Today our lives seem to revolve around mobile applications. We have an app to help us wake up in the mornings, an app to help us find our way to and from a destination, one to help us decide on what to cook and even an app to help us fall asleep. The saying, “there’s an app for that”, rings exceedingly true today, more-so than it ever has before. 

But, mobile apps have changed significantly over the years, with some providing more than one service in one, known as a “super app” – a veritable Swiss Army Knife of the mobile app world. These flashy and exciting offerings have humble origins, and the very first smartphone with apps was launched in 1994 by IBM and was known as Simon. If you are working with a mobile app development agency it is important to understand how modern apps have evolved. 

Keep reading for some interesting information on how mobile apps have evolved over the years. 


Early Days: The First Smartphone Of 1994


The smartphone and its apps have humble and early beginnings. Before the iPhone or Andriod, there was IBM’s Simon, which was launched in 1994. Of course, there was no App Store at this point, but the phone was equipped with built-in apps such as an address book, a note-taking app, a calendar, a calculator, and even a sketch pad. 

This was an exciting innovation in both the smartphone and the mobile app development industry. These additions were not called “apps” at this point in time, but were rather known as “features”  and were found in the Mobile Office section of the phone. A few years after this impressive phone, we were introduced to the Nokia selection and the “apps” they developed (who can ever forget Snake!) were more exciting and less business-focused. 


Quirky QWERTY Keyboards of 2002


In 2002 there was a game-changer introduced to the world – the Blackberry 5810 that used a QWERTY keyboard and was integrated with wireless email. This was revolutionary for those in the early phases of mobile app development, as it showed that mobile phones could be used for more than simply making and answering phone calls or sending text messages. 

Now users could type out emails in a similar method to their computers or laptops, making their mobile phones even smarter than before. The preloaded features of many of the phones released at this point, such as small arcade games, ringtone editors, calculators, and to-do lists, were not as fancy as many of the mobile apps we currently use, but they paved the way for the ones we know and love today. 


iPhone Explodes Onto The Scene in 2007


In June of 2007, Apple released its first iPhone, and this was a truly revolutionary smartphone, especially when we look at the built-in and downloadable apps it offered. The pre-loaded apps included Maps, Photos, Text Messaging, as well as a Weather app. The loading speed of these apps was much faster than previous iterations, and the phone itself was very customisable. 

Later, Apple announced that they would be launching an iPhone software development kit for software developers to use when developing mobile apps. This meant that the iPhone was able to support third-party apps using the Safari engine on the phone. This was an exciting announcement as it allowed people to create apps for the iPhone, blazing the trail for further app development outside of what Apple was offering.


AppStore Goes Live in 2008


In July of 2008, the Apple AppStore went live. This is significant because it was the first marketplace for apps and on the day of its launch it featured 500 apps. Now, mobile app developers could reach every single iPhone user through the AppStore. People could now also access the apps that were developed using the software kit. 

There were 10 million downloads of the AppStore in the very first week of its launch. There were almost 800 native apps available in the store, with 200 offered for free and more than 90 percent of the apps offered for under $10. Because of how popular apps quickly became, “app” became the Word Of The Year in 2010. 


Google Follows Suit With Google Play In 2012


In 2012, Google followed in the footsteps of Apple and brought all of its content together under one roof – Google Play. It rebranded Android Market, Google Music, and Google Books and placed them all into one singular market place. Here, there are hundreds of apps available, both from Google itself and from third-party mobile app development companies. 

Some of the most downloaded apps from the Google Play Store include Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Gmail, Candy Crush Saga, Snapchat, Uber, YouTube, and Google Maps. As you can see, many of these are social media apps but there are also several games that have been downloaded over the years, including the ever-popular Angry Birds and Candy Crush. 


Apps Can Do Almost Everything…


…and make us do almost anything. There are apps that tell us when (and how) to sleep, when to wake up, what to eat, when to eat, where to go, what to do and see in an area…the list goes on and on. However, there are also apps being built to help in industries such as mental health and health care. Apps can do more than simply entertain us, they can help to improve our lives and make certain services easier and more efficient. 

In terms of a digital marketing strategy, having an app for your business can help to improve your brand awareness and provide a positive user experience to your audience. For those who would like to take their business to the next level, contact the NetMechanic team today to find out how we can help you.