Social network and gaming apps are driving smartphone usage and revenue, according to JD Power’s US Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study.

On a thousand-point smartphone satisfaction scale, those using social networking apps recorded a score of 810, compared to an average of 755 for those that do not. For those using gaming apps, customer satisfaction was 61 points higher than for those that did not, at 813 points.

In terms of revenue, consumers using social media apps on their smartphones spent an average of US$12 more per month on their wireless services than those that do not. For gaming apps, the figure is US$13.

Two thirds of smartphone customers (67 percent) have downloaded social networking apps onto their device during 2012, spending more than 100 minutes per week using them. Gaming apps are even more popular with 69 percent having downloaded them.

However, those to have experienced malfunctions with their phones (almost 2 out of 10) reported an average satisfaction 90 points lower than those that haven’t had malfunctions (709 compared to 799).

"As the capabilities of wireless phones and their applications continue to expand, allowing customers to more often use their device, handset manufacturers have an opportunity to shape the customer experience and impact satisfaction with better application integration and social networking options," said JD Power and Associates senior director of mobile devices Uma Jha.

Apple is the highest ranked smartphone manufacturer for customer satisfaction, with an average score of 849, ahead of HTC with 790.