Nov. 14, 2011
by Mark Ollig
In 2007, Apple first introduced apps, or mobile device software applications, designed to be used on their new iPhone.
Our good friends over at the Pew Internet and American Life Project just released a new report regarding adult users of cell phones and mobile computing devices, and the types of apps they use.
Pew defines an app as, “an end-user software application designed for the mobile device operating system, which extends that device’s capabilities.”
The Pew report starts off by disclosing half of all adult cell phone (smartphone) users have apps on their phones.
These include apps which originally came bundled with the phone, and the apps downloaded from online platforms such as, Apple’s App Store, Mac App Store, and Amazon Appstore.
Just what kinds of apps are users downloading?
Pew’s July 25 - Aug. 26 polling data released the following survey results.
Of all adults polled, 74 percent like apps which provide them with news, weather, sports, and stock information.
Apps for communicating better with friends and family were downloaded by 67 percent of adults surveyed.
Apps that educated and assisted in learning were downloaded by 64 percent of all adults questioned.
Downloading an app containing information about a visited destination was reported by 53 percent.
Support for making online purchases and assistance with shopping, were the reasons 46 percent of surveyed adults downloaded these types of apps.
Apps for watching movies or TV shows on mobile devices were downloaded by 43 percent.
Apps which tracked or managed one’s health information were downloaded by 29 percent of the adults questioned.
It is one thing to have lots of apps available on our mobile devices, however, it is a bit surprising when discovering we hardly use many of them – some apps we rarely use at all.
Pew found 51 percent of adults saying they only use a “handful” of apps per week, while 17 percent report “using no apps on a regular basis,” on their cell phones.
As for yours truly, names of apps I use on a daily basis include: Weather, Mail, Calendar, Stocks, Fluent News, Facebook and Twitter.
Apps I use during the week are: YouTube, NASA News, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Kindle (e-book reader), iHeart Radio, my bank’s app, and a tech news reader app.
Other apps I use include: Dragon Dictation, Chess, Flick Bowling, C-Span Radio, US History, US Documents, Spanish (translator), Skype, Calculator, Speed Test, Battery Magic, and Maps.
My occasionally used apps are: Crime Reports, Police Scanner, Flight Track, iBartender, Dragon Dictate, and Ali Audio Jabs (this app contains 10 spoken phrases from boxer Muhammad Ali).
Currently, the top downloaded free iPhone app is, “Facebook Messenger,” followed by, “Hardest Game Ever.”
“Zombieville USA 2,” followed by the popular, “Angry Birds,” is the top downloaded paid iPhone app at this time.
Coincidentally, the top downloaded paid iPad app is also, “Zombieville USA 2.”
“Sprinkle: Water Splashing Fire Fighting Fun!” is presently the top free iPad app, followed by “Adobe Reader.”
The report revealed 52 percent of the adults polled paid $5 or less for an app, while 17 percent said they paid over $20 for an app.
There are quite a few apps available for free, and many priced at just 99 cents.
Pew’s August poll reports 60 percent of all adult cell phone users downloading apps to their phones belonged in the 18 - 29 age group.
This represents an increase of 8 percent since May of last year.
In the 30 - 49 age group, 46 percent reported downloading apps to their phones during Pew’s August survey, which is an increase of 15 percentage points since the May 2010 polling data.
As for the last age group, 50 and better, Pew states 15 percent responded saying they had downloaded apps to their cell phones when polled during the August 2011 survey.
This represents a 4 percent increase from the number polled in May 2010.
Pew’s latest results also showed a steady increase in the use of tablet computing devices by adults.
This data revealed 10 percent of US adults owning mobile computing tablet devices such as an Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab, or Motorola Zoom.
Among adult tablet computing device users, 39 percent use six or more apps per week.
Of these same tablet owners, 82 percent reported downloading apps to their cell phones as well.
There are approximately 500,000 apps available for the iPhone, and over 100,000 apps for the iPad.
And so my faithful readers, we continue the transitioning of ourselves away from stationary computer desktops plugged into a wall, and into a more mobile computing lifestyle.
With seemingly countless apps available to us, we are using more of them on our mobile computing devices for communicating, reading e-books, accomplishing our work, accessing information, and enjoying leisure-related computing activities.
As we come to an end of another Bits and Bytes column, let me play a random phrase from my Ali Audio Jabs app for you.
“This brash young boxer is something to see, and the heavyweight championship is his destiny.”
Have a great week!
About Mark Ollig:
Telecommunications and all things tech has been a well-traveled road for me. I enjoy learning what is new in technology and sharing it with others who enjoy reading my particular slant on it via this blog. I am also a freelance columnist for my hometown's print and digital newspaper.