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Apps make gains while text messaging is king in phone use, comSCORE reports

by Howard Wolinsky

Downloaded apps grew more than any other category of uses of mobile phones in the quarter ending in October compared with that ending in July, comSCORE, the market research company, is reporting.

In its survey of 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers aged 13 and over, comSCORE finds that 43.8 percent used downloaded apps, up 3.2 points over July.

Apps ranked as the third highest use of the phones.

Text messaging was No. 1, with 71.8 percent of subscribers texting in the October quarter (up 1.8 percentage points), followed by browser use at 44 percent (up 2.9 points) and then app use. They were followed by use of social media site or blog at 32.3 percent (up 2.2 points), playing games at 29.2 percent (up 1.4 points) and listening to music at 21.2 percent (up 0.9 points).

iPhone ranks fourth in market share, but gaining

Meanwhile, comSCORE reports that iPhone’s market share increased more in the three months ending in October than did its rivals in comparison with the three months ending in July, But the Apple phone only ranked fourth in its share overall of mobile subscribers.

ReadWriteWeb says: “ComSCORE core tries to make it look like 10 percent of iPhone users is a huge market share when, really, it's not.

“What might actually be more significant than the amount of mobile subscribers achieved by Apple is that of the five brands listed in this report, Apple is the only one that has actually gained more subscribers over the past three months alone. And just to be clear, this data was collected before the launch of the iPhone4S.”

The proportion of iPhone users increased 1.3 percentage points in the three months ending in October while competitors’ market share stayed the same or declined compared with the earlier period.

iPhone had 10.8 percent of the mobile market. But Samsung with 25.5 percent of the market, LG with 20.6 percent and Motorola with 13.6 percent topped Apple.

Research in Motion had only had 6.6 percent.

All told, 90 million Americans used smartphones in the three months ending in October, up 10 percent over the preceding three months.

In the smartphone market, 46.3 percent of smartphones phones in the October quarter had Google’s operating system, up 4.4 percentage points over the preceding period. This compared with 28.1 percent with Apple’s OS (up 1 percentage point) and 17.2 percent with RIM’s OS (down 4.5 percentage points).