A mobile app is a computer program designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. Most such devices are sold with several apps included as pre-installed software, such as a web browser, email client, calendar, mapping program, and an app for buying music or other media or more apps. Some pre-installed apps can be removed by an ordinary uninstall process, thus leaving more storage space for desired ones.
Apps that are not preinstalled are usually available through application distribution platforms, which began appearing in 2008 and are typically operated by the owner of the mobile operating system, such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, Windows Phone Store, and BlackBerry App World. Some apps are free, while others must be bought. Usually, they are downloaded from the platform to a target device, but sometimes they can be downloaded to laptops or desktop computers.
Google Play (formerly known as the Android Market) is an international online software store developed by Google for Android devices. It opened in October 2008. In August 2014, there were approximately 1.3+ million apps available for Android and the estimated number of applications downloaded from Google Play was 40 billion.
Apple’s App Store for iOS was not the first app distribution service, but it ignited the mobile revolution and was opened on July 10, 2008, and as of January 2011, reported over 10 billion downloads. The original AppStore was first demonstrated to Steve Jobs in 1993 by Jesse Tayler at NeXTWorld Expo As of June 6, 2011, there were 425,000 apps available, which had been downloaded by 200 million iOS users. During Apple’s 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the App Store has 650,000 available apps to download as well as 30 billion apps downloaded from the app store until that date.
Windows Store was introduced by Microsoft for its Windows 8 and Windows RT platforms. While it can also carry listings for traditional desktop programs certified for compatibility with Windows 8, it is primarily used to distribute “Windows Store apps”—which are primarily built for use on tablets and other touch-based devices (but can still be used with a keyboard and mouse, and on desktop computers and laptops).