GSMA and Zokem report that Android drives the use of add-on applications – almost one third of Android smartphone usage is already coming from pre-bundled or user-installed add-on apps.
Vendors and carriers are increasingly bundling new applications to smartphones that ship to consumers. Furthermore, app stores make it possible for consumers to download any specific application they might need. A study published by the mobile analytics company Zokem reveals that Android is strong when it comes to adoption and use of add-on applications, whereas older platforms Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Blackberry, are not into a good start in the adoption of new smartphone applications. Android users spend on average 42 minutes every day with add-on applications, like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Skype, more than 60% more than Blackberry, Windows Mobile or Symbian users.
“This finding is not completely surprising – we have known that the wide variety of add-on apps bundled into Android phones together with the success of Android in the developer community will contribute to Android’s advantage. However, the differences to competing platforms were larger than what we expected”, admits Dr. Hannu Verkasalo from Zokem.
In Figure 1, Zokem has compared the relative face time with the platform, or core operating system applications, to face time with add-on applications. Core operating system applications include voice calls, platform messaging applications (SMS, MMS, email, instant messaging), calendar, phonebook, call logs, web browser, calculator, notes, etc. Add-on applications are something that are not an integral part of the operating system (but might ship with the device if the carrier or vendor decides so), including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MSN, Internet radio, eBay, Fring, Skype, AgileMessenger, Spotify, etc. The figure shows that the relative time with add-on apps is very low among Symbian and Blackberry users, only about 10-15% of total usage. Among Android users, this is high at 31%, and also with Windows Mobile it is at a remarkable 26%. “I think this finding about Windows Mobile reflects the fact that Windows Mobile devices have always been very much up for customization – vendors like HTC and Samsung, and carriers like Vodafone and T-Mobile, have included all kinds of add-on apps from Facebook to VoIP and instant messaging applications into Windows Mobile devices, and this shows in the statistics”, says Verkasalo.
Too bad, as found earlier by Zokem the absolute face time with Windows Mobile is very low. When studying absolute face times with add-on applications, it becomes evident that actually Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile stand pretty much even – add-on application usage is approximately 15 minutes per day. This is significantly less than with Android – which tops the list with 42 minutes per day. Not only do Android users spend relatively more time on add-on apps, but they also spend more time with the device in general. Therefore the absolute time they spend with add-on apps is also significant.
What do you think is the main reason for this finding? Is it the fact that Android is an open platform, and vendors and carriers find it easier to bundle in anything they want, making devices more attractive by putting in Facebook, Youtube etc.? Or is the reason more in the developer community and the number of applications available in the Android Market Place? Could it be the good user experience people have with Android devices? Better touch screens, usability, and large screens, all contributing to the fact that it is more enjoyable to “kill time” with the device and explore new applications?
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The Zokem Mobile Insights statistics are based on patented non-parametric measurements that take place directly in smartphones. In the study, Zokem analyzed a dataset of more than 10 000 smartphone users, including 6.5 million distinct smartphone application usage sessions in 16 countries during 2009 and 2010.
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