Google has released some stats around mobile internet and smartphone usage today that it commissioned from research firm Ipsos MediaCT, painting a largely predictable picture (with a couple surprises) about where the wireless world is headed. Tabulated once in early 2011 and again toward the end of the year, the data was culled from surveys polling citizens of five countries leading the wireless charge — the US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan — which found that the UK leads overall smartphone use at 45 percent followed by France and the US at 38 percent each. That figure is at odds with Nielsen's Q3 2011 figures which quoted 44 percent overall American smartphone penetration, but these surveys are never precise sciences, of course — Google's study polled 2,000 residents of each country "representative of the population."
In all five countries, feature phones appear to be losing their remaining ground rapidly to their smartphone counterparts: in the UK, for instance, Google's study suggests that smartphone penetration rose from 30 to 45 percent last year alone, while feature phone usage declined from 57 to 43 percent. Japan, meanwhile — well-known for its enormously high-spec domestic feature phone hardware — is just now making the smartphone leap with a jump from 6 to 17 percent. The most interesting data point might be PC usage: it's holding firm across the board, seemingly muting the belief that smartphones and tablets are already supplanting them. Browse all the findings in the gallery below.