And the killer smartphone app is ... games!

If workers at your company insist they need you to buy them the latest iPhone and Android device to perform data-intensive business applications, you may want to treat the request skeptically.

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According to the latest data released by Nielsen, 64% of mobile phone owners have used their device to play games in the past month, while only 21% have used them for work-related productivity applications. Other popular application types included weather apps (60%), social networking (56%) and maps (44%).

From a platform perspective, iPhone, Android and Windows Phone were the three drivers of mobile gaming as more than two-thirds of users for each operating system played a game on their device in the past month. Research in Motion's BlackBerry devices didn't provide anywhere near the same level of fun, apparently, as only 24% of BlackBerry users played a game on their device.

IPhone users by far spent the most time playing mobile games, as Nielsen reported that Apple fans spent an average of 14.7 hours per month using gaming apps. Android users spent the second-most hours playing games on their devices (an average of 9.3 hours last month) while Windows Phone users (4.7 hours) and BlackBerry users (4.5 hours) trailed further behind.

Mobile applications have become an increasingly popular feature of smartphones over the past couple of years, especially with the high-profile launches of application shopping centers such as Apple's App Store and Google's Android Market. Survey data released earlier late last year from research firm ChangeWave showed that 14% of smartphone users said that applications were what they liked best about new smartphones, followed by ease of use (12%) and Internet access (12%). Corporate e-mail access, which has long been RIM's bread-and-butter application, was considered the most important feature by 10% of users, the survey showed.

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This story, "And the killer smartphone app is ... games!" was originally published by NetworkWorld.

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