A survey of 235 U.S. smartphone users who installed applications on their devices in 2008 reveals that 16.5 percent spent between $100 and $499, according to ABI Research. The survey was conducted in November.

That level of spending is especially significant given the low cost of most mobile applications, ranging from as little as $1 to $2 at Apple’s iPhone App Store to at most about $25, ABI says.

Many developers, lacking the resources to author applications for all available smartphone platforms, have to focus on one, the firm points out. That means they have a “margin vs. volume” quandary: sell many copies for the iPhone at a very low price, of which the developer receives 70 percent, or sell fewer via one of the other application storefronts, but charge a higher price and earn more per transaction.

The survey results come after Pinch Media last week shared analytics showing that only about 20 percent of people who download a free iPhone application are still using it the next day. Paid applications see slightly more use soon after installation; games are used for longer periods of time than any other type of application, according to Pinch Media.

More Broadband Direct 02/23/09:
•  NCTC conference: CMC adds cable ops to EBIF beta tests
•  First DTV transition wave relatively smooth
•  Buckeye selects BigBand for SDV deployment
•  U.S. ranks 1st and 15th in broadband
•  Cable Center develops customer care courses
•  AT&T dedicates capex to global network
•  AT&T seeks more phone deregulation in Alabama
•  Credit Suisse upgrades Motorola to 'Neutral'
•  Broadcom integrates chumby's platform into DTV, STB SoC solutions
•  Americans watch yet more TV, Nielsen reports
•  Survey finds big spenders for apps
•  Broadband Briefs for 02/23/09