It’s no secret that Apple’s iTunes App Store has ignited a whole new market for mobile applications for smartphones—but just how active is that market, and is any of that enthusiasm translating to other smartphone platforms? Mobile metrics firm Admob has released its January 2010 mobile metrics report, including results from an opt-in survey of users of Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch devices, as well as users as Android and Palm webOS devices to get a sense of their app-using behaviors. The results? iPhone/iPod touch users and Android users download a similar number of applications every month, and spend about the same amount of time using those applications. However, only about 21 percent of Android users actually put down money for at least one application each month. In contrast, 24 percent of users of Palm’s webOS buy at least one app a month, and the numbers are even higher for iPod touch and iPhone users: 35 percent and 50 percent, respectively. And the biggest app consumers? iPod touch users: they downloaded an average of 12 apps a month, 37 percent more than either iPhone or Android users.
Of course, the number of applications users download may be related to the variety of applications in the online stores supporting each platform; Palm’s webOS, for instance, currently has fewer apps available than Android, which in turn lags behind the market-leading iTunes App Store. Palm’s webOS users were heavy app users, however, spending 87 minutes with their applications: that’s beaten only by iPod touch owners, who spent an average of 100 minutes a month with their apps. iPhone users and Android users spend 79 and 80 minutes with their apps a month, on average.
Admob got survey respondents—all 963 of them—through in-application advertisements served through its mobile ad network, so it’s entirely possible that the survey data is biased based on apps participating in Admob’s ad network and the types of users those apps attract. Data from BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile users are notably missing from the survey; Admob doesn’t’ serve in-app ads for BlackBerry.