There’s an App for Every Occassion
Several weeks ago I promised Byte Me readers an article about ‘apps’ – what they are and what they do. An unfortunate event called Marcia rudely interrupted my schedule – as well as most everyone else’s. So finally the app article appears as our topic for this week.
If you have been hearing about these ‘apps’ lately and have wondered why all of sudden – let me tell you some interesting facts. In 2010 the American Dialect Society decided to bestow the title of “Word of the Year” upon a simple 3 lettered word – that word was ‘app’. Last year the sale of ‘apps’ generated approximately $32 billion worldwide (even though around 90% of all apps are fee). And approximately 150 billion apps will be downloaded this year alone.
So the word ‘app’ is a shortened form of the word ‘application’ and more accurately an abbreviation for the words ‘application software’. Most of us are familiar with software packages that run on our PC’s, whether they be an anti-virus program, a photo editor, Microsoft Word or even a game like Solitaire – these are all software applications.
Our laptops and desktop PC’s have enough power and capacity to run very complex software applications however this in not so much the case with phones & tablets. Due to space and battery life considerations these smaller devices have very limited power and capacity in comparison. As a result they can only really handle (run) simple applications – ‘apps’.
With the trend of today’s society wanting to use acronyms or abbreviations to ‘save time’ or sound hip it is of little wonder that the name ‘app’ started to get bandied around. When we download an app for our smart phones we are simply downloading & installing a simple software application which can perform a simple task – and it always has an associated icon which shows up on our screens.
Because of their simplicity ‘apps’ take far less programming than traditional computer software and this has opened up opportunities for IT savvy individuals to manufacture a complete app by themselves – a task that was previously more restricted to larger software companies. So what does a typical app do?
Most apps are centred on ‘you guessed it’ – the retail industry to make the online purchase of an item or the booking of an appointment a little quicker. Let’s look at a pizza app for instance. Eagle Boys, Domino’s & Pizza Hut all offer a fee app that you can download to your phone in the hope that it will encourage you to eat more of their product than you would have previously.
Instead of ordering over the counter and waiting in line or looking up a phone number, asking about menu options and ordering – we can simply click on the relevant icon, click on our selections and press an order button. In the background the pizza app on your phone has sensed your location and sent the order through to the nearest franchise location – so they are already making you pizza within seconds of your initial cravings.
Apps are not limited to retail either as there are apps for weather information, for medical information, for FaceBook, Gumtree, ebay, even for Maps. In the simplest of forms they may only save a few extra clicks on a web browser – however many consumers are embracing them like oxygen itself.
This popularity is understandable when you consider how difficult it can be to browse the Internet within the limitations of a small screen on a smart phone. An app can offer a heap of ‘built in’ shortcuts – simplifying what the user is trying to achieve.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.
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