Picture shows Steve Ives, CEO of Taptu. REUTERS/Julie Mollins

As the mobile phone industry puts more emphasis on marketing hand-held smartphones, consumers are finding ways to dodge restrictive model-compatible applications by using Web-based programs.

Unlike single-device applications, mobile touch websites run on most mobile browsers freeing users from reliance on a specific operating system.

A recent study by Taptu suggests that the mobile touch web will play an important role in expanding mobile commerce.

The economics of software development and publishing favours Web-friendly applications, the study says, although some experts argue that certain applications benefit from being platform-specific.

The 2007 iPhone touchscreen led to an initial wave of more than 148,000 mobile-touch applications, and now there is a second wave of content for touchscreen devices derived from the Web, designed with "finger-friendly layouts" and lightweight fast-loading pages, the report says, estimating that there are more than 326,000 mobile touch websites.