Popular mobile phone apps

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Apps have become the lastest craze for smartphone users. How will the app techology evolve in the future?
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Top Ten Most Popular Mobile Apps and App Categories for Smartphones

Over the past few years, the demand for smart-phones has grown exponentially as companies develop increasingly advanced software and features. Popular mobile phone apps have truly revolutionized the entire mobile phone industry.

Smart-phones are defined as mobile telephone devices boasting PC-like functionality and featuring powerful processors, open operating systems, vast memory capabilities, and the ability to interface with built-in features such as miniature QWERTY keyboards, touch screens, cameras, contact management programs, GPS or navigation hardware, media software for playing or storing music, and internet connectivity.

The first mobile device categorized as a “smart-phone” appeared on the market in 1993, as a product called Simon, designed by IBM and carried by Bell South.  Simon featured an on-screen keyboard, a calendar, world clock, calculator, address book, e-mail and facsimile capabilities and games. 

While these programs would seem simple by today's standards, Simon was certainly the first phone of its kind, and set the precedent for phones such as the BlackBerry, released in 2001 and the iPhone, released in 2007.

Popular mobile phone apps (an abbreviation for 'applications') have become the next craze amongst smart-phone users. Mobile service providers now offer a vast array of applications that can be downloaded directly onto smart-phones. The App Store, launched by Apple Inc., has become the most widely recognized application service, offering both free and paid applications that can be downloaded directly to the iPhone, iPod and iPad, through Apple's iTunes store.

Curious about applications for smart-phones?  Begin by browsing Apple's App Store, or the online BlackBerry App World catalog.  Here is a list of the most popular mobile phone apps and mobile phone app categories. 

Top Ten Most Popular Mobile Phone Apps/App Categories

1.   Voice Command/Voice-Control – A variety of popular mobile apps for smart-phones have made it easier to use voice commands to look up contacts, dial phone calls by voice command, dictate e-mail or text messages, select music, or even browse websites or television stations by voice control, without pressing any buttons.

2.   MobiTV – This application offers both television and digital radio stations to mobile phones. MobiTV stations include MSNBC, ABC News, ESPN, CNN, CSPAN, The Weather Channel, The Discovery Channel, etc.

3.   Skype – anyone interested in saving cell phone minutes or reducing the cost of international phone calls is sure to praise Skype, a high quality application for free Skype-to-Skype long  distance calls over WiFi.  

4.   Games have ranked as some of the most popular applications offered through Apple's App Store. In 2009, Apple announced their list of the year's most highly purchased games, titles which ranged in price from Vivendi Games' Crash Bandicoot Nitro Cart 3D, $5.99, to Texas Hold 'Em, $4.99, to Freeverse's Moto Chaser, priced at $.99. Other popular games range from role playing games to strategy, puzzles, word games and card games.

5.   Social Networking Apps such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Loopt, and Hey Where Are You? are steadily climbing toward the top of the list of downloadable applications for smart-phones.

6.   Productivity applications for smart-phones are highly praised for helping tech savvy users to keep their lives organized. Popular mobile phone apps to increase productivity include To Do Lists, The StockWatch, PageOnce Personal Assistant, Quote Sheets, Your Receipts Tracker, Attendance Countdown etc. There are even apps geared at youngsters and students, such as iStudiez Pro, which enables students to keep track of their class schedules, assignments, due dates, etc, all through the iPhone's touch-screen.

7.   Search Tools have also been highly successful mobile apps; particularly search tools that capitalize on the GPS capabilities of smart-phones. Avoid typing in your current location, and use apps such as Urban Spoon to search for nearby restaurants, FourSquare or Yelp for information on local shopping, nightlife, entertainment, and even maps.

8.   Financial tools – such as mobile bill pay and mobile banking have become popular applications for professionals on-the-go. The capabilities of these apps are projected to increase in the future.

9.   Mailing/Postal Services - UPS Mobile for iphones and Androids allows users to print shipping labels, find UPS locations, estimate shipment costs, and delivery times, and track both incoming and outgoing shipping deliveries and packages.

10.   Futuristic – Science Fiction fans will surely be fans of some of the latest, futuristic apps such as holographic images and projectors, augmented reality applications, interactivity and crowd sourcing and real time collaboration apps.

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