Mobile users ditch browsers, use apps instead

Apps are faster for mobile-specific applications

Last week we saw a study that said more than 90 percent of consumers ages 18-27 preferred mobile devices to laptops or desktops. It turned out the results were kind of skewed, and didn't focus on the U.S. anyway. So despite a lot of coverage, that study didn't say anything important about the users you have to deal with every day.

This one may be different.

End users under the age of 35 prefer to use mobile applications, rather than a Web browser, to use specific functions on smartphones and other mobile devices, according to a study released today by Dallas-based consumer ( actually) market research and consulting firm Parks Associates.

That doesn't mean they prefer using smartphones to access Web content. Only that they would rather not use general-purpose browsers to access functions such as maps, social networks, Internet radio and games, when there is a purpose-built app available for the purpose.

That is still not the tipping point after which we'll have to assume everyone using a computing device would rather it be one they can use walking, rather than a more powerful laptop. It only means browsers are really slow on devices with limited computing power.

It does give a good indication of where you should be pointing your app dev budget, though. Rather than build everything with a generic browser interface, it might be a good idea to build a specific UI for each app that still uses standard Web standards and protocols, but doesn't rely on a browser to work.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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