December sets new world record for smartphone and tablet activationWith activations averaging four million a day for most of December and spiking at 17.4 million on December 25, the latest figures show that mobile handheld devices were definitely one of the most popular presents during the 2012 holiday season.

The statistics, published Wednesday by mobile analytics company Flurry, show that on Christmas Day 2012 more iPhones, iPads, Galaxy tablets and Kindle Fires were activated worldwide than on any other day in history. What’s more, record activations also led to record app downloads with 328 million downloads on December 25 alone. The figures show that 17.4 million iOS and Android devices were activated on December 25, compared with 6.8 million on the same day in 2011.

However, the records don’t stop there. Flurry monitored activity throughout December 2012 and found that from December 1 to December 20 an average of 4 million devices, of which 20% were tablets and 80% were smartphones, were activated every day. However, on December 25 this changed to 51% versus 49% in favor of tablets. Over the holiday week, (from December 25-31) Flurry estimates that over 50 million iOS and Android devices were activated, and 1.76 billion applications were downloaded.

The figures do not include a detailed breakdown of which tablets were the most popular, but in a blog posting, Flurry’s Peter Farago said: “The big winners were Apple iPads, Apple iPad Minis and Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7″ tablets. In particular, Amazon had a very strong performance in the tablet category, growing by several thousand percent over its baseline of tablet activations over the earlier part of December.”

Separate tablet data provided by Chitika, based on tablet web traffic on its mobile ad network in North America in the days leading up to December 25, showed that while the iPad is still the market leader in terms of ad impressions, Amazon’s Kindle Fire’s share of the market had grown to 4.25%, putting it in second place, followed by Samsung’s Galaxy tablets in third place, with a 2.65% share of web traffic.

Google’s Nexus tablets were not far behind, seeing a 15% increase in web traffic from November to take a 1.06% share of the market. However, despite some notable gains, Apple still generated over 87% US and Canadian web traffic over the recorded period.