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Few adults use cell phone apps

Only 35% of U.S. adults have cell phones with apps, and only two-thirds actually use them.

By Karen Datko Sep 16, 2010 12:16PM

This post comes from Mark Huffman at partner site


Yes, there's an app for that, but if you're like most cell phone users, you couldn't care less.


While there has been a proliferation of software applications, or "apps," for mobile phones that can access the Internet, adults using those phones apparently see little value in them, or haven't bothered to learn how to use them.


A report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that 35% of all U.S. adults have cell phones with apps. Many of those adults, particularly older people, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps, according to the report.


The report says:

Of the 82% of adults today who are cell phone users, 43% have software applications or "apps" on their phones. When taken as a portion of the entire U.S. adult population, that equates to 35% who have cell phones with apps. … Of those who have apps on their phones, only about two-thirds of this group (68%) actually use that software. Overall, that means that 24% of U.S. adults are active apps users.
Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps.


Apps culture

The study also said, "When compared with other cell phone-using adults, and the entire U.S. adult population, the apps user population skews male, and is much younger, more affluent, and more educated than other adults."

"An apps culture is clearly emerging among some cell phone users, particularly men and young adults," said Kristen Purcell, associate director for research at the Pew Internet Project. "Still, it is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users."


Apps include everything from games to GPS functions. Apple boasts more than 200,000 apps available for the iPhone. Developers seem to turn out hundreds more daily, both for consumers and businesses.


"This is a pretty remarkable tech-adoption story, if you consider that there was no apps culture until two years ago," said Roger Entner, co-author of the report and senior vice president and head of Research and Insights for Telecom Practice at Nielsen. "Every metric we capture shows a widening embrace of all kinds of apps by a widening population. It's too early to say what this will eventually amount to, but not too early to say that this is an important new part of the technology world of many Americans."


The report is based on a Pew telephone survey of 2,252 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted by Princeton Survey Research International between April 29 and May 30.


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