Triangulating the number of webOS users | webOS Nation

Triangulating the number of webOS users 53

by Robert Werlinger Fri, 13 Aug 2010 5:20 pm EDT


Palm has historically been mum on the subject of sales numbers (with the notable exception of the Centro, one of the company’s few commercially successful products in recent memory), but using analyst reports, developer sales numbers and data from social networks such as Facebook, it may be possible to hazard a guess as to how many webOS based devices are in use throughout the world.

Analyst Reports

Using data from 3 of the big three analyst firms – comScore, Gartner and IDC – we can get a close approximation of how many Palm users there are in the US. ComScore suggests that there are 49.1 million smartphone users domestically, and that 4.8% of them used Palm smartphones as of May. That would translate to around around two million users - assuming of course that the majority of that 4.8% are webOS users. Unfortunately, these numbers can be tricky.

According to IDC's Kevin Restivo, it's typical for firms publish "sell-in" numbers, or the sales from a vendor to its various channel partners, rendering those numbers a fairly ineffective metric in Palm's case (though firms do perform custom research for companies that evaluate the inverse of sell-in: sell-out).  Instead of using channel based measurements, comScore bases its view of the mobile world on internet traffic, resulting in a metric that still quite useful.


We do have a much better estimate: the number of users listed on Facebook for the Facebook for webOS on the Facebook for webOS page. That number: 1.7 million monthly active users.

If we assume that not every Pre or Pixi owner uses Facebook, we could perhaps also estimate that the total number of users is, again, around two million. This metric isn’t entirely useful for getting an accurate gauge of the install base, but it gives a good baseline.

Developer sales numbers

Pandora, the popular streaming audio app that's only available Stateside and winner of the $100,000 grand prize in the Hot Apps contest,  is perhaps one of the most downloaded applications from the App Catalog. Using various analytics tools found around the internet, it looks as if Pandora has been able to clock a cool 2.3 million downloads alone since webOS phones first went on sale over a year ago.  That number is a little fuzzy, of course, since only developers can separate download numbers from the overall download number that includes updates.

Two Million webOS users?

It’s impossible to pin down the exact number of activated and in use webOS based phones – only Palm knows that number – but using the above an estimate of around 2 million users doesn't seem too far off. That number represents small drop in the North American smartphone market (estimated at 49.1 million users per the comScore study cited above) and makes Palm’s platform one that’s barely visible in the wider global market. 

For now, webOS mostly gets lumped into the 'Other' category when looking at total sales numbers - with any luck that will change in the future and we will be able to get a clearer picture. Hopefully HP's oft-cited 'scale' will translate into scale of a different kind: more marketshare.


To quote a song:

"We're little, but We're Loud!"

Go WebOS Users!

Now if we can just get HP to release that new Hardware and WebOS 2.0 with all the missing features, we would be golden :}

Nice work to everyone with the numbers. I one holdout with Facebook. My thought is that if someone wants an update of my life and can't meet me face to face, my pre can still work as a phone and they can call me.

Agree for real Don't let big brother put the hammer down yet

When begin to sell in Brazil, I`ll gonna be part of this numbers...

Just because someone joins a Palm page on facebook doesn't mean they own a device. Also, they might have had one but have since moved on to another device and didn't "unlike" the page. I don't think that 1.7 million number is accurate at all.

That is not the number of people who joined or liked it, that's the number of people who actively use the application as the screenshot indicates. If you go to the "Facebook

No, I believe that's monthly active users of the software, not people who "liked" the page. Cheers.

That's not the number on the facebook page, that's the number of distinct usernames that use "facebook for Palm" which, if you even just upload one picture from your phone to facebook using the share button in the pictures app registers in that number. Again, that number is going to be low compared to the actual number of users because, believe it or not, not everyone has a facebook.

I think the Pandora number is weird because, assuming it represents the number of distinct downloads and not upgrades, it would indicate that there are more than that number of devices out there, and they would all have to be webos as there is not an app for PalmOS.

Could the Pandora # be weird from the xxx,xxx # of replacements?

I just received my 10 Palm Pre. Still the same phone #, so Facebook would only see me as one.... No?

Good point, but probably not. If they can track distinct downloads, even that would be broken down to the profile, not just the phone. And even though there were definitely some problems with the early pre's, the statistics from various surveys don't support a return number that least not in the US.

ah, I get it now. Thanks guys.


not again

"Pandora has been able to clock a cool 2.3 million downloads alone since webOS phones" I didn't download Pandora; so plus that number by 1.

dup -sorry ya'll

I pledge I will never use my Pre to edit a post again.

@Finally Pre: :P

The pandora download number could be a good guesstimation, but does the app catalog count every time somone downloads, I.e. After you doctor your phone you re-download the app so does that count as 2 or still just 1, same with gettin a replacement phone.

In my case that would be like 8-10 downloads between my replacements and doctor visits. So who knows...

The number, if accurate, is based on the number of distinct users. That is, they count it by your Palm Profile, not device ID, etc.

Oh geez, I had no idea that Facebook page existed. I clicked on the "Info" tab and it shows me all my friends who also use the app. Whee! Facebook privacy is fun!

I clicked on my friends that use Palm's facebook app. Two of the five had recently "updated with Android OS"

If your estimation is for 2 - 2.2 million users in the U.S. then I think you have made a case, but you cannot make the case that those numbers are global.

The assumption that nearly every Pre/Pixi user has downloaded Pandora or uses the Facebook application would be an extremely bad assumption.
I have the figures somewhere in my HD, but unless you are saying that WebOS users GLOBALLY WAY over index for their use of Pandora and Facebook applications on their smart phone, using those numbers of 1.8 and say 2 looks good is not logical.
I would bet my house and everything else I own that 90% of WebOS users globally are not using the facebook app from their phone monthly.

Yeah, the facebook app doesn't even work on my phone. Won't let me sign in, and hasn't since I got my phone. I know this is the case for many other users as well, so the FB figure is probably a lot lower than the actual number of users.

Unfortunately Pandora doesn't work in Germany (or even Europe?) due to regional limitations of their service. I'd love to use that program but am quite sure noone can download it around here...

Well, how many Preware users are there?

thats what i want to know..

same here. and is this smooth from App idea Box?

bottom line our numbers are small.. However our community is stronger then the rest. That fact could be seen when Laptop magazine had it's popularity voting contests that the Pre Plus kept winning because we have a strong faithful community..

and before some troll jumps in and says we cheated by double voting that was kinda hard to do because they were watching ips. Not our fault the majority of Android OS users are still learning how to use there G1.. Lol.. And Apple users think they are too good to take part in meer peasent games as they just sit and watch in their castle thinking their crap don't stink..

ok gonna stop now before I rant like I've been known

numbers sometimes don't mean crap.. Right now Palm is David and apple,Google, and Rim formed the Voltron Goliath and sometimes the little guy will come outta nowhere and BAM before you know it their on top...

no facebook for me either... I'm one of those who just doesn't 'get' facebook, twitter, myspace, etc.

No Facebook for me but I found twitter very useful. Especially on my Pre using tweed!

I don't do facebook, but I have it downloaded. Just cuz I thought it was one of those must have apps that everyone gets.

There are also a lot of users in the 'not supported countries' but they have pre/pixi

Putting RIMmers in with Android and Iphoner's seems a bit of a stretch... Blackberry is often counted as "other OS", too. I think it would be an awesomely sweet alliance to experience WebOS and RIM interoperability. Maybe some much-needed business features for us and UI integration for them? "Point-to-point" merger, I think...

The complication here is not creating a patch that will add providers to universal search, that part is easy. Unfortunately you can't upload files with a patch so the images that need to be displayed as the universal cleaners | domestic cleaning | end of tenancy cleaning

Well, how many Preware users are there?

Well, how many Preware users are there?

Well, how many Preware users are there?

So every 10 days the same number of Android phones are sold as WebOS phones as a total. Hahahahahahahahahahaha

Agree with your 2 million number. When Palm was a standalone company, they would issue quarterly updates on sell-in (shipments to carriers) and sell-through (carrier sales to either distributors or end users). Off the top of my head, here are my estimates on the quarterly webOS sell-in and sell-through up until Palm stopped reporting. The first webOS device (Pre) started selling in the quarter ending August 2009.

Data presented as (Qtr end date; sell-in; sell-through) for webOS devices only

May 09; 50K; 0
Aug 09; 700K; 550K
Nov 09; 750K; 450K
Feb 10; 960K; 400K

Added together, Palm had shipped 2.46 million webOS products to carriers as of Feb 2010 and sold at most 1.4 million to end users. My guess for the quarter ending May 2010 is that Palm shipped another 300K units (mostly to AT&T for their launch), and sold through 600K. That would pin the current install base at right around 2 million (and total carrier inventory at around 700K). Maybe add another 150K to the installed base for June and July (sales really seem to have fallen off a cliff).

So your belief is that 85% of ALL webos device users use the Facebook application at least once per month?
There is no way that is the case. I would shit a brick if 85% of all owners even have the application let alone 85% use it on a monthly basis.

No, I don't believe that. Something is fishy about Facebook's active webOS numbers. They probably include every webOS user who has ever entered their login info into the photos app for uploading to Facebook, but even then, 85% is too high. On the other hand,look at the broader picture-- Facebook has 500 m active users-- that's 10% of all people and 25% of people who have ever heard of computers. And probably 2x the number of total smartphone users.

BTW, Pandora's publically available download count absolutely includes all updates and re-downloads following doctoring, etc. I'd guess total unique downloads at probably 500K. About 10% of iPhone users have downloaded Pandora, I believe, but obviously, the same ratio doesn't hold for webOS.

That's cool I wanna make android look like an antique when webOS gets really smart

Well, how many members does precentral have. That'll give you the number of Webos users :)
...At least all the cool ones 8)

You know, something always gets to me when I see numbers like this. Yes, percentage wise, we are a practically non-existent market. But 2 million + however many international (would it be safe to say at LEAST as many?) users still seems like it would be a market that could be profitable for developers. It seems like WebOS users are more supportive of their developers.

Basic math says that if a developer writes a good app and gets only 5% of users to buy at $2, they gross $100,000 US alone. Most GOOD apps seem to be priced ~$5 so that could be $250,000 gross US only. Double that to include international and it seems to me like that would be a decent ROI. Granted I'm not a developer so don't know what numbers really exist. I would think a really good app would have more than 5% penetration. Again, this looks like this relatively small market could be quite profitable.

the number of webOS users can only be known by palm. I'm from Belgium and they still do not sell the pre here but i've bought mine in germany and convinced 7 others to do the same! Now they have persuaded people since they bought one, and so on... So I think 2 mil is a feirly good guess...

now I'm just hoping they sell the plus here pretty soon so I can buy that one without having to go to Germany... :)

the number of webOS users can only be known by palm. I'm from Belgium and they still do not sell the pre here but i've bought mine in germany and convinced 7 others to do the same! Now they have persuaded people since they bought one, and so on... So I think 2 mil is a feirly good guess...

now I'm just hoping they sell the plus here pretty soon so I can buy that one without having to go to Germany... :)

Well...2 Mill. aren't too many if that is the global number...that is really small...but hey at least it's exclusive and it's the best.

Besides I still need that voice recording app...

if they wanna know how many Palm devices are being used, couldn't they just contact the wireless companies and have them check how many Palm's are activated on lines? ESN's are assigned to phones for identification by the system. Seems to me the wireless providers could provide this info.

I mean...we can send people to the moon for God's sake...

Wanna know how many WebOS users are out there? Simple... Just contact ASURION. With the shitty hardware, ASURION has dealt with a vast majority of all WebOS users.

but that's overestimating it. For people like me who went through 5 pre's in 5 months, you'd count me 5 times. It also would count people like me and ditched the device last November due to frustration with the shitty hardware and never looked back.

For those loyalists who honestly think WebOS is superior to Android in every way, why am I running stock android and have more functionality than any patched pre? Like bluetooth file transfer, issueless bluetooth sync to car, voice search, google maps that doesn't take 5 minutes to load, and gets a solid lock immediately.

Stock WebOS apps would have never been approved for android. Android's OS automatically force closes an app that takes more than 5 seconds to load. Considering most apps on WebOS take longer than that, including just about ALL of the stock apps, they would have never been approved. So, you get a market with better functioning, higher quality and quantity of apps. And since nothing seems to go right for HPalm, you all really are going to be left with an unsupported device very soon, especially when WebOS' use is going to be when its stuck into some HP Printer.

but that's only the pre 1 [-] if you're like me and have not had to replace either of my pres...

I hope that HP will end Palm's US centric sales strategy, and bring Palm products to whole world, and specially to the Eastern Europe where HP is a major player in enterprise IT solutions. I can't understand Palm's business decisions regarding sales - they have full stock of phones and they are not trying to sell it through other channels and other partners than few Euro carriers. Palm was acting like Apple, but it is not an Apple, and Pre is not an Iphone, so exclusivity is not an option for Palm. Until new sales strategy emerge from Palm's acquisition by HP, Nokia, HTC and RIM will supply millions of business phones to East Europe.