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.

Image to use: http://i.imgur.com/cg6O5.jpg