More recently, people associate the word “app” with smaller, more narrowly focused programs, primarily those that run on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. These applications are made to help the consumer do more specific tasks than traditional computer applications, helping them go on Facebook, buy movie tickets, or read an e-book. Many restaurants even have apps; Pizza Hut allows users to order their pizza and breadsticks all from their app.
While there are a number of free apps available for Apple and Android products, paid apps can range anywhere from $.99 for simple games to $999, for an iPhone app called BarMax, an app designed to help California law students prepare for the bar exam. The average paid app cost anywhere from one to four dollars.
Successfully creating an app is no easy feat. Programmers need to design visual components, write code that can work on both the Droid and the iPhone, test their app, and then try to get the app markets to carry it. While some simple apps, like RSS readers that aggregate information from blogs and news sites, can be designed, tested and running in a couple of days, more robust apps can take much longer to create. Social networking apps and productivity tools, like iPhone’s ReQall an app that uses existing calendars and voice memos to send appointment reminders to users, can take months to perfect.
Angry Birds, currently one of the most popular games in both the Android Market and the iPhone’s App Store, with more than fifty million downloads, took Finland-based development company Rovio Mobile more than six months to develop. It was originally released for just the iPhone and required nine more months of development before the company released it on the Android Market.
Of course, not every app is a success, and you would be surprised by some of the ones that are. iFart Mobile, is an app that delivers users precisely what its name promises. It’s a veritable digital whoopee cushion that let’s consumers pick from a cornucopia of flatulence sounds named things like “Jack the Ripper” and “The Bubbler.” Released in 2008, it became one of the most popular apps in iPhone history, selling more than 350,000 copies.
So whether you want to remember to pay your rent on time or you want to embarrass your brother at a dinner party, remember… there’s an app for that.