According to the study, commissioned by, the research arm of the GSMA, mobile apps are responsible for 667 minutes of use per user each month, almost as much as messaging (671 minutes), and far more than voice (531 minutes) and web browsing (422 minutes).
Almost 10% of all smartphone “face time” is through the use of social networking apps. In terms of actual usage, only two third-party apps have greater than 30% penetration: Facebook and YouTube.
The research also noted differences between the major smartphone platforms. iPhone and Android device owners use an average of 15 different apps per month, whereas the number is eight for BlackBerry and Symbian OS. iTunes and Android Market Place have a monthly reach of 95% of their user bases, whereas Blackberry App World reaches 50% of Blackberry users, and Nokia Ovi store only 26% of Symbian users.
During January 2011, the average user added 2.5 apps, and nearly half of all users had more at the end of the month than in the beginning. One-in-five users had less at the end of the period, however.
iPhones generated more than 200% more traffic per month on average than Android devices. Wi-Fi usage was about 11% of total traffic to/from devices.
Overall smartphone usage dropped at weekends but generically averaged more than 70 minutes per day with apps capturing more face time than any other activity at weekends.
The findings showed that SMS usage was higher in the mornings than voice and usage of social networking apps built up through the day and peaked at 9-10pm.