It all started before Apple came out with apps for everything. Apps, or mobile applications, started with games for the Nokia back in 1998 – Brick Breaker and Snake. It took a while for mobile applications to become more than just games, but they have changed the world in many ways.
One company named the Golden Gekko started developing apps. They began focusing on creating mobile marketing applications in 2005, and it wasn’t well received. Many thought it was absurd. At the time, mobile apps where an unproven marketing idea. However, Arla Food Group, which is the second largest dairy company in Europe, decided to take a chance on these new mobile apps. It was already one of the most popular websites in Sweden with “The Online Cookbook” being a major attraction. The mobile application was based on “The Online Cookbook”, and more than three hundred of its recipes (which all include an Arla Food Group product). The app was compatible with 95% of all devices, including 800 phones. What came to be known as the mobile cookbook became very successful. The Arla Mobile Cookbook was downloaded over 10,000 times in the first three months. By 2007, it was downloaded more than 80,000 times.
After the success of the Arla Mobile Cookbook, an increasing number of companies began to use apps to market their businesses. The Golden Gekko went on to make apps for Pop Idol in Sweden, Unilever, and more.
In the summer of 2008, the Apple iPhone debuted, and with it came the Apple App Store where anyone can create an app for anything they want. Now, anyone, not just a special company, could create an app for fun or business. As of January 2012, there are more than 300,000 apps for the iPhone, and 60,000 apps for the iPad. It took a while for Apple’s mobile applications to get going – in about 15 months the Apple Store finally grew to approximately 100,000 apps.
Apple isn’t the only one with an app store. The Andriod Market is an app store for Andriod users. As of May 2011, it had 200,000 apps with 4 ½ billion downloads. At the same time the Apple Store had 14 billion downloads. Apple’s founder, Steve Jobbs spoke about changing the world, and he did so through apps.
There is one app called World Lens that can translate text for you from books to signs, and it can do it without an Internet connection. Travelers out there are embracing this new technology, created by Otavio Good. He said he got the idea while in a German bookstore where he couldn’t read anything. He thought it would be great if he could take a picture of the pages and his iPhone could translate them for him. In October of 2011, the World Lens was awarded the World Technology Award. It currently translates Spanish to English and English to Spanish, and sells for $9.99 per download. Otavio Good’s company, Quest Visual, is working to add more languages to the app.
Around Me is another popular app that can tell you a variety of things about where you are. It can give you information about surrounding restaurants, stores, hospitals, and more. This is another great app for the traveler who may not know where everything is.
The creation of mobile apps is now a new job market. Companies and freelancers are now specializing in creating apps for clients who want to market their businesses. This career did not exist before apps became popular. Apple’s slogan, “There’s an app for that” is so true. With the growth of this technology will come more apps that will change everything.