Special to Times of Oman
Trying to find cab standing on a road of a strange city? Frantically searching for nearby medical assistance in a lesser known locality of the town? Trying to figure out the possible solution of seemingly next to impossible mathematical sum?
Solutions of all these problems lie in the mobile phone software called 'applications', commonly referred to as 'apps'. Mobile apps could help in getting cab in completely unknown town, or in connecting with nearby medics or even assist in breaking hard nut calculus. Apps are actually application software designed to run on smartphones, tablets, phablets and other net enabled devices.
Keeping the customer's present as well as potential demand in mind, apps are developed globally by new genre of software experts branded as 'developers'. Industry statistics put mind boggling figure of 2.3 million developers worldwide, out of which 0.76 million being of Asian origin.
As mobile customers have increasingly started treating their smartphones as single window apparatus to reach out to their as many needs as possible, the importance of apps is being enhanced continuously.
Instead of solely using their mobiles for text and voice purpose, global mobile users are leaning towards social networking, playing games, watching video clippings, listening to live streaming of news, browsing the Internet world with search engines or even reading books. The horizon of cellular usage gets broadened when location based apps are being used for various purposes right from shopping, eating out to travelling to unknown places. Apart from these, apps are also being downloaded for education, banking, insurance, stock exchange, health, entertainment, career counselling and crime investigation works.
According to global cellular industry, 0.3 million Apps were downloaded 10.9 billion times in 2010. International Data Corp. predicts that by 2014 the download figure would touch to almost 77 billion!
Cashing the situation, new entity called apps stores emerged in the virtual world where mobile user could choose his/her necessary apps.
Apple Apps Store, Windows phone stores, Samsung Play Store, Google Play Store are some of the biggies storing millions of apps that can be downloaded.
In a shrewd revenue model these apps stores act as bridges between the developers and end users resulting in transactions worth billions of dollars.
Riding on the crest of this tsunami it is estimated that by 2018, the revenue from data would outpace its counterpart in voice and text from mobile.
And not surprisingly an important contribution of around $150 billion could come from apps business alone.
Actually the advent of killer combination of Operating Systems like Android, Apple Ios, Windows, dominance of smartphone in global cellular market and rapid sway of 3G and 4G technologies has brought a sea change in 6.8 billion strong mobile world and apps is one of the revenue models with
Cloud being the another. As one developer puts it, "the relevance of apps depends on how fast it can respond to users' demand.
The average life span of apps is very short. So constant upgradation is key to the survival."
But, for now, survival of global cellular industry depends on success of apps!
The author is a senior journalist specialised in technology. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely his and not of Times of Oman.