It’s not exactly breaking news to say that mobile phone apps are more popular than ever. In a world of ever-growing technology development, we rarely get space to catch our breath in the endless race of app admiration.
In 2017, even more people are plugged into their devices constantly, which means that billions of us are investing our time in the world of apps and what they can offer us. If you’re in the app business or the software industry, it’s time to strike while the iron is hot and immerse yourself into all of the exclusive opportunities that the world of apps and phone technology has to offer.
It’s sometimes hard to believe that mobile phone apps have been on the surface for nearly a decade now, because they’ve quickly become such an integral part of our lives. When Apple launched the App Store in 2008, with the Android Market quickly following suit, it marked the primitive beginning of an entirely new relationship with our smartphones.
Whether we like to admit it or not, we need to acknowledge that the technology age has truly taken over our everyday lives. We’re at the point of no return now. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could manage without the collection of treasured apps I have on my smartphone anymore; could you?
We’ve all become so accustomed to having everything we need at the click of a button or a swipe of the finger. With a massive galaxy of apps to choose from, smartphones have evolved from communication devices into long life companions. The choices and abilities at our fingertips are boundless; whether you want to stream your favourite music, search for the latest videos, catch up with social media or waste away a train journey with a game, the old slogan is truer than ever: there truly is an app for absolutely everything you can think of.
In a recent study, Carphone Warehouse worked closely with HTC to delve deeper into our connections with apps. Using a survey of 1,000 UK adults combined with other research, they found that the average Brit uses an app within 32 minutes of waking up – the most popular being the social media giant, Facebook, with 22% of users checking their feeds before looking at any other app. It’s now perceived as very normal practise to wake up via the alarm and light of your mobile phone, stirring firstly to catch up on the events you’ve missed during your sleep – and people wonder why newspapers are going out of circulation!
In a world where we now have the capabilities to run our entire lives from our very own handheld device, there is simply no need for other sources or outlets of news anymore. Whilst it’s a massive shame in a sense, it’s also pushed huge boundaries and created a world where our online opportunities are infinite.
In the same Carphone Warehouse study, it was found that Brits will go on to use apps at least eight times on average throughout the day, and typically have around 20 apps installed on their smartphones at any one time. With that in mind, and with around 2.8 million apps to choose from on the Google Play store today – compared to a much lower 16,000 in 2009 – it’s clear that apps have come a long way in the game of technology and software.
While the popularity of certain apps comes and goes, others remain firm favourites year after year. Apps are subject to the fickle whims of the public just like any other form of media – or any other product – and what’s hot one day can quickly become forgotten as the market moves on.
If you looked at an app from Google Play every second without stopping, it would take more than 23 days to see them all. There really is so much to choose from depending on your needs and desires. But as stated earlier, the sky really is the limit when it comes to apps. Ever forgotten where you’ve parked your car? There’s an app for that. Forgotten to set something up to record at home? There’s an app for that. Got a weird hobby of popping pimples? There’s an app for that. Ever watching a movie and want to know when the best time is to go to the toilet without missing anything? There’s an app for that. Need someone to fake call you to get out of an awkward situation? Yep you guessed it, there’s an app for that too!
Some apps will of course take their toll on users fairly quickly, and whilst they’ll be the talk of the town one minute, they might disappear off the face of the Earth the next. Take Pokémon Go for example – while the free-to-play game dominated headlines for months last summer, the app proved to have very little sticking power. Despite surpassing even app store titans like Candy Crush in 2016 in terms of installs, Pokémon Go’s daily users – which peaked at 28.5 million in July 2016 – dwindled to around 5 million in the space of just six months.
In general, the games category is very volatile, and while established series like Candy Crush and Angry Birds regularly place highly on the lists and are likely to remain on it for a long time to come, there’s always another craze around the corner ready to topple the biggest names and takeover for their own five minutes of fame.
The world of social media is a much more stable gamble because they simply have fewer contenders in the field to compete with. Unsurprisingly, Facebook (along with its companion Facebook Messenger) is still the undisputed king of the social networks – although newer apps like Instagram and Snapchat are making impressive gains and proving to be more popular than ever, having spent four and three years in the top 10 charts respectively.
It’s also changing the way we shop, which in turn shapes the face of retail and e-commerce in general. Many online retailers and stores have their own built apps now, which means shoppers can make a purchase wherever they are and on the go – which makes for huge profits in online retailing.
Over the last five years, the apps topping the charts have remained pretty much a constant. For the full five years, the top two trending apps have been Facebook and Google Maps which most phone owners now consider necessities for their lives. Music magnate, Pandora has spent four years in the top ten most downloaded list along with social media marvel Instagram and YouTube.
Keeping up their streak, Snapchat, Angry Birds and Facebook Messenger are three apps that have remained in the top grossing list for three years running; while Skype, Temple Run and Spotify have all spent two years topping the charts.
In the last year however, a whole host of others have joined them and are still grossing now. These include Pokemon Go, Vine, Candy Crush, Dubsmash, Flappy Bird, Flipagram, Uber, Netflix, Pinterest, Twitter and Fruit Ninja. Whilst it’s surprising to see apps as renowned as Twitter and Netflix being so hit and miss, it isn’t as shocking when observing the others. The majority of the apps in this category are games, and therefore they come and go much more often in the eyes of popularity. Not only that, but more new and improved games are constantly overtaking them and moving up and down in the charts.
With this in mind, it’s clear to see that whilst some apps remain a constant, others are less inclined to stick around forever. Regardless of that, it’s common knowledge that smartphone apps are changing life as we know it. They’re changing the way we read news, the way we contact our friends and relatives, the way we research things, the way we create and produce things, the way we shop, the way we perceive entertainment and even the way we see the world.
Apps are even changing the way that we work. Record-breaking numbers of employees in 2017 are working from home because of the technology that is now available to them without even leaving their house. It’s saving some companies thousands on office spaces and equipment too, which can only be a positive thing. This is just a small inkling of the fast-paced world of apps and technology, and if experience is any guide, there’s sure to be many stories ahead as phones become more powerful and app makers continue to innovate.
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