Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

Cédric Beust thinks I skewed those Facebook mobile app client usage numbers in Apple’s favor:

Also worth pointing out, perhaps, that while Facebook’s Android app is growing fast, it isn’t catching up to the iPhone app. The Facebook for iPhone app gained about 4.5 million users for the month, going from 53 to 57.5 million users. The Facebook for Android app gained about 4.25 million users, going from 17 to 21 million users.

Another way of looking at it is that the Android app gained 23% while the iPhone app increased only 7.5%. In other words, Android is growing three times as fast as the iPhone.

I don’t think these numbers mean much, to be honest, but isn’t it funny that whenever there are two ways of looking at statistics, Gruber will always pick the one that shows Apple in a more favorable light?

He also quips:

There is no native iPad app for Facebook, so maybe the difference is just the iPod Touch?

Wait… an application available on only one flavor of iOS? I thought there was no fragmentation on iOS?

To clarify, what I meant is that Facebook’s official iOS app isn’t iPad-optimized. It’s an iPhone app. It runs just fine on the iPad, but do people use it there? I almost never run non-iPad-optimized apps on my iPad. I’m guessing most people who use Facebook from an iPad use the website or a third-party client like Friendly. But the numbers we’re talking about are for the official Facebook app in particular. (Mark Zuckerberg has claimed the iPad “isn’t mobile”, thus Facebook isn’t interested in creating a native iPad version of their app.)

One more interesting observation regarding these numbers. Google recently announced that they’re up to 300,000 Android activations per day. That’s about 9 million per month. Assuming all these numbers are accurate, that means almost half the people who buy a new Android phone install and use the Facebook app. That’s rather remarkable.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010