While smartphones can help make mobile professionals more productive, these devices are increasingly being used to play games, according to Handango's bi-annual "Yardstick" report.
The largest third-party application store said games represented 25% of all sold apps for the first half of the year, a 6% increase from last year. The category also grew 19% compared to the same period last year.
This trend was felt across multiple platforms, as Handango offers more than 140,000 mobile programs for Android, BlackBerry, Palm OS, Symbian, Linux, and Windows Mobile. The Google-backed Android in particular attracted mobile gamers, as its games category accounted for a higher percentage of sales than it did in any other smartphone catalog.
BlackBerry users have long been stereotyped as mobile professionals obsessed with productivity, but Handango said 36% of BlackBerry sales were games, and the second-biggest category was personal information management software. Research In Motion's platform also surpassed Windows Mobile as the most dominant platform on Handango, and it accounted for 44% of all apps sold.
Mobile apps have garnered a lot of attention thanks to the success of Apple's App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The App Store has already seen more than 1.5 billion downloads in a little more than a year, and it has attracted more than 65,000 developers. Companies like RIM, Google, Microsoft, and Nokia are also deploying centralized stores for users to browse, buy, download, and install apps over the air.
These app stores compete with Handango for users' attention and dollars, but the company has said the competition can be positive because it raises the awareness of apps and what smartphones are capable of doing. Handango does not generally release full download metrics, so it's unclear how the other app stores have impacted it.
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