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Report asks: What apps do you use?

Mar 02,2010

In just three months after the Apple iPhone went on sale here in December, some 300,000 units have been sold. Part and parcel with the device’s dominance in hardware is its strength in mobile applications, reflected in the iPhone App Store.

Since knowing users’ app preferences makes the difference between a major hit and just another junk download, Digieco, a management research institute affiliated with KT, the Korean mobile carrier that supports the iPhone here, recently looked into which ones users download most. They found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that apps for public transit routes and maps were very popular, along with social networking and scheduling software.

The average Korean iPhone user has 86 apps on his or her handset and spends 5,800 won ($5) on apps purchases every month, according to Digieco.

“It seems there has been a shift in user behavior,” said Ko Yun-jeon, a researcher at the company. “Unlike before, users are opting for paid apps if they feel there is a need for it.”

More than half of iPhone users said they had switched from a free app to a paid app for enhanced capabilities at least once, the report noted.

But users still showed different preferences depending on their ages. While those in their teens and 20s preferred apps that offer social networking services to keep in touch with their friends, iPhone customers in their 30s and 40s preferred apps like datebooks and organizers, to help out in the workplace.

According to the report, teenaged users mainly downloaded apps such as Naver Webtoon, which lets users watch cartoons on their phones, while 20-something users opted for programs like Skype, a voice-over-IP telephony program.

Users in their 30s favored apps such as spDial and Kontacts to manage their business relationships, while those in their 40s opted for services like South Korean Holiday Calendar and Awesome Note to plan their upcoming activities.

“Korean users had different preferences depending on their ages. If industry players take into account these trends, the market can grow further,” the report read.

Of some 189,000 applications available for download, only 1,900 have actually been downloaded from the App Store, the report showed, reflecting how hard it is to succeed in mobile software despite recent concerted efforts by the Korean government, companies and academia to capitalize on this new, booming market.


By Park Hye-min [hkim@joongang.co.kr]



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