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Why is software for smart phones called apps and not software?

The journey from software to appsIt is trivial to recognize that the development of apps and smart phones has had a tremendous impact on our professional, personal and social lives.  There are hundreds upon thousands of apps in the various app markets designed to solve work specific needs, make our personal live more productive or help us stay in touch with friends.

What factors have driven the development and success of smart phones?   Technological advances have enabled smartphones to cater to a wider range of consumer needs but we do not think one should underestimate the importance of re-branding the software concept that brought us the the very popular term “app”. The evolution of the smartphone and App business brought us new buzzwords and business models such as in-app purchasing, a centralized key distribution channel App Store and disciplines like app store marketing and app store optimization (it can be big business having great placements in the various app stores).

Why did someone pull off that little trick of rebranding “software” to “apps”?  
Well, in one go you could say goodbye to a number of negative connotations which many people relate to the concept of “software”. For instance, software errors, software incompability, software crashes, fulfillment or usage challenges such as needing to purchase a hard copy at a retail shop or being unsure of compatibility or system requirements.

By coming up with the term “app” the whole industry was able get a fresh start and reach out to consumer groups for whom software sounded too technical, nerdy or complicated. Evidence suggests this development is bound to continue. For example, Windows 8 has adopted the “app” terminology as have services such as Facebook, Google, SkyDrive, Spotify and others. Many will probably argue that the distinction between software and the app is in the device itself, where apps are relevant to mobile devices and software mainly stationary units such as desktop or laptop computers. But that seems too simple. The boundary is blurred with the latest software services and operating systems eg. Windows 8 desktop apps which actually is traditionel “Software”.

Is the concept of “software” dying? Let’s hear your voice!

Btw, we still prefer to use the term “software” but we have created a page of our mobile apps which you can see here

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About Kim Falkner

VP Marketing for SPAMfighter with a passion for IT-security and blogging. Follow me on Google+ (+Kim Falkner) or LinkedIn (Kim Falkner on LinkedIn)
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