Almost one-fifth of cell phone users use smartphones, says a new study by analysts The Kelsey Group. 18.9 percent of mobile users in the US use smartphones, and 49.2 percent of mobile users plan on buying a smartphone within the next two years. Smartphone Internet use has almost doubled since last year. 17.6 percent downloaded or used maps, up from 10.8 in 2007. 15.6 percent used smartphones for local search, up from 9.8 in 2007. 14.3 searched or products or services outside their local area; 6.4 percent did so in 2007. 13.6 percent used smartphones go get information on movies and entertainment, up from 8.2 percent in 2007.

The largest growth was in smartphones and social networks. 9.6 percent of smartphone users used their phone to access a social network, up from 3.4 in 2007.

In an October study, Kelsey found that better Internet connectivity is driving factor for almost half (44.7 percent) of mobile customers considering a new phone purchase. Only 26 percent of current mobile users have an Internet plan.

Kelsey expects US mobile advertising to grow from 2007’s $33.2 to $1.4 billion in 2012.

By Mark Alvarez