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Net analytics firm Net Applications has released its latest mobile browser market share data, and the results on the Android side were a bit of a surprise to me: apps based on the stock Android browser are still handily trouncing Chrome for usage. That includes 3rd party solutions like the stock Samsung, HTC, and LG browsers, all of which are based on the stock Android browser.

To be precise, the figures are 21.86% of all mobile visits for the "Android Browser," but a mere 2.43% for Chrome (Safari is out in front, at 61.79%). That includes the iOS version of Chrome, too, so the figure is even lower if you're only counting Android handsets.

Given that Google has started requiring OEMs to include the Chrome browser as part of Android since version 4.1 - and that a default browser must be chosen by the end user - this is quite intriguing. Net Applications collects the data from over 40,000 websites comprising 160,000,000 pageviews, so it's not like a small data set is skewing things here, either. For the record, Android 4.1+ now makes up 25% of Play Store-enabled devices.

Given Chrome's ever-increasing popularity as a PC browser, one would think its success on Android would be something of a given, but it seems that the vast majority (based on these figures, around 90%) of Android phone users are drawn to the stock browsing experience. Now, there is likely a significant skew is built into these analytics, because not every Android device is Play Store-enabled (especially cheap tablets), meaning no Google Chrome. But that's not really a skew, so much as the reality of how Android is penetrating the mobile device market as a whole.

Either way, the numbers are certainly eye-opening - Chrome has a long way to go in the mobile browser space, even on its home platform.

Net Applications via AllThingsD

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • jeremynsl

    Chrome is functionally better than the stock browser on my HTC One XL. But its scrolling is extremely choppy. I can't live with that... The stock browser is very smooth.

    • http://www.facebook.com/itaregarrute Itaré Victor Galvêas Garrute


    • Alvin Brinson

      Completely agreed. Function = Win for Chrome... But for speed and stability, inbuilt JB/ICS browser wins every time.

  • Barton82

    I'm not surprised. It's to slow and to heavy and it's not a default browser on most android devices. I have it installed, but use stock android browser 99% of the time, because of the first two reasons. And I have a pretty decent phone (i9300).

  • chandradithya

    Well.. Maybe if it was the stock browser on my galaxy nexus, And if it was smoother than Chrome, I'd use it.

    Even the good old stock browser from Android 4.0 has some neat features like quick controls and more, And was a ton smoother than any version of chrome. Something Chrome for Android dev team should look at.


    My biggest annoyance with Chrome is that it has that "zoom in" feature when you press an area that contains multiple links. While it looks nice, it actually causes about a 300ms delay when clicking on any link as it processes whether or not it needs to "zoom in". If you're opening several links at a time, it makes Chrome feel soooo slow because of this.

  • MrDerekBush

    IT might be because folks still want to be able to use flash (even if the last version is side-loaded). I still haven't seen a good way to view a flash-enabled page in any browser other than the stock browser.

  • http://www.facebook.com/italyguy Michael Oberhausen

    I use Chrome and stock but i prefer stock for the Quick Controls in the Labs section

    • Haedocynic

      Yes! Quick Controls are a must. Now that everybody's raving about pie controls, as in Paranoid Android and Cyanogen, why isn't everybody using the stock browser? And why doesn't Chrome have them??

      • Jonathan Perry

        But most people access the internet through native apps on their phones, I'm guessing most of this data comes from tablets.

        • Haedocynic

          I'm not sure what you mean. Both the stock browser and Chrome are native applications?

          • Jonathan Perry

            They're browsers. If I want to check Twitter on my phone, I use the Twitter app. I don't use any web browser because there is no need.

          • Haedocynic

            Oh, OK. Well, that may apply to Twitter, but I access the very large majority of websites directly through the browser. I don't really see the point in installing applications to access a website; for one thing, I'm too lazy to go and download them when I'm just browsing on my mobile! I want to just go to the page then and there.

          • John O’Connor

            Most apps that have website equivalents function much better outside of a browser environment. If the convenience of an app is not for you, then you are entitled to that opinion. Most people do not want to have to go into a browser on their devices and then type the url and then enter their username and password every single time they want to interact. Add to that the constant scrolling and zooming in and out and using a web login and through a browser only is a laborious and tedious task.

          • Haedocynic

            I agree that web log-ins are a pain. But then I don't visit many websites that have a log-in on my phone. Perhaps what you say applies mainly to people who use many social/network sites?

    • moelsen8

      Yeah I'm not switching browsers until quick controls are available. They're just way too convenient. I'll sideload aosp browser for as long as I have to.

  • zmberven

    Slow, choppy, heavy. When Chrome is none of those things, I'll use it. Till then, the stock browser reigns supreme

    • Joseph Cascio

      I love the stock browser. It just works.

  • jibust

    Like everyone says, I would love to use Chrome, but I find it really slow (lags), it devours my battery and makes my phone heat up. I use Firefox on my GNex and couldn't be happier.

  • Rob H.

    The AOSP 4+ browser is good for stock. But Maxthon is so fast and works quite well. Firefox has gotten better too. I just can't do Chrome on anything.

  • Sushil Khekare

    It is only because it is not default browser and most of the users dont know its there on device.

  • TechGuy22

    stock FTW but it crashes a lot on my nexus 7. so i use chrome more now. lol safari wtf these graphs are funny

  • Noah Lynn

    I've always thought of Dolphin Browser as the standard nonstandard browser.

  • David M Whittley

    A fundermental flaw in most browsers is that they are modelled on PC-based browsers that are controlled with a mouse. The icons/buttons used to navigate, add tabs, close tabs or otherwise interact with the browser should be at the bottom of the screen where our fingers are. Not four to five inches away at the top. For this reason I use Boat Browser for 90% of my browsing.

  • http://twitter.com/Bobby_Phoenix Bobby Phoenix

    I use it a lot, but I also use Firefox and Maxthon, and all work equally well for me. Also don't forget there are a ton of phones still on Gingerbread or earlier, and they can't run Chrome at all.

  • Sqube

    Maybe it's because the stock browser is still fantastic, especially with the quick controls. The only reason I use Chrome at all is because of the tab syncing.

    But if I'm not syncing a tab, I'm not opening Chrome. It's just a PITA.

  • yahyoh

    bad things about chrome :

    1- scrolling in chrome still not smooth
    2- chrome use more battery
    3- chrome use more ram
    4- no add ons or themes
    5- no full screen

    good things :

    1- its faster than AOSP browser
    2- moving between tabs easier
    3- Sync with PC chrome ( passwords - opened tabs - etc )

    • Simon Belmont

      Don't forget it isolates processes into their own threads. This basically sandboxes them from doing strange things to other processes.

      I do hope they eventually give it add-on capabilities. That would be sweet. The full screen is just a no-brainer. That should be on it now.

  • Charlie 2

    The stock browser has the fullscreen and Flash. Those are the reasons I use it instead of Chrome... :)

  • http://twitter.com/OttoVonBurns OttoVonBurns

    I agree with the comments that talk about performance, in order to use Chrome comfortably you need a latest gen device, which, if we take into account the diversity of android devices you end up with an absolute No-No for a whole lot of people, I for once can't use it without crashing the whole launcher, so, no surprise for me on this one

  • http://profiles.google.com/mediogringo Dan Carter

    That's because Chrome is a laggy mess and doesn't support Flash. I only use it because of its awesome syncing features, and because my Nexus 4 is fast enough to iron out most of the lag. My Nexus 7 struggles, however.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/psycho_maniac_ psychomaniac189

    Cuz it's slow as fuck!

  • Mark LaFlamme

    Dolphin or Boat for me. Dolphin is well-established, but Boat doesn't get nearly as much love as it deserves.

  • Scott

    If they want more adoption, make it fluid like the AOSP browser. I absolutely hate using chrome on my android phone. If only I could get the AOSP browser...

  • http://twitter.com/Imperticus Mahfooz

    Another key fact: Chrome is only available on 4.0+ devices, and there are an awesome lot of devices that are still on lower versions of Android and hence Chrome is not an option for them.

  • madmike318

    Why does Chrome default to opening new tabs all the time??? Everytime I click a link in an email Chrome pops up with about 7 open tabs and is SLOW

    • Simon Belmont

      The stock browser does that too. It opens a new tab if you link to a URL from a different app.

      Even the HTC skinned browser on my EVO 3D does that. I opens a new "window" but preserves the old ones.

  • David Gerber

    I tried stock again and.. they just lost another android chrome user. It's definitely much faster. Chrome is so slow that I often think twice before opening a link. I guess I'll have to do without the syncing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mformarcee Marcell Lévai

    Heavy and slow, I can't come up with anything new :/ Although the stock Android browser has bugs, it's still way better than Chrome.

  • John O’Connor

    I haven't seen chrome installed on a stock (high end) android phone ever. It is normally something that will need to be downloaded after purchase. The interesting thing is that most stock browsers still support flash video of some sort (while flash is not specifically installed on the device)

    I prefer chrome but some sites just don't display properly yet because of the removal of flash and so I must switch browsers. It's not the end of the world but a nuisance nonetheless

  • Fred

    Even though Chrome is on the slower side, but the keyboard shortcuts for Chrome like ctrl+W, ctrl+t works really well. It is almost a must have for my ASUS transformer since I use the keyboard with the tablet most of the time. That's the only reason I use chrome over other browsers. Features like chrome to phone is also very nice. Other than that, I find other browsers are much faster and smoother.

  • Wendell

    Seriously, don't bother net applications marketshare numbers. This type of thing has no relevancy first 40,000 pages and 160 million views month is a really small data poll in the scale of today's internet, second they do data weighting, one of the worst statistical tools in existence, using so non disclosed data source and some non disclosed algorithms.

    If you wanna check this kind of number statcounter has better data, much larger (but still insignificant) data poll and non weighting results, even Wikipedia provides better results.

  • GraveUypo

    chrome simply isn't the best mobile browser right now. i only use it when i want to sync tabs from my pc

  • Torstein

    Make the experience as smooth as the stock browser, and I'd switch at once. Chrome certainly has more functionallity, but I don't care as long as it's more choppy than an old lady trying to log in to her email!

  • Chris

    Funny,. I have none of the issues people are experiencing and I have a STOCK, HTC EVO device. None of that rooted nonsense.

    • Chris

      Plus ever think it might be the network you are on thats causing pages to load slow?

  • scuttlefield

    Chrome is my mobile browser of choice, but I view quite a lot of pages (like this one) through the internal browser in Falcon. I wonder how that (and other similar apps) show up in the stats.

  • Metallinatus

    'o' I didn't know that Google started requiring Chrome on Android 4.1 and up devices! I thought the OEMs could still choose the browser they wanted....
    I still see people complaining here... it is only on my GNex that Chrome is extremely fast and stable now?

  • icyrock1

    HTC and Samsung ported the stock browser from ICS to there new flagships (the One and GS4, respectively) and customized it iirc. Does anyone know how they preform? I'd like to see some benchmarks from there native browser's.

  • Jonathan Perry

    Does this count the samsung/motorola/htc customized browsers as the android browser? Because my Moto phone came with Chrome installed, but the Moto browser was set as default.

  • arsene lupin

    chrome does not have full screen, pie controls, or flash enabled. i'm sticking with stock browser

  • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

    I have found that Chrome is pretty slow on my Galaxy Nexus, and the amount of resources it eats up slows down the experience using the device as a whole. So I use stock.

    Chrome on my Nexus 7 is great though.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. Especially recent versions, on the N7, have been great for me.

      The scrolling has greatly improved. I've been pretty happy with it.

  • Simon Belmont

    My guess is the incredibly vast majority of folks just use whatever the default browser is on their phone, and figure why bother installing a different browser. So, if it's an OEM skinned version of the stock browser, then that's what they'll be using and that's pumping up the numbers.

    Heck, I use the stock browser on my CM10/CM10.1 ROMs a lot. It's smooth and gets the job done well. As for my N7, I do use Chrome and the latest builds are much smoother in usage and scrolling. Hopefully Google gets Chrome up to snuff in smoothness in a soon to come version. I also do like keeping a Flash enabled browser around, so there's also that. Just my two cents.

  • princechromey

    The only reason why Stock Browser is infront, is that Chrome only supports Android 4.0+. Imagine all those people (including myself) stuck on Android 2.3, unable to get Chrome...

  • http://www.facebook.com/frankzermeno Frank Zermeño

    Chrome is painfully slow. I only keep it around because it syncs tabs with my desktop. I'm considering going back to using "Chrome to Phone" because, yes, it is that bad. I don't enjoy typing out web addresses or searches, then waiting about 10 seconds before I see the text fill in.

    • bob


      • Frank Z.

        yes please.

  • l_fabinou

    Android stock browser on ASUS transformer is the only browser that behaves like a PC browser, specially in the way it reacts to keyboard inputs (ctrl+c/v, direct URL input at opening, etc.). Also, boot time is 3x faster than Chrome.

  • mrbinky3000

    First of all. Android browser is still Chrome. It's an OLD version of Chrome, the homepage is usually set to some BS web site by your service provider and sometimes you can't change it unless you root your phone. On a Galaxy S4 for example... Android browser is Chrome 18. Secondly, The standalone Chrome app from Google is currently Chrome 30 and rising. As a web developer, I implore you to stop using Android Browser! It's the IE of the mobile world. Stick with Stock Chrome. Works great, it's always updated, and you'll have a better web experience.