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The new frontier of app development

Posted on May 8, 2012, by

Apple’s App Store recently registered its 25 billionth application download.

With iOS and Android featuring increasingly heavily in computing news, it’s only natural for technology enthusiasts to wonder what sort of effect the success of app-based development will have on the industry as a whole.

It’s not hard to see the benefits for developers where apps are concerned. All the software necessary to run the application is (in an ideal world at least) based on either the device itself or the app. There are no additional plugins to be downloaded, no additional settings that require tweaking. Users just select an app, download it onto their device, and away they go. This has a positive impact on product testing as well, as testers can spend less time preparing their devices for testing. Even something so simple as PDF reader functionality is built into iOS devices, making it possible for users to access the resources in applications more easily without repeated download processes.

Cost, too, is of particular significance, both for users and developers. Whereas users traditionally would spend a pretty hefty amount on software for a computer, users can now get access to thousands of good-quality applications at a very reasonable price. Taking, for instance, the example of Apple’s own iWork programs, users can access and download each individual application at a cost of £6.99 a piece for iOS. Speaking from experience, the functionality of these programs is more than adequate for mobile use, and allows users to create as well as simply modify documents to a decent level.

Allowing this kind of pricing model has no doubt been successful for Apple, as it has allowed them to bypass the traditional disc-based distribution channels more and more, as we head towards our digitally distributed future. The fact that Apple’s latest operating system OSX. 7 or “Lion” was deployed exclusively via the App Store and is not available in the physical form of a CD is firm proof of this.  Gaming, too, has been in a significant shift in the portable space, as the iPhone and iPod touch are now considered by some analysts to be the main player in the mobile gaming space, eclipsing Sony and Nintendo’s dedicated handheld gaming systems.

Where development is concerned, the lack of fragmentation too is surely of benefit. Developers now have to take into account only a handful of operating system combinations, all of which are built on a similar framework. Much like the development of gaming consoles vs PC , with the latter subject to substantial numbers of configurations, the app-based space allows developers to create products that work more or less identically across multiple devices.

With the recent implementation of ‘Play’ by Google (which previously only existed on Android devices under the moniker of ‘Market’, but can now be accessed both online and via the device), the long standing App Store pioneered by Apple and the imminent release of Windows Store is to  be released as a built-in feature of both Windows 8 and Metro in the same was the App Store is intrinsic to Apple’s OSX and iOS, there is no doubt that the future of computing will be heavily based around downloadable content and App based interaction.essays online

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