Android Smartphones Dominated by 10 Apps

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Nearly half of all US Android activity can be traced to only ten hugely popular apps, Nielsen Smartphone Analytics has found after analyzing devices equipped with metering software.

These top ten apps account for 43 percent of all activity, the company said, with the top 50 covering an astonishing 61 percent. This leaves the remaining 250,000 Android apps to battle it out for the remaining 39 percent of the pie.

The company has not named the most popular apps, presumably because it plans to reveal that information during a webinar next month but it it's not hard to guess which ones will figure prominently.

Google lists YouTube, Facebook, Skype, Google Maps, Twitter, Adobe Reader/Flash, and Barcode Scanner as being in the top ten on the Android Market, some of which ship as standard with all devices using the platform. As with a number of other generic applications they are also free, as are popular third-party viral apps such as Angry Birds.

This hints that the top ten reveals the basic functions that all users wants access to without paying -- social media, navigation, basic communication tools -- which leaves off the long tail of smaller apps that might be hugely valued by different segment of the audience. These might not register huge numbers of users.

The same market assessment for the PC or websites would doubtless come up with a similarly narrow list dominated by Microsoft software, Adobe plug-ins and Google domains. Volume on its own is not always very revealing.

Nielsen also noticed the not very surprising fact that two thirds of consumers use dedicated apps rather than websites to use the Internet while using a smartphone, spending an average of 56 minutes using their Android device. Apps, then, offer speed and efficiency, websites freedom to step outside the bounds created by one developer for one purpose.

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