Social networking heats up on browsing phones

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People with Web-browsing phones are spending a lot more of their minutes accessing social networks these days, according to a new study from ComScore.

The study, released Wednesday, pegs social networking as the fastest growing activity among people with smartphones and other advanced phones that offer Web browsing, which are also known as feature phones.

Among the 69.6 million phone users who tapped mobile apps over the three-month period ending in April, 14.5 million of them accessed social networks–a 240 percent jump from the same period in 2009.

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Among the nearly 73 million who used mobile browsers, 30 million jumped onto social networks through the browser–a 90 percent rise from the previous year.

“Social networking is by far the fastest-growing mobile activity right now,” Mark Donovan, ComScore senior vice president of mobile, said in a statement. “With 20 percent of mobile users now accessing social networking sites via their phone, we expect to see both application and browser usage continuing to drive future consumption of social media.”

But these phone users do more just than just hang out on Facebook or Twitter. Accessing bank accounts is also a popular activity. During the three months tracked by ComScore, almost 5 million people banked online through a dedicated app and 13.2 million via mobile browser.

Mobile app users like their news and sports, too. In the same period, 9.3 million of them used dedicated news apps and 26 million accessed news via browser. And about 7.7 million played with sports information apps and 21.5 million tracked sports via browser.

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