Adults catching the smartphone and mobile app craze

In the US, smartphone and mobile application use amongst adults is skyrocketing, but some older users are getting left in the dark. 

A report on "The State of Mobile Apps" released on September 13 by trend forecaster Nielsen showed that one in four adults own a smartphone and more than 59 percent of smartphone owners report having downloaded an app during the last month.

Forty percent of smartphone owners and 57 percent of feature phone owners who had downloaded an app in the last 30 days discovered the application while browsing an application store on their device.

Handset owners said they turned to a family member or friend as their next preferred method of application discovery.

A second study on "The Rise of Apps Culture" released by market researcher Pew Internet on September 14 evidenced that around 35 percent of all US adults have applications on their phones.

"This is a pretty remarkable tech-adoption story, if you consider that there was no apps culture until two years ago," said Roger Entner, co-author of the Pew Internet report and senior vice president and head of research and insights for Telecom Practice at Nielsen.

Despite the large number of adults with applications on their portable phones, many older adults either do not use the installed apps or are unaware of their phone's full potential.

Eleven percent of respondents in the Pew Internet study said they were not even sure if their handset was equipped with apps.  

"[I]t is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users," said Kristen Purcell, associate director for Research at the Pew Internet Project.