There are apps for learning Russian, touching up photos, playing Angry Birds, finding pizza, and myriad other activities.
But so far, only about half of U.S. adults with cellphones have apps on their phones, and only about one in four cellphone owners age 18 or older has ever paid for an app, whose prices typically start at about $1, according to a survey out Wednesday from the Pew Research Center's ongoing Internet & American Life Project.
What's more, the survey found only two-thirds of people with apps on their phones ever use them.
"While they are a significant departure from search engines and Web browsers, the basic needs apps meet are not revolutionary," said Purcell, author of the report.
She found that the most commonly downloaded apps are those for news, weather, sports, or stocks. That category is followed by apps that help people communicate with friends and family, including via Facebook and Twitter.
"While mobile apps are a fairly new approach to accessing online content, the main functions they fill for users are the same we've seen with previous technologies - namely, information-gathering and communication," Purcell said.
"The takeaway," she said, "is there are a lot of apps out there; only a handful have sticking power."Read More