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8/18/2011
10:40 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Android Owners Love Mobile Apps More Than Web

The top 50 apps consume most of users' time; other apps and the mobile Web can't really compete, reports Nielsen.

Mobile apps are really, really popular with Android handset owners. But few apps outside of the top 50 garner much attention. In fact, most apps go unused, according to a new study published by Nielsen.

Nielsen analyzed the data from on-device meters installed on thousands of Apple iOS and Android smartphones. The owners had consented to sending in anonymous usage info. Nielsen's smartphone analytics team discovered some interesting behavior patterns. (The data pertaining to iOS devices has not yet been published by Nielsen.)

The average Android owner spends 56 minutes (or roughly 6% of their waking time) interacting with mobile applications and mobile websites every day. In that span of 56 minutes, about two-thirds of the time is spent on mobile applications, and one-third browsing the mobile Web.

Breaking the statistics down further reveals some shocking problems for makers of mobile apps. Nielsen says that the top 10 Android applications--just 10 apps--are responsible for 43% of all the time spent by Android consumers on mobile apps. The top 50 apps account for 61% of all time spent.

"With 250,000+ Android apps available at the time of this writing, that means the remaining 249,950+ apps have to compete for the remaining 39% of the pie," said Nielsen. That's troubling to say the least.

A quick look at the Android Market today shows that the top 10 free apps are (in no special order): YouTube, Google Maps, Amazon Kindle, Facebook, Pandora, Angry Birds, Dragon Fly, Words with Friends, Advanced Task Killer, and Angry Birds Rio. The top 10 paid apps are (in no special order): Cut the Rope, Beautiful Widgets, Fruit Ninja, PowerAMP Full, SwiftKey X, Robo Defense, ROM Manager, Doodle Jump, SoundHound, and ADW Launcher.

Nielsen didn't say which 10 apps it counts as the overall top 10, nor the top 50. Looking that the top 10 free and paid apps listed above, about 40% of them are games. The rest are a mix of utilities and other media/social networking apps. (What, you were expecting to see DocsToGo Premium?)

Whatever the particulars are concerning the apps themselves, the data clearly shows that applications are the preferred medium through which Android owners use their devices.

IT is caught in a squeeze between requests for new applications, services, and device support and demands from upper management to keep budgets lean, staffing light, and operations tight. These are irreconcilable objectives as long as we spend the vast majority of our resources on legacy services. Read our report now. (Free registration required.)

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