Survey Shows Mobile App Gap

Siemens global user survey shows U.S. users far behind in the use of advanced mobile applications.

Wireless users in the United States are adopting advanced applications, but the level of adoption is far behind the rest of the world, according to a survey of wireless usage habits conducted by Siemens, AG.

The survey, which was released June 5, found that users outside the United States were furthest ahead in their use of mobile entertainment, followed by advanced productivity applications.

Surveyors from Siemens conducted 5,250 interviews in eight countries. Of those interviews, 1,000 were in the United States, according to the company.

Most of the surveys were Web-based, with about one thousand telephone surveys in selected metropolitan areas, mostly in Russia.

According to the survey, the rest of the world leads the United States in mobile entertainment applications by two to one.

About 11 percent of U.S. users use their wireless devices for gaming, listening to music, watching videos and other entertainment related activities. Approximately 21 percent of non-U.S. users use wireless entertainment.

The gap isnt as large for mobile productivity applications, however. There, U.S. users of applications such as mobile e-mail, collaboration or file sharing also made up about 11 percent of users, but for non-U.S. wireless users it was 15 percent.

Siemens spokesman Barry Lawrence explained that the United States was the first place where wireless communications became important, and as a result, U.S. users and providers have a lot of old infrastructure that cant support advanced applications.

"Everyone else started in a better place," he said.

Lawrence also said that part of the slow rate of adoption has a lot to do with the huge wireline investment by phone companies, and because of government involvement, which has been slowing the growth of wireless companies, he said.

And, of course, size matters. "Its a large country," Lawrence said, "so its much more difficult to do mobile technology here."

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Still, just because its a challenge doesnt mean people dont want the advanced applications. When you look at plans to adopt advanced entertainment applications, for example, 52 percent of U.S. users say they plan to purchase them, compared with 62 percent for non-U.S. users.

Plans to use advanced applications for productivity were similar, with 52 percent of users in the United States versus 64 percent in the rest of the world.

According to Lawrence, the single most important productivity application is mobile e-mail, with gaming being the top draw for mobile entertainment.

The Siemens survey also revealed a few other tidbits.

For example, U.S. users are generally satisfied with their wireless companies. Verizon Communications gets the top spot in satisfaction with 96 percent of users reporting that they are "Absolutely satisfied," or "Mostly satisfied." Sprint Nextel got the worst scores, with only 86 percent showing that level of satisfaction.

Lawrence said that users were willing to pay about 10 percent more than they are now to get the advanced applications.

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Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash

Wayne Rash is a freelance writer and editor with a 35 year history covering technology. He’s a frequent speaker on business, technology issues and enterprise computing. He covers Washington and...