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Smartphone Adoption Continues to Drive Mobile's Future, comScore Reports

29 Feb, 2012 By: Jackie Jones

RESTON, Va. – Zack Morris would be over the moon.

In no surprise to anyone who’s used a cell phone even once in the past 10 years, smartphone adoption among consumers will continue to drive mobile innovation and mobile media consumption, according to the “2012 Mobile Future in Focus” report by comScore Inc.

“2011 proved to be a groundbreaking year for the mobile industry, with smartphones hitting the mainstream, tablets emerging as a formidable fourth screen and consumers increasingly integrating mobile behaviors into their lifestyles. As the industry continues to innovate and more consumers look to multiple devices and platforms to consume digital media, we expect the mobile and connected device landscape to be shaken up even further in 2012,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “As mobile channels present a more personal, social and ubiquitous experience to consumers, advertisers and publishers have an opportunity to better engage target audiences, given an understanding of how to connect and leverage the unique characteristics of these emerging platforms.”

Key insights of the “2012 Mobile Future in Focus” report included:
• Nearly 42 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now use smartphones, along with 44 percent of mobile users across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K. Mobile media use saw increased growth as a result, surpassing the 50-percent mark in many markets.
• The Google Android and Apple iOS smartphone platforms emerged as the leaders of the U.S. smartphone market in 2011, with Android just a few points shy of capturing half of the smartphone market and iOS accounting for nearly 30 percent of the market.
• In 2011, both U.S. and Europe saw the growth in mobile app use exceed the growth in mobile browser use, leading to both markets seeing the same percentage of their mobile audience use both apps and browsers to access mobile media.
• More than half of the U.S. smartphone population used their phones to perform retail research while inside a store in 2011. At the end of 2011, one in five smartphone users scanned product barcodes and nearly one in eight compared prices on their phone while in a store.

In a related story, companies with app marketplaces including Google, Apple and Research in Motion have promised California Attorney General Kamala Harris that they will require developers to post privacy policies if their apps collect personal data from users, according to a Media Post report. The move comes on the heels of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) staff report warning mobile application stores and developers that they might not be adequately providing the information parents need to determine what data are being collected from their children, how it’s shared and whom has access to it (Response This Week, Feb. 22, 2012).

“At the FTC, one of our highest priorities is protecting children’s privacy, and parents deserve the tools to help them do that,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “Companies that operate in the mobile marketplace provide great benefits, but they must step up to the plate and provide easily accessible, basic information, so that parents can make informed decisions about the apps their kids use. Right now, it is almost impossible to figure out which apps collect data and what they do with it. The kids app ecosystem needs to wake up, and we want to work collaboratively with the industry to help ensure parents have the information they need.”

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