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Apple’s Safari accounted for 53 percent of web browser usage on mobile devices and tablets in August, more than 30 percentage points ahead of the nearest competitor, Opera Mini, according to new statistics released overnight by the Net Applications research firm.

That was down slightly from the previous month. However, as reflected in the chart above, Safari overall has been on an upward trend since early 2010, reflecting the combined browser usage on the iPhone and the iPad.

Google’s Android browser has also been climbing overall during the past two years but at a slower rate, finishing August at 15.7 percent market share. Android rules the smartphone market but hasn’t gained as much traction in tablets.

Symbian is at 5.8 percent, BlackBerry is at 2.9 percent, and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is at 0.44 percent — reflecting the challenges faced by the Redmond company’s Windows Phone mobile operating system.

We’re getting a new glimpse into the mobile and tablet browser usage trends because of a change in the reporting structure used by Net Applications. The firm has separated the desktop and mobile/tablet browser markets in its monthly data. Previously the numbers were combined into one overall report.

In an explanatory note on its site, Net Applications says it made the change because of the rise in mobile and tablet usage, which is “now more than 6 percent of all browsing on the internet, and growing at an accelerating pace.

“For now, mobile and tablet are still in the same category,” the firm adds. “This is due to the current lack of competition in the tablet market.  However, in the future, we plan to also separate tablets into their own category.”

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