Nearly 50% of U.S. subscribers use mobile downloads and browsers

Essentially half of U.S. mobile subscribers are now downloading applications and using the browsers on their mobile phones, and their usage of these features is increasing at a fast pace.

In its most recent quarterly survey ending February 2012, comScore found that 49.5 percent of mobile subscribers used downloaded applications, up 4.6 percentage points from the previous quarter. Browsers were used by 49.2 percent, up 4.8 percentage points. The firm also noted that Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android continues to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone platform market. It crossed the 50 percentage threshold to capture a majority share for the first time.

ComScore's mobile content usage, three month average ending Feb. 2012 vs. three month average ending Nov. 2011.

ABI Research, in a separate study, projected that mobile users worldwide will download nearly 36 billion apps in 2012. Android and the Apple (NASDAQ:APPL) iOS will take 83 percent of that market and Windows Phone will get just 2 percent. The firm noted the Windows Phone has entered the market from scratch and expects its next-generation Windows Phone OS and Windows 8 tablets should give it a boost. Developers do like working with Windows Phone and even if the platform does not become mainstream, ABI believes it can still offer a vibrant app market for developers.

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