People are actually buying mobile apps? According to the latest monthly data from mobile ad network AdMob, half of iPhone owners are purchasing at least one premium application per month, and 21% of Android phone owners. (The Android Market, of course, offers only about one-fifth as many titles as the App Store.)
If newspapers and other online publishers are counting on only about 10% of readers at best to buy digital content if they adopt paid models, then the sales levels Apple and Google have achieved with paid apps look pretty good. AdMob didn't provide data on what types of apps iPhone users are buying, but a glance at the top 10 paid and top 10 grossing apps is overwhelmingly games, with a few utility ones thrown in.
When it comes to app downloads overall, the iPod outpaces both the iPhone and Android devices, with nine per month compared to 12 each for the two phones. People using Palm devices download only six per month. iPod users also spent the most time using apps, with an average of 100 minutes a day compared to about 80 on the iPhone and Android.
The heavy app usage on the iPod underscores the importance of that device not just for developers to sell apps but to generate advertising from free apps as well. It also bodes well for app use on the iPad, which will offer a much bigger screen and multitouch capability for things like playing video games.
AdMob found the mobile Internet device category as a whole is growing fast. About 17% of the mobile ad network's ad requests in January came from non-phone devices compared to 12% last July. So what's the appetite for the iPad out there?
iPhone users, not surprisingly, had the most interest in getting an iPad, at 16%, compared to 11% of webOS users and only 6% of Android users. About the same percentage of Android users were interested in buying the Kindle as in purchasing the iPad, according to an AdMob survey.