Mobile Applications: a History
Mobile Applications have grown to be one of the most popular new forms of technological development in recent years. There are mobile apps for everything from games to business apps. Smartphones today are full of apps catering to every user’s need. What are mobile applications and how did they become the fastest growing technology sector?
What are they?
Mobile applications are software on smartphones that are programmed to do a certain task or play a certain game. They are what turn a smartphone from a phone into a computer. Users can use this software to shop, rate companies and restaurants, play games, schedule meetings and chat with friends and family.
Where did they get their start?
When mobile phones were first in mass use there were very few software programs that we would today call a mobile app. At the beginning it was very simple programs. There were date books, address books, calculators, calendars and maybe a very basic messaging system.
As early as 1993 there were plans to create a smartphone that would have mobile applications. There was very little technology that would fall under the definition of a mobile app at this time though. IBM was the first to the market in 1993 with what was called a smartphone then. The technology was very basic by today’s standards but at the time they were revolutionary.
We may think our smartphones have a very short battery life today but back in the 1990s it was common for a smartphone to only last thirty minutes before needing to be recharged. Charging your phone would take up to 10 hours every day. The battery life for a smartphone has come a long way indeed.
We would not see any major improvements for smartphones or mobile application software until 2002. Blackberry came to the market in 2002. Its smartphone was widely popular, especially among the business sector. Today Blackberry is failing to compete with the newer generations of smartphones and the company is in serious danger of failure. It went from being at the top of the market to the bottom in just 10 short years.
By 2002 we started to see companies such as Apple and Google making smartphones that contained dozens of mobile applications for users to download and use. You could use your smartphone for nearly every task you needed to complete. You can shop, bank, play games, communicate, go to online classes, plan your weekly activities and complete work activities.
iPhone by Apple is by far the most popular smartphone and mobile apps for this smartphone are in the millions. There are over 30 billion iPhone app downloads every year compared to 15 billion Android app downloads. There are many other companies in the mobile app market with many smaller mobile app development companies creating apps for use on either or both Android and iOS smartphones.
By 2014 there was over 30 billion in revenue being generated in the mobile application market. This revenue is expected only to increase as the popularity of mobile applications and their uses grow.