A mobile application is software that is downloaded to run on handheld devices, such as a phone or tablet, as a stand-alone program. These applications are either included with the device or can be downloaded/purchased from a marketplace The popularity of mobile apps is growing at an exponential rate, along with the number of smartphones in the market and the number of apps available. An application can be developed for virtually everything-whether it is a game, news, search engine, retail store, or anything else a person might think of. These applications are primarily run on an Apple, Blackberry, or Android device.
Apple users are able to download mobile applications from the Apple/iOS App Store, which is an application distribution platform developed and maintained by Apple. Applications for Apple devices are not limited to iPhone users, but can also be accessed by consumers with an iPad or iPod Touch. There are 200 million people using Apple products that have the capability to download mobile applications. In fact, these users have downloaded over 15 billion apps from the App Store, which features over 425,000 apps.
Android users can attain their applications from Android Market, a software store developed by Google for Android devices. Applications can be downloaded on either an Android powered smartphone or tablet. However, unlike other platforms, users are able to download apps from various different marketplaces, such as Amazon’s Android App Store; not just Google’s Android Market. There are 130 million people using Android devices and 500,000 devices activated each day. Users have downloaded upwards of 6 billion mobile applications for Android products and there are over 275,000 apps available to users.
Blackberry devices operate using a software platform created by Research in Motion (RIM). RIM also created the Blackberry App World, which allows Blackberry customers to download applications for either their smartphone or playbook. Blackberry App World is available in over 100 countries and facilitates the downloading of approximately 2 million apps a day. Currently, there are about 28,000 apps available on Blackberry App World.