How Apple and Nokia divvy up the world

Measured by mobile ad traffic, it's still a two-smartphone race

Forget North and South. East and West. First World, Second World and Third.

According to AdMob, the mobile advertising company acquired late last year by Google (goog), the world is divided -- at least in terms of smartphone usage -- into two parts: Apple's and Nokia's.

In its Mobile Metrics Report for Dec. 2009, issued Thursday morning, AdMob surveys eight regions -- from North America to Oceania -- and finds some clear patterns:

  • Apple's (aapl) iPhone OS dominates the North American, Australian and Western European markets.
  • Nokia's (nok) Symbian is the most popular operating system in Africa and Asia, and continues to have a significant market share in Eastern Europe and Latin America.

However the numbers, as AdMob measures them, are trending in Apple's favor. Apple's share of requests in the AdMob network increased from 9% in Q4 2008 to 36% in Q4 2009 while Nokia's share declined from 33% in Q4 2008 to 18% in Q4 2009.

(Google's Android is also on the rise, climbing from 1% of smartphone traffic in Q4 2008 to 16% in Q4 2009.)

Below the fold: The world of smartphones, according to AdMob.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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