updated 10:45 am EDT, Mon June 20, 2011
Flurry finds apps now preferred to web on phones
Use of mobile apps has grown to where they're now overtaking the web as the preferred format on phones, Flurry said in a new study on Monday. Where the web was still the most used in a given day a year ago at 64 minutes per day versus 43, the situation has now reversed. As of this month, phone owners spend about 81 minutes in apps per day and an increased but still lower 74 minutes on the web, marking the first time the web wasn't the main avenue.
The data was based on about a half-billion transactions per day and included Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone, and the feature phone-oriented J2ME.
The reversal stemmed mostly from the rapid rise of Android and iOS apps, both of which soared in popularity over the past year. Many were switching their devices on more often rather than using them for longer stretches of time.
On the mobile web, Facebook was the most frequent platform of choice and accounted for about 14 minutes, even with the existence of a native app on virtually every major platform. The interest may help explain Facebook's decision to launch Project Spartan, which would put many Facebook games on the HTML5-based web and take attention back from apps.
Among apps themselves, games were still the dominant factors at 47 percent of all time spent, or about 38 minutes. Social networking like Facebook was important in itself at 32 percent (26 minutes), with news, general entertainment, and everything else making up the remaining 21 percent.
The data suggested an increasing tug of war between apps and the web where both sides are fighting for primary control. The web has usually been the open and most flexible platform where native apps are often much more heavily optimized for touch and don't need to be used exclusively online. Apple has been the strongest advocate of apps, both because it can profit from sales in iTunes as well as because it steers users away from plugins controlled by a single company, like Flash.