spend more time with native mobile applications than they do on the mobile Web. The average Android user spends 56 minutes per day actively interacting with the Web and apps on their devices. Of that, nearly 67% is done through native applications.According to new research from analytics firm Nielsen, most Android users
The most popular offerings take up the lion's share of time spent. We are not just talking the top 1,000 apps of the more than 250,000 Android apps available. The top 50 apps end up taking 61% of users' time, according to Nielsen. That means that most users are spending most of their time playing Angry Birds and listening to Pandora (for example) than interacting with niche services. The stakes in for developers to create top-end apps that consumers will actually use has never been higher.
From a consumer perspective, think about your daily smartphone usage. How many apps have you downloaded? Probably a lot. How many of them do you actually use on a day-to-day basis? Only a few of them, right?
A Pew Internet survey released earlier this week says that a vast amount of consumers use their smartphones to kill boredom. So, the top games and services are most likely to be what gets the most usage. We do not need a scientific study or an analytics firm to tell us what these apps do. They are weather from The Weather Channel, games from Rovio and Zynga (Words With Friends and Angry Birds), Google Search, Twitter, music (Pandora, Rdio, MOG, Spotify) and video (Hulu and Netflix if you are one of the lucky Android owners who have that functionality). Storage services like Evernote have mass appeal as well.
Check out the top free apps in the Android Market to see what are the most popular. The top five are no surprise - YouTube, Google Maps, Kindle, Facebook for Android and Pandora. Angry Birds has three apps in the top 20 while Netflix comes in at No. 23 and The Weather Channel at No. 24.
Nielsen's usage patterns for Android show the short-term patterns of user behavior. For the time being, that should answer the question of "do I build apps or for the mobile Web?" Yet, as HTML5 matures and becomes easier for developers to work with, that will change. Firefox and Amazon's Kindle Cloud Reader are the precursors of what HTML5 can do for the mobile Web and soon smaller developers will follow in their footsteps. Perhaps this will be spurred along by Facebook's "Project Spartan" that gives developers incentive to develop for the mobile Web. There are already groups that are creating funds and working groups to push for more mobile Web apps and games, but we will have more on that in the coming weeks as the launch of Project Spartan grows near.