What Is A Mobile App and Why Do I Want One?

By Lecia Monsen
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The birth of mobile phones brought us handy wireless communications devices but not much else. Over time as the cell phone has evolved, they’ve become more than just a means to make phone calls. In its current incarnation, the mobile device is a cell phone, internet and email access-point, game system, PDA, MP3 player, calendar, and all-around must-have.

With the blurring of the lines between smartphones and multimedia phones, the resulting hybrid appeals to a wider audience more than either the strictly business or camera phones do. This new user wants to do business when he or she needs to and have fun whenever possible. The stage is set for third party software developers to create programs for users of all ages and walks of life. Applications, or apps for short, leverage the brains in your smartphone providing unique tools to help handle the infinite details in today’s busy lives.

What is a Mobile App?

Consider your computer. Chances are, when you purchased it, the machine came preloaded with operating system software and perhaps some additional applications. It’s a good bet that you have more than those originally installed programs on your computer now. You probably bought other software programs that you wanted or needed and installed them to help you get the most out of your computer. Think of an app as a software program for your mobile phone. These programs range in size and complexity from a simple flashlight application to an involved navigational system for plotting positions on a marine chart to a medical reference guide. Price also varies widely beginning with free and going up from there.

Why Do I Want One?

Apps allow you to customize a phone to your specific set of wants and needs. They are generally easy to find and install, and once you start using them, will become a necessary part of your mobile life. Businesspeople will want to be connected to their email as well as be able to review documents, track expenses, and maintain lists of contact information for various groups of people. Most users in general will want email, internet access, and depending upon their preferences, music and games, along with many of the items a businessperson needs. The needs of both types of users can be met in a multimedia smartphone with the appropriate apps.

Some things in this life are just better together (sounds like a commercial of some sort.) Cake and ice cream, birthdays and gifts, a certain chocolate sandwich cookie and milk, summer and backyard barbecues, peanut butter and jelly—you get the idea. In the not-too-distant future, mobile apps and cell phones will join that list.

 
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