April 20, 2011, 5:07 PM

Android phones capture more than a third of North American mobile ad impressions

iPhones accounted for 29% of North American ad impressions in March, InMobi says.

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Mobile phones using the Android operating system accounted for 34.4% of North American mobile ad impressions in March, up from 30.4% in December, according to the latest report from InMobi. The mobile ad network says that devices using the iPhone operating system captured 29.2% of the impressions in March, up from 19.4% in December.  BlackBerry mobile devices accounted for 12.1% of mobile ad impressions in March, up from 11.6% in December.

The shares for iPhone and Android devices roughly correspond to the share of smartphone platforms among mobile subscribers, as reported by comScore Inc. for February. The web and mobile web measurement firm said that Android devices accounted for 33% of the subscriber base, with the iPhone at 25.2%. BlackBerry devices accounted for 28.9%. BlackBerry tend to be business users who are focused on e-mail, mobile experts say, not so much on browsing the web or using apps, which may account for the difference between the number of BlackBerry devices and the number of BlackBerry ad impressions.

InMobi based its findings on analysis of its global ad network, which serves 31.9 billion monthly mobile ad impressions to some 220 million consumers, the company says. Globally in March, Android ad impressions for the first time exceeded iPhone ad impressions. Android accounted for 14.5% of ad impressions globally, compared with 13.8% for iPhone, the ad network says.

“The introduction of Android has significantly accelerated smartphone growth, as it brings a wealth of options to consumers,” says James Lamberti, vice president of global research and marketing at InMobi. “With the increased focus on mobile from global publishers, advertisers and developers, the mobile experience has reached the next phase of its evolution.”

In North America, InMobi recorded nearly 5.2 billion mobile ad impressions for March, up 21% from 4.3 billion impressions in December. The share of iPhone enjoyed a boost of nearly 10 percentage points after the device was introduced to the Verizon network in January.

“The introduction of the Apple iPhone on Verizon has given the iOS platform a big boost against the recent Android swell, although it was not enough to retake the top position,” says Anne Frisbie, InMobi’s vice president and managing director for North America.

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