The spread of cell phone usage and technology has risen dramatically in a very short time frame. In less than a decade, cell phones went from clunky, communication-only tools that were used mostly by business professionals. Now it is considered highly unusual for anyone over the age of 16 to not own a cell phone—and, most of the time, this means a smart phone. Cell phones are not just for speaking anymore. Now there are dozens of books and articles covering research on “iPhone addiction” and other bizarre, but very real, technology-induced psychological affectations. In order to flourish in this personal technology-dependent society, companies must make their web services available on smart phones. As a result, mobile app development is a service that is going to be increasingly in demand.
What Apps Can Do
A mobile app should not be thought of in the same way as a mobile website. A website is designed for storing and browsing lots of information, and, in some cases, allowing users to complete an array of tasks (e.g. compiling an online “shopping cart,” purchasing a few items, and saving the information on the rest for later). Alternatively, an app is best for smaller numbers of more specific tasks, such as playing a game, storing and encrypting a single type of information (e.g. passwords), or typing dictated speech.
How They Can Do It
Computers have much more storage capacity and processing power than smart phones (though phone technology has made impressive strides in closing some of this gap). In order to carry out this array of functions, regular application software has to be adapted to run on less powerful machines. Additionally, mobile app software has to be compatible with devices that have multiple different screen sizes and hardware specifications. All these complications require different development strategies to be used when programming apps. App developers use something called a platform, which uses different operating systems to translate code into programs that can then be executed on the phones that download the app. Currently, Android is the most popular mobile app development platform. This platform uses the Linux operating system and is compatible with the widest array of mobile phones. The second most popular platform is iOS, which uses an operating system that is very similar to the OSX system on Mac computers. These different platforms are the major reason that you will find different apps for iPhones and Android phones.