The take-up of smartphone doubled in 2012, which means almost half of Australia’s adult population is an owner of one.

According to research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, there was a 104 per cent increase of smartphone ownership to 8.67 million over the 12 months to May 2012.

The Smartphones and tablets: Take-up and use in Australia report also found 9.2 million Australians went online via their mobile phone and 4.4 million accessed the internet using a tablet in the six months to May 2012.

As might be expected, smartphone users utilise their device for a range of activities more frequently than non-smartphone users, engaging more in both voice and data activities. A majority (90 per cent) of users used their smartphones to browse websites or search for information, while 84 per cent used it access news, sports and weather updates. Other smartphone activities included emailing, getting directions and accessing social networking sites.

“The extraordinary rate of adoption and greater usage of smart phones underlines the critical and increasing importance of mobile and 4G services,” Chris Chapman, ACMA chairman, said. “To support these wireless services, high speed mobile broadband, "fit for purpose" spectrum frameworks and availability, and efficient infrastructure are the new essential.”

This is driving broader innovations and emerging services, such as mobile payments — for example the report finds that 'digital wallet' products are an increasingly popular method to pay for goods and services on the go.