Apps make gains on browser, but usage remains essentially even

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Although apps made impressive gains in the latest comScore mobile data report, they remain in a virtual deadheat between folks who use apps versus those who use a browser.

In fact, comScore reported that for the period of Sept. 11, 2011 through Dec. 11, 2011, 47.6 percent of mobile users downloaded an app, which was up 5.1 percent from the previous report. Meanwhile, 47.5 percent used the browser, up 4.6 percent from the previous reporting period. That's a statistical dead-heat for all intents and purposes.

Interestingly, I wrote a post last year about the apps versus browser argument saying it was a non-starter because it really didn't matter. You would think though that most people who buy smart phones would use a lot of apps, but it turns out that the data suggests otherwise (and so did the comments).

I actually find on a personal level the two are hardly mutually exclusive. I find myself using both depending on the task. Sometimes, as with my Flixter movie app, it's easier to open the app and see all the movies playing in my area in one place, rather than looking up each theater and dealing with a variety of mobile web experiences.

Yet other times, I use my browser, certainly for searching, which I still do plenty of on my phone, and sometimes as with Flipboard, I start with an app, move to my browser to read an article, then move back to Flipboard--and it's designed to make these transitions easy.

But regardless of how you might feel about the browser or apps (and there appear to be strong feelings on both sides), apps provide a convenient container for delivering certain types of content, and if these numbers are any indication, it's a method which seems to be gaining ground--even though the numbers remain very close.

For more information:
- see the comScore press release

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