When technology pundits say mobile is exploding, many people just shrug and say “of course.” Many people might not fully comprehend just how big mobile is growing and the enormous ecosystem that it now encompasses. Mobile computing through smartphones and tablets is growing four times faster than the PC and Internet evolutions of the 1980’s and 90’s. People are now using mobile apps more than the Web and the gap continues to widen.

In research done by mobile analytics company Flurry, users are spending 94 minutes a day with their mobile apps versus 72 minutes on the Web. Author Charles Newark-French attributes the drop to people using mobile apps to access Facebook more often than the Web. Can Facebook really have that type of affect on user behavior?

Facebook has a profound effect on Web usage. It has 800 million users with nearly 500 million active on a regular basis. The social network has the most downloaded app of all time with Facebook for iOS and Android. Facebook is the top among 14 – 44 year olds and, according to Flurry, its newest Messenger app was the most downloaded app in 100 different App Store countries at one point in 2011.

Flurry tracks anonymous sessions across 140,000 applications in its publishers network. That is roughly 14% of the entire app ecosystem. That gives us a large enough sample size to trust trends that Flurry reports.

Games are the top applications used by mobile consumers with 49% of time spent. Social networking is 30% with entertainment and news making up 7% and 6% respectively. This bodes well for companies like Facebook and social games maker Zynga. Neward-French notes that the session lengths of social and gaming apps are longer than that of other apps. People are using the apps more frequently for longer periods of time.

Expect the trend to continue. More people are connecting their lives to mobile devices and will expect that everything they can do on the Web will be on their smart devices. Think about your particular usage. When you are sitting on your couch at home or out and about on the town, are you pulling out your laptop and using a browser to check your Facebook or log into Pandora? Probably not when there is an easy alternative in your pocket that makes these functions accessible with the tap of the screen.

Have you noted your usage change since acquiring a smartphone or tablet? What is your go-to device for accessing information? Let us know in the comments.

dan rowinski