More Mobile Devices Connected To WiFi Networks Than Computers


Welcome to the future, guys. Where mobile devices are beginning to blur the lines between smartphones and little mini computers. According to this new report from cloud networking provider Meraki, there are more mobile devices connected to WiFi networks than there are computers. This doesn’t really surprise me, seeing how it seems like just about everyone owns a WiFi connected cell phone and even more people are looking towards tablets instead of the more traditional laptop or netbook.

What I found equally as interesting is how the iPhone took up a large chunk of the WiFi connected devices (32%) followed by Android devices (11%) in 2011. That’s really strange seeing how Android has been dominating the market share. But I suppose someone could argue that it could have something to do with the fact that the majority of iPhones sold were on AT&T’s poor network, forcing users to opt for WiFi whenever they can (zing!).

iPad users were also consuming the most data at 200MB more than Android, iPhone and iPod users. Some of that could be attributed to the fact that iPad’s are more or less sold as netbook alternatives and the majority of them sold are WiFi only versions. And I’m sure this number will change once the flood of Android tablets hits later this year.

[Via GigaOM]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Another big factor is on the iPhone you ultimately had to setup wifi in order to use certain features like video chat and download certain stuff. Also, many Android phones are on the 4G networks so they don’t get any speed benefit by using wifi, I know thats why I don’t use it.

  2. With the iphone, several apps require wifi in order to download the app.

  3. You also have to consider that when it comes to those who still have boat anchor PC’s (desktops), we tend to connect them hardwire to our routers, which is MUCH more reliable and faster than wifi could ever be. A bit less simple to connect an ethernet jack to your iPhone or Galaxy S….. so wifi it is..

    As far as mobile, yeah, the laptop is deaders. Power users still use them, but the majority of folks find their phones / pads / tabs good enough for mobile use. I have a CR-48 that Google sent me, and it collects dust most of the time unless I go out of town which is pretty much the only time I take it along. On the daily grind, I’m on my phone.

  4. How do you live with 200mb!? I average 10 gigs on my Android smartphone and 15 gigs on my xoom… Damn apple fanboys and they’re pretend “gee-bees”!

  5. I think these statistics may be somewhat misleading, especially considering how out of sync the numbers appear to be with the device market share reported through other analysts. I tried to find the original report to get an idea of the types of networks that were reporting usage statistics but I couldn’t find it. Looking at the company profile, though, it would appear that their statistics come from smaller CANs and commercial free hotspots, rather than subscription WAN or home networks.

    Based on this, I think the numbers are right where we would expect them to be – all mobile devices, rather than desktop systems and home laptops that would be wired or connected to home wireless networks, and devices that typically don’t have cellular data connections, ie laptops and tablets, or devices like the iPhone or certain Android phones performing operations that require wifi.

    I don’t really see this as a paradigm shift, or an indication that mobile devices are taking over from traditional computers. I think this is pointing more toward people getting information now versus having to wait until they are at their home or work computer, not favoring mobile devices over traditional computers. Basically, more people have mobile devices with them, compared to the number of people who carry laptops around. I don’t see any statistics or numbers or even mention of the change in overall usage though. From all we can tell from the limited information here, the increased traffic from mobile devices may be matched by an increase in overall usage.

    But, I could be way off base in this. Anyone know where I might find the original statistics?

  6. So 50% of the wifi-usage is from apple hardware :) who makes these graphs?

  7. ok maybe the iphone and ipad data makes sense but mac using so much data in comparison to windows which so much of the world uses….thats a little hard to believe

  8. Yeah I agree that we use wifi less. Only rarely are we forced to use it to dl anything. What really surprised me about the charts is how windows xp usage more than doubled!

  9. I think a lot of Android users purposely leave WiFi disabled when not using it to increase battery life.  This may have some effect on the results

    1. I get as much battery life on wifi as setting the phone’s wireless mode to 2G.

  10. I can see Apple devices being connected more… iPhones and iPads prompt you to join wireless networks whenever you do anything data with one around. Android does not.

    1. That explains why so many iPhones and iPads ALWAYS try to connect to my wifi tether network. :/

  11. It seems like the ios has a lot more video streaming apps too, netflix (few android phones can have it as of now), crackle, hulu, abc, mobi tv apps, lots of ios versions of websites, along with flash video converter apps, compared with android’s flash video web content (which can leave android users blocked from websites like with hulu, most big networks websites), and that seems to be mostly it. I’m sure there’s a few other ways to get video but as far as big name official content ios still has much much more. 

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