Smartphone Usage and the Sad Story of Mobile Video

Studies abound this week about how people are using their smartphones: which apps are they using most, which are they using longest (and which are they ignoring most quickly), what other tools are they using and not using.

First up, a study from Compete Smartphone Intelligence, which gives us some information about apps.  Not surprisingly iPhone users are much more likely than the users of any other type of phone to have spent money on apps (Apple makes it so easy, you barely notice that you’re spending it) – 72% of iPhone owners have downloaded 10 or more applications, whereas 73% of Blackberry owners have downloaded 5 or less.  Also not surprisingly, Facebook is a favored site for all smartphone users, but iPhone users are twice as likely to use it with a mobile app as Palm owners are. “In fact,” says MediaPost, “ iPhone owners are the most active mobile social networkers, with the highest percentage of respondents reporting mobile use of Facebook, MySpace and Twitter and from their mobile devices.” And speaking of Twitter, even though its 140 character limit came about because of mobile usage (the length of a texting box), most people who use it prefer to use it on a computer – 85% of smartphone owners prefer it that way.   Of those who access it on their mobile devices, 26% of  iPhone users, 15% of Palm owners and 10% of Blackberry users do so.

And then there’s the big story about mobile video.  Which turns out, according to one study, to be not so big as all that.  Though Nielsen’s Three Screen Report stated, in the beginning of September, that mobile video usage was up 70%  over last year (we reported this last week), this week Nielsen said that there were about 15.3 million active mobile video viewers in the 2nd quarter.  But that only represents 7% of mobile phone users.  And most people, lest we get carried away by hype, still have phones that aren’t capable of video. In addition, consumer satisfaction with mobile video is down over last year (65% this year from 74% last year).  And Nielsen feels that since most of current mobile video users are new to the service (for 78% of them, this is the first year of usage), they are testing the waters, and will then junk the idea. There are some plusses, though. Subscription prices are down, “All You Can Eat” data packages are making the ability to get access easier, and there is that 70% growth, which is nothing to sneeze at.



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