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More Smartphones, Apps in Use in the U.S.

One in two mobile subscribers now has a smartphone, according to a Nielsen study, and the average number of apps on each device is 41.

One in two U.S. mobile subscribers now has a smartphone, fueling the American appetite for apps, according to a Nielsen study. In the past year, the average number of apps on a smartphone has increased from 32 to 41, a 28 percent jump, according to the research.

Despite some publishers abandoning native apps in favor of Web apps, Nielsen found that people are actually spending more time in apps than on the mobile Web. Last year, 73 percent of the time was spent on apps, compared with 83 percent this year. Nielsen did note earlier this year, that when it comes to shopping, people prefer websites instead of apps.

There was a slight increase in the amount of time spent on apps each day, from 37 minutes per day in 2001 to 39 minutes today. The top five apps continue to be Facebook, YouTube, Google Play (previously Android Market), Google Search, and Gmail. However, people are also experimenting with new apps. A year ago, users spent 74 percent of their app time accessing the top 50 apps, compared with 58 percent this year.

Increasing Smartphone Use, Privacy Concerns Remain

With smartphone penetration at more than 50 percent, up from 38 percent last year, Nielsen estimates the number of Android and iOS users has grown from 38 million in 2011 to 84 million today. The owners' gender split is approximately equal. According to earlier Nielsen estimates, Android has 48.5 percent of the market, iOS has 32 percent, and BlackBerry and Windows Mobile are fighting for the bottom of the league.

It also appears iPhone users are more proficient at downloading apps; 88 percent of them have done so, while only 74 percent of Android users download apps on their phones.

With app use on the rise, concerns over privacy have also gone up. Nielsen says the vast majority (73 percent, a 3 percent year-on-year increase) is expressing concerns over personal data collection, while 55 percent are wary of sharing information about their location via smartphone apps.

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