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Tuesday, March 18, 2008, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

iPhone's Safari already the No. 1 US mobile browser, says firm

The mobile version of Safari packaged as standard on each iPhone has already scaled the charts to emerge as the No. 2 mobile web browser in the UK and the No. 1 mobile web browser in the US, according to a new report.

Ireland-based StatCounter, which claims to track in excess of nine billion pageloads each month over its network of two million websites, says the Apple handset took 0.06 percent of the overall browser market in the UK thus far in March, behind Nokia's 0.15 percent.

Still, that's reported to be more than three times the mobile browser market share of rival Research in Motion, whose Blackberry garnered just a 0.02 percent share in the UK, and SonyEricsson which registered a 0.01 percent share.

Combined, the iPhone and iPod touch accounted for just shy of 0.10 percent of of the UK browser market, the firm noted.

Meanwhile, the two touch-screen handhelds helped Apple increase its share of the US mobile browser market by 64 percent since December, with the mobile version of Safari seeing its share rise from 0.14 percent to 0.23 percent during that time.

“The key message is that iPhone is more than living up to its claims of being a user friendly Internet browser, unlike many other cell phones,” said StatCounter founder Aodhan Cullen, who added that iPhone-based web browsing peaked in the US on Christmas Day at 0.7 percent (Note: may be inaccurate, was reported as "0.07 percent").

“Presumably this was due to people trying out their new Christmas present combined perhaps with not accessing their PCs that day," he said.

Excluding the iPod touch, the iPhone's share of the US browser market came in at 0.18 percent, handily dwarfing Nokia's approximate 0.01 percent share. However, StatCounter noted that Nokia still maintains a significant lead over Apple in the global market with 0.25 percent compared to the iPhone maker's 0.08 percent share.