As anyone with BlackBerry thumb can testify, the smartphone addiction sweeping the nation has less to do with the phone aspect of our cellular devices and more to do with the smart part, meaning primarily the 5 billion apps downloaded just last year that consumed 667 minutes of the average smartphone user’s time per month.
Shoutem Mobilizer has put the present and the expected future of smartphone app craze into a figure-filled format with a recently published infographic. The statistics are not exactly shocking – except perhaps the prediction that 21 billion apps will be downloaded by 2013, which is equivalent to about four apps per second for every person on the globe.
It makes sense that since Apple’s (AAPL) App Store is top with 300,000 downloaded apps, followed by 130,000 in the Android market and just 18,000 in BlackBerry App World, average iPhone and Android users have downloaded 15 apps, whereas BlackBerry (RIMM) users average about eight apps.
Although variety is the spice of life in the mobile app world, Facebook and Twitter addicts remain dominant, with 60 million users in the U.S. who have downloaded social networking apps. This compares with 40 million for map apps, 16 million with general reference apps, and 17 million with online retailer apps.
Shoutem also provided a window into the future of the mobile app world, noting that in 2012, apps will turn smartphones into mobile payments systems, money transferers and mobile health monitors, among other features already popular on devices, such as browsing, searching and playing music. Relatively new areas such as mobile health monitoring emerged as popular topics at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February, with companies such as Qualcomm (QCOM) and IBM (IBM) touting their innovations.
As your smartphone also becomes your credit card, heart monitor, personal Western Union and MP3 player, it seems safe to guess that the amount of time spent on smartphones will skyrocket at a similar pace to the number of downloaded apps. Here’s hoping that at least one of those 21 billion apps will provide a cure – or at least a healthy distraction – from this writer’s ailing BlackBerry thumb.