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App Usage Continues to Rise

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In the last few years, the potential for mobile productivity has increased dramatically. Sending emails, checking calendars, receiving important notifications, and surfing the web are no longer impressive mobile feats – they are commonplace. For most, the inability to conduct such tasks is more surprising than the ability to do so.

Consumer and enterprise technology companies are taking notice. Take – for example – IBM’s recent announcement of its intention to bring its cloud services and enterprise-specific solutions to applications for iOS devices. With so many professionals working from smartphones, increasing mobile productivity seems an obvious step for IBM.

Device convergence also evidences this trend toward mobility and interchangeability, as smartphones increasingly resemble tablets and tablets increasingly resemble smartphones. Apple’s recent preview of iOS 8, the latest rendition of its mobile software, demonstrates this trend, with its emphasis on improving cross-device connectivity and interchangeability.

Understanding this trend toward mobility and interchangeability is important, as it has important implications for bosses and businesses, for buyers and sellers, and for professional use and personal use.

A recent study conducted by Nielsen, an information and market research company, reported interested findings regarding individuals’ app usage. Retrieving data from approximately 5,000 subjects with Android or iOS devices, Nielsen found that time spent within applications has exploded over the last three years. Among Nielsen’s subjects, in-application time per person per month increased from 18 hours to more than 30 from 2011 to 2013 – a more than 50% increase in just two years!

Although a significant increase of in-application time was observed, Nielsen did not find that the number of applications per user increased in a significant way. Average apps used per person increased from 26.5 in 2012 to 26.8 in 2013, which suggested to Nielsen that users have a limit to the numbers of applications they use in a given period.

“This shows that while there may be an upper limit to the total number of apps users are willing to access within a given month, the amount of time they are spending on those apps is showing no signs of slowing down.”

If an upper limit does indeed exist for the number of applications that an individual will use per month, then developers should take heed, and efforts should be placed on creating some of those applications.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.