24% of U.S. adults use apps on their cellphones, Pew says


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Nearly one quarter of U.S. adults are now using cellphone apps, according to a survey by the Pew Internet Project released Tuesday.

The popularity of apps has grown substantially since the advent of what Pew calls ‘apps culture,’ which can be traced back to the introduction of Apple’s first iPhone in 2007. The app boom started in earnest, however, when Apple opened its App Store in 2008, followed closely by Google’s Android Market.


‘As the mobile phone has morphed from a voice device to a multi-channel device to an Internet-accessing mini-computer,’ the report said, ‘a large market of mobile software applications, or ‘apps,’ has arisen.’

Still, the use of apps trails many other commonly used cellphone functions -- chiefly picture-taking and texting, which upward of 75% of users make use of frequently.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the survey found that younger users are more likely to download and use apps, with 20% of people under age 30 having downloaded an app in the last week.

As illustrated at right, games are still the most popular type of apps, followed by news, maps and social networking, according to Nielsen.

Apple’s App Store has 250,000 apps, and Google’s Android platform has 80,000. There are also app platforms for BlackBerry, Palm and Windows devices.

-- David Sarno