App usage soars as smartphones take hold

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(iStock)
(iStock)

San Francisco - Global app usage soared in 2015 as a growing base of smartphone users found new ways to use their devices, a study showed Tuesday.

The survey by Yahoo-owned analytics firm Flurry found app usage on mobile devices jumped 58% last year, cooling slightly from 76% growth in 2014.

A big factor was growth in "personalisation" which allow people to customize their devices or correspondence including lock-screens and emoji keyboards, including reality star Kim Kardashian's "Kimoji." These apps saw 344% growth last year.

News and magazine apps grew 141% meanwhile, signaling a shift in media consumption from television and PCs to smartphones and other mobile devices.

Productivity apps such as Google Docs and Slack were up 119%, Flurry found, while lifestyle and shopping apps grew 80% - another sign of e-commerce turning mobile.

Flurry vice president Simon Khalaf said one of the reasons for the growth was increased used of big-screen smartphones or "phablets," which offer a better view for video and other uses.

"Time spent on phablets grew 334% year-over-year (2.9 times more than the average), compared to 117% for all form factors," he said in a blog.

"With time spent on mobile surpassing that on television, and phablets posting astonishing growth in media consumption, it appears that the cable industry will find in the phablet and its apps its long awaited digital nemesis."

A separate report this week by the App Association found 3.97 million apps available at the end of 2015, generating revenues of $120bn.

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