Mobile applications, usually known as apps, are a type of application software designed to run on mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablet computers or wearables. Mobile applications provide users with services similar to those accessed on PCs. These apps are generally smaller than their PC counterparts. The idea of mobile app software was brought into the spotlight by Apple Inc. its ”App Store” offers thousands of applications for the Apple ecosystem of devices, such as the iPhone, iPad etc.
Mobile applications differ significantly from integrated software systems generally found on PCs, generally running an isolated or limited functionality such as a game, calculator, web browser etc. These apps don’t involve multi-tasking since they are more suited for a specific purpose, which works in the customers favour of selecting what app they feel is best to perform a task on their mobile device.
When it comes to app development, the simplest version of mobile apps are the PC applications being ported to a mobile device. With mobile apps becoming more robust, this method is generally not recommended. The usual standard approach is to develop apps specifically for the mobile OS, considering both its limitations and advantages. For example, social apps centred on the short video format work best on mobile devices and so, building a PC application and porting it is not recommended at all, compared to building an app from the ground up for the mobile device environment.
Apps can also be classified on the basis of their development as either native apps or web apps. Native apps are built for only one specific mobile operating system, which is usually iOS or Android. The advantage is that native apps perform better and have a more optimized user interface (UI) catered for the mobile OS, with the drawback being that they usually undergo a stringent development and quality assurance process before they are approved for release. Web apps on the other hand are web oriented and don’t take up device memory as much since they’re run through a web browser basically. The user gets redirected to the required web page, where information is saved online on a server-based database and so, they require a stable connection to be used.