TEN ANDROID APPS account for nearly half of all usage, while most Android users spend close to an hour on apps and the web each day, according to a report by market research firm Nielsen.
The top ten apps took up 43 per cent of people's time, and the top 50 attracted a total of 61 per cent, showing that the majority of users tend to do the same things and use the same apps, despite there being over 250,000 apps available on the Android Market.
Nielsen did not release the list of top apps, promising to reveal them at a webinar on 15 September, but a few are likely to be fairly obvious - Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Gmail, for example.
The stark reality for app developers is that the big names will always get the most attention from users. Apps for addictive services like Facebook, where people can and often do spend hours every day, will always top the list, while other apps with less playability fall to the bottom.
This does not mean that there's no profit to be made, however, as people are often willing to buy an app to use for a few minutes every so often, only to not use it again for months, if ever. Sales of these will keep app developers afloat while Facebook and Google roll in the advertising money they get from their more successful apps.
Nielsen also found that the average Android user spends 56 minutes a day using apps or browsing the web. Of that time the vast majority, 67 per cent, is spent on apps, with 33 per cent spent on web browsing.
There are likely to be a few extreme users on either end of the spectrum too, some who use their smartphones nearly 24/7, while others probably forget to turn them on most of the time, let alone download apps or browse the web.
One of the important things gleaned from this research is that people prefer to use apps rather than mobile web sites, at a ratio of over two to one. Apps do have the advantage that they can use the limited display space available on smartphone screens better than web pages, avoiding the need to scroll to view information.
This could have a strong impact on decisions taken by a number of companies, including Google and Amazon, to withdraw in-app sales from their ebook apps, forcing users to go to the web instead because Apple extracts a 30 per cent share of the profits. With people preferring to use apps for everything, this could affect sales for these companies. µ