search of my own, looking at similar tweets over the last few hours. I got comparable results (just looking at the rough split). Maybe iPad users like Twitter more than everyone else, or people who like Twitter gravitate to iPads, and the fact that almost nobody tweeted from a Microsoft Surface could be driven by the lack of an official Twitter app. But it’s not like the web version sucks. It uses HTML5 and works pretty well. I have to think it’s just not selling very well.

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Chris Umiastowski

Chris was a sell side financial analyst covering the tech sector for over 10 years. He left the industry to enjoy a change in lifestyle as an entrepreneur, consultant, and technology writer.

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Christmas Day customer activity showing Apple is crushing it, Android strong, Microsoft toast.


Not surprising on the MS Surface front. I considered one but after looking at everything it does I was left wanting a Windows 8 laptop. The Surface is just an underpowered netbook imo. Hopefully MS will nail it with rumored 7 inch X tablet next year as I like the smaller form factor across the board. The Surface in portrait mode is a joke and the stand is great but useless except on a table and it should also be adjustable.

I love the Samsung flagship phones. I've had both the S3 and the Galaxy Note(s) well as all versions of iPhone. But, when I asked my daughter which phone she liked the best (her not knowing it was going to be a Xmas gift), she said "iPhone". So I traded my G-Note for an iPhone 5 to take advantage of FaceTime. These are the kinds of x-factors that keep giving an otherwise stale iOS the edge.

Surface was not just DOA but DBA as I predicted long time ago... how much APPLE is crushing it will be shown with real numbers on January 25... with over 30 mio iPhones and over 30 mio iPads sold this QTR... will be also it's first QTR with over 60 bio $ revenue !!!

The Surface was never going to take off with so many selling windows devices along with MS having to play nice with its partners. That's if you get past its limitations of RT. Initially sold at MS stores, that means little. Now it sits in the corner of Best Buy & Staples not pushed by anyone. I tried to use an RT device (next to the nameless android tablets) while at Sams Club recently, it's password locked. The other one didn't even power on. You look over at the ipad display and they're all sitting there powered on, ready to use.

I asked my wife if she wants windows 8 and she said "load it on my laptop and you die" How about the Surface? She didn't even know what that was.

As much as I don't personally care about Metro apps or its UI, you have to look at windows differently. It's about sales for all OEM's combined. It's about windows 8 adoption. It was never going to be a short term killer of anything. Focusing on the Surface is looking at things with Apple goggles on.

Twitter as a measurement of sales? You've got to be joking. Perhaps the demographic using the Surface is a bit different. Also, Surface Pro not yet available, and RT only made it into physical stores in some markets this week.

There is also, of course the theory that the Surface is simply a concept, more intended to inspire Microsoft's standard hardware partners, than be something that sells huge itself.

Microsoft blew it on PRICE on the surface. They made the same mistake every Android vendor made with Android tablets- Priced too high. Not many people are going to pay more ($599) for a Microsoft Surface RT that doesn't even come with the keyboard attachment (an extra $100??). Balmer is nuts. And of course, Microsoft building it's own tablet pissed off their OEM partners enough that they aren't rushing to market with Surface RT tablets of their own. It's only going to get worse when Microsoft releases the Windows 8 Pro Tablets and we see consumers aren't willing to pay $899 for a Tablet. You'd think Microsoft would've learned this lesson the first time they released Tablet's back in 2002. Few bought them then. Meanwhile, the iPad mini is flying off shelves. Who's going to over pay for a Microsoft Surface at $599 when they can get a Kindle Fire HD or better yet, an iPad Mini? Way to go Balmer. Dunno why the board won't can him.

FYI - the surface is $499 without the keyboard cover and comes with 32gb and 10.6"display. Ipad is $499 with 16gb and no cover. Ipad mini is not the one to compare with.

Really? You buy one? You know anyone who's bought one? You seen anyone with one? I've seen many regular iPads and even more iPad mini's. What does that tell you? The Surface isn't selling. Nexus 7. Kindle Fire HD. iPad Mini. IPad. That's what people are buying. Balmer is nuts. It's not working.

Exactly....I don't need #s/stats/prices/etc.....iPads/minis/kindles/n7/n10 are what people have. Even the Nooks have fallen. Simple as that. But I keep hearing excuses about the Surface/OEMs/etc, its not selling bc people just don't want it....end of story.

+1... RT is DOA and WART is FART... and W8 ???...well..."since Windows Vista there hasn't been an OS so widely derided as 8... it seems first like a fun experience, but that halo wears off quickly. For use on an older computer, it is miserable, you need touch. Unfortunately touch does not work on a vertical surface, there have been decades of studies to show this. Unless you are using a tablet, Windows 8 quickly becomes an exercise in frustration and arm pain. Worse yet, it is simply not workable for doing what most business users need to do, write a letter, make a spreadsheet, and reply to an email. How fun do you think pulling your hand off the keyboard to touch the screen every time you want to click a menu in Word is? Fun edgy UI or carpal tunnel nightmare? Luckily for those realizing this problem, Microsoft got in front of that potential deal breaker and, well, made it so there is no other way. You can’t avoid the new UI, and it is unsuitable for corporate work. Somehow people are not just staying away in droves, customers who previously bought Windows desktop and were purportedly waiting to upgrade either decided not to or were actually gone long ago. The whole death spiral of low market share has doomed Windows Phone 7 and 8, made WART and Surface non-starters, and the entire OEM space is hell bent on making viable alternatives to Windows itself. Microsoft is said to have internally written of any chance of corporate adoption for Windows 8 too" - DP- NYTIMES

You actually dont need touch at all to use Windows 8. MS biggest fail on that front is, with releasing such a different UI, not putting more information out there on how to use it. I have actually found some features easier to use on Windows 8 with the mouse/keyboard than touch. Bringing up the running apps list on the left side of the screen for instance. Easy to do by moving the mouse to the top right, and when the 'next app' image appears sliding the mouse down to open the whole list. Real hard to do with touch, though. I have as yet not managed to do it with touch. Search in the store using the Windows key+Q is another place where its easire to not use the touchscreen.

I think most derision for Windows 8 is not a response to actually trying it, but to all the bad press its gotten. I recall a lot of bad press when 95 changed the interface too. People were so used to 3.x windows. Actually using it, it works real well (their store however needs a lot of work to make it easier to use if they expect people to use it).

You seem to forget the 32GB Surface RT uses over half that for OS & Office, so the 16GB iPad is the direct competitor. Combined with Microsofts ads and most reviewers opinions that office only works with the keyboard and your looking at $100 more for Surface RT over the iPad.

That brings us back to the $599 w/keyboard, just to gain full functionality. Having a keyboard with iPad is nice but it's also less expensive to do. The surface isn't selling well at all, regardless of what specs you fire off, what it has, or what it doesn't. That is a fact that is unchanged after the holidays.

No I havn't. My friend has bought one, however he is in the IT industry. Its all about your needs and wants. I have an iMac, iPad2, and about to go from WP7 to iPhone. I prefer all my devices in the same ecosystem. However, I appreciate choices and differences in all systems and the Windows system still works very well in the commercial/professional world. Skydrive rules!

I'll grant you that having the surface around will definitely keep everyone on their toes as far as innovation, but I guaranty you that neither Google nor Apple are scared of the RT or the Windows 8 Pro. I'd be surprised if IT Departments sprung for with Windows 8 Pro. Some might. Most won't purely based on cost. Microsoft blew it on price. If they'd made the RT $299 and the Windows Pro Tablet, $499 WITH KEYBOARD, they'd be selling like hotcakes. They're overpriced. Microsoft already learned this lesson once. Balmer blew it, yet again.

While I'm not a fan of tablets in general, the Microsoft Surface would certainly be the last one I'd purchase. It's simply not worth it. iPads aren't "worth it" either but at least they have the most apps that everybody wants, Microsoft doesn't.

I don't see how "tweets" is even a metric. This is slanted, it could just as easily say "More iOS users tweet than Android or Surface users".

It's the same as saying 50 people asked for spoons in that restaurant, they must be balancing them on their noses.

The only metric that's valid for this is activation numbers.

I know 10 people with a Surface, my sister being one of them. I must say its really awesome!! And I agree, she doesn't use twitter so I don't understand why even use that. Not everyone on iOS uses twitter either, so why use it?? I have seen a few strangers with Surface RT as well. I'll admit, price is the reason why I stuck to iPad mini. But other than that, there is nothing stopping me from wanting to get a Surface Pro.

and also your sister is earning lots of $$$ working from the Surface... ait? DUDE... CMON... iMore readers are too smart to fool them around with this one... nice try though

Not trolling, I hate them myself. And this is coming from an Apple user. But I can see why I am being called one, being the Internet and all. I told her to get a Surface RT simply because of Microsoft Office (Job requires it) and owning a laptop seemed useless just for MS office. As I mentioned, I picked the iPad mini because price was a major factor and it'll simply be a waste of time and money to invested on an entirely new OS when I am already too used to iOS (had iPads 1-3 before). Anywho, anyone still feels like calling me a troll?? Fine, don't care, it's the Internet for crying out loud. Like some stupid e-label is supposed to make me commit suicide or stop giving my opinion.