It's Official: Smartphones Dominate

Even though smartphones still make up less than a quarter of the total U.S. mobile market, as of August, they officially used more applications and browsed more mobile content than their-not-so-bright competitors. Plus, smartphones are becoming popular with the girls. So says the latest quarterly report from comScore, which tracked 75.6 million mobile subscribers.

Smartphones have always used a higher per capita share of mobile content. After all, applications and Web browsing are two of the main reasons people shell out big bucks for fancy phones. But this is the first quarter that smartphones gobbled up the largest percentage of mobile content out there, period.

In the the three-month period ending August, 2010, smartphone subscribers accounted for 60 percent of downloaded applications and 55 percent of browser usage. Most not-smartphones (can I call them dumb phones ... or would that hurt their feelings?) are equipped with browsers, too, and also have access to some applications. A year ago, they were the ones accounting for 55% to nearly-60% of the mobile apps and Web content consumed.

This makes sense, given how many more of them are in use. Dumb phones continue to outsell their high-powered counterparts. Worldwide mobile device sales to end users totaled 325.6 million units in the second quarter of 2010 and smartphones did not account for the biggest share, Gartner says.

Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 2Q10 . Source: Gartner

The other new tidbit from this quarterly survey is that girls are starting to get into smartphones. Whereas a year ago a solid 60% of smartphone users were guys, as of August, 2010, girls now owned slightly less than half, at 44%.

Ironically, smartphone owners are still pretty much using their phones to access the same stuff that can be downloaded by dumb phones -- albeit they access these sites with more panache. Weather, maps, social networking, news/sports and search were the top items consumed, no matter the IQ of the phone being used.