A mobile application (or mobile app) is a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices. They are usually available through application distribution platforms, which are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others have a price. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, such as an iPhone, BlackBerry, Android phone or Windows Phone, but sometimes they can be downloaded to less mobile computers, such as laptops or desktops. For apps with a price, generally a percentage, 20-30%, goes to the distribution provider (such as iTunes), and the rest goes to the producer of the app.
The term "app" has become popular, and in 2010 was listed as "Word of the Year" by the American Dialect Society. Technologist Michael Saylor has referred to the newer mobile app enabled smartphones as "app-phones" for their distinction from the earlier smartphone models. He states that these app-phones can support many applications and programming languages and should be considered computers first and phones second.
Mobile apps were originally offered for general productivity and information retrieval, including email, calendar, contacts, and stock market and weather information. However, public demand and the availability of developer tools drove rapid expansion into other categories, such as mobile games, factory automation, GPS and location-based services, banking, order-tracking, and ticket purchases. The explosion in number and variety of apps made discovery a challenge, which in turn led to the creation of a wide range of review, recommendation, and curation sources, including blogs, magazines, and dedicated online app-discovery services.
The popularity of mobile applications has continued to rise, as their usage has become increasingly prevalent across mobile phone users. A May 2012 comScore study reported that during the previous quarter, more mobile subscribers used apps than browsed the web on their devices: 51.1% vs. 49.8% respectively.
The Amazon Appstore is a mobile application store for the Google Android operating system. It was opened in March 2011, with 3800 applications.
Apple App Store
The Apple App Store was the first app distribution service which set the standard and continues to do so for the other app distribution services, it opened on July 10, 2008, and as of January 2011, reported over 10 billion downloads. Until June 6, 2011, there are 425,000 third-party apps available, which are downloaded by 200 million iOS users. During Apple's 2012 Worldwide Developer's Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the App Store has 650,000 available apps to download as well as "an astounding 30 billion apps" downloaded from the app store until that date.
BlackBerry App World
Apps for the BlackBerry mobile devices are available through the BlackBerry App World application distribution service. It opened in April 2009, and as of February 2011, was claiming the largest revenue per app: $9,166.67 compared to $6,480.00 at the Apple App Store and $1,200 in the Android market. In July 2011, it was reporting 3 million downloads per day and one billion total downloads.
Google Play is an international online software store developed by Google for Android devices. It was opened in October 2008. In October 2012, there were approximately 700,000 apps available for Android, and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play was 25 billion.
An app store for the Nokia phone was launched internationally in May 2009. As of April 2011 there were 50,000 apps, and as of August 2011, Nokia was reporting 9 million downloads per day. In February 2011, Nokia reported that it would start using Windows Phone 7 as its primary operating system. In May 2011, Nokia announced plans to rebrand its Ovi product line under the Nokia brand and Ovi Store was renamed Nokia Store in October 2011. Nokia Store remains as the distribution platform for its previous lines of mobile operating systems, while Nokia's Windows Phone 7 offering has been integrated into the Microsoft Marketplace.