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One thing I find most interesting about the current mobile industry is its potential. With all the devices, features, apps and access smartphones and tablets provide, the industry still has quite a ways to go, and we’ll find the mobile ecosystem heading in directions still unimaginable. But for the time being, marketplaces such as Android’s dominate the mobile scene, and taking a closer look at its trends can give us some inclination as to where the industry’s headed.
Android users’ daily bread
Android users spend an average of 56 minutes per day using their phones, with 67 percent of that mobile activity given to apps, according to a new Nielsen report. Mobile web use only reaches 33 percent, indicating Android devices and their users are better equipped for apps. What’s more, of that app activity, top apps are very much preferred. The top 10 Android apps account for nearly half of app use, based on time spent by users. And the top 50 apps account for 61 percent of all time spent. That leaves nearly all of the Android Market’s content (over 249,900 apps) struggling for attention, but more importantly, engagement.
Nielsen’s latest report brings up some interesting behavior observations for Android users, but a comparison to iOS users, including iPad users, would offer a better picture of the larger trends. As tablets infiltrate the iOS market and Android continues to build a following, mobile web browsing may see an uptick in adoption thanks to larger screen sizes. HTML5 is expected to be an important driver in balancing the worlds of mobile apps and mobile browsing, but it’s still only a part of the story.
Mobile app competition comes down to engagement, access
Finding ways to gain user attention amongst hundreds of thousands of apps across the Android Market and the iTunes App Store has left several developers looking for creative app features, alternative access and new marketing options. The incorporation of social networking features can be a big draw for engaging users within an app, though others look to HTML5 as a way to circumvent the battle of the apps all together. LinkedIn hedged its bets with an update across the board, adding more tablet support and a revamped mobile site optimized with HTML5. Amazon, Mozilla (Firefox) and Adobe Edge have also shown growing interest in HTML5 capabilities, especially when it comes to supporting tablet devices.