At the end of this module, learners will be able to:
Part II: How are apps different on different platforms?
Part III: How do I find and install apps?
Part IV: What are examples of different categories of apps?
Part V: What does the future of mobile apps look like?
“Apps”, or mobile applications, are software programs that the user of a mobile device can choose and install on that device. Apps extend the functionality of a smartphone or tablet beyond the basic capabilities it has “out of the box.” Apps allow the user to customize the device to his or her own needs and interests, making it a truly personal tool.
A report released in September 2010 by the Pew Internet & American Life Project provided a new picture of how Americans use mobile apps:
Among other findings, that Pew Research study found that:
Mobile apps fall into two general categories: "native apps" and "web apps":
Molly included descriptions of main mobile platforms as part of her Week 1 content. Let’s take it a step further: how do apps differ on these platforms?
Mobile web apps don't require "installation" on the phone, since they are accessed through the mobile web browser. This also means that web apps aren't as readily discovered through "app stores" or "markets" as native apps. There are, however, a few good online catalogs of mobile web apps:
The first video below offers a tutorial on the use of the iTunes App Store (from February 2009, using an iPhone 3G).
The second video is an advertisement by Apple (April 2011) with a quick view of the current iTunes App Store on an iPhone 4.
The primary source for Android apps is the Android Market, although there are a number of alternatives to the Android Market as well:
The Android Market does not use software installed on a desktop computer; instead, it operates in a web browser, or using the Market app on an Android smartphone or tablet.
The following videos give an overview of how to use the Market and a preview of the new Market, rolling out now to many Android devices.
The primary source for BlackBerry apps is BlackBerry App World, operated by Research In Motion (RIM). However, like Android, BlackBerry users can also download and install apps from alternative app markets like GetJar, or directly from third-party developers.
BlackBerry App World has a web interface, but is mainly accessed through an app that can be installed on BlackBerry devices.
RIM offers an online demo and tutorial all about how to install and use BlackBerry App World.
The best way to discover new apps is to learn from other mobile users about what apps they most enjoy and use.
We want you to share and learn from your colleagues in this course. On the following category pages, you can:
In the following presentation, we look at a few additional possibilities for the future of mobile health apps.