They’re little software app(lications), or programs, that add-onto your smartphone to make things you want to do on your phone easier. In some cases, they literally make things possible on your phone that weren’t before.

Apple is a leader, at the moment, in the phone app market. It’s iPhone apps store lists more than 10,000 apps that you can buy online and download to your late-model iPhone. Many are free.

Research In Motion (RIM) will open its own app store for its popular BlackBerry smart phone this coming March. And RIM also announced the acquisition of app developer Chalk Media Corp. the week before Christmas, to bolster its assault on the apps market. In addition, there’s already at least one third-party store for BlackBerry aps.

The point, according to Luanne Lasalle of the Canadian Press, is that apps aren’t just for geeks anymore:

“Apps are where it’s at and their popularity is expected to make 2009 the year of the app-driven smart phone.”

And Lasalle says the moves by Apple and RIM are just the first bulls in a coming stampede:

“As software applications become more popular on smartphones, there will likely be other players in the field.

There have been reports that software giant Microsoft Corp. plans to launch an applications store called “Skymarket” for its Windows Mobile platform. Internet search engine Google is moving into the cellphone business and is using its software to power a touchscreen smartphone that’s expected to attract developers worldwide who will want their applications on this phone.”

Some industry observers say smart phones “enhanced by a proliferation of apps and an increasing wealth of digital connection service features” will make portable PCs obsolete within a few years. Others, however — including intensive on-the-go digital equipment users —  insist that there will always been room for both portable PCs (including the popular new Netbooks) and smart phones in their shoulder bags.

We agree: There are some things you just can’t do on a phone (or really don’t want to have to do), even if it does have a full QWERTY keyboard and a 3 in. high-res screen.

One Response to Year-ender: “Apps” to take off in 2009

  1. Evolving Squid
    Dec 29, 2008

    In other words…

    iPhone users might finally catch up to what Nokia users have had for the upside of a decade?

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