Christmas Day: tablet activations outpace smartphones

FlurryChristmas Day was huge — not just for present-hungry kids, but also for app developers and device makers. App analytics firm Flurry has tallied up the numbers from Christmas and found that downloads and activations shattered previous records, showing how people love their apps and are increasingly embracing tablets.

Device activations on Flurry’s network hit 17.4 million units, up 332 percent over the first 20 days in December, which represented a baseline of activity. That blew away last year’s mark of 6.8 million new device activations on a single day, said Flurry.

Tablets were apparently the hot gift item, grabbing 51 percent of mobile device activations. This was the first Christmas that tablets edged out smartphones for activations. During the first 20 days of December, smartphones were activated four times more often than tablets.

FlurryFlurry noted that the most popular devices were iPads (s aapl), Apple iPad Minis and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablets (s amzn), and that Amazon in particular had a good Christmas, increasing its tablet activations by several thousand percent over its baseline during the first half of December. The big increase in Christmas tablet sales may reflect the falling price points of tablets, which are becoming more affordable with smaller 7-inch models.

With all those new devices, it’s no surprise that app downloads soared on Christmas Day. Flurry said there were 328 million app downloads that day, up 112 percent over the baseline. That flew by last year’s record of 242 million app downloads. The download parade was steady all day long, hitting about 20 million downloads an hour at 11 a.m. local time and remaining steady all the way through 8 p.m.

Flurry, which said it detects 90 percent of iOS and Android (s goog) devices activated each day, expects app download activity to remain high through New Year with a shot at hitting 2 billion downloads over this week for the first time ever.