The History of Apps

I believe that we should start by having a clear understanding of what is a Mobile Application. According to research it is a computer-generated program designed to run in a variety of devices. It can produce information in a variety of areas such as: news, health, social interests, games, financial, entertainment to mention a few.

Initially apps were rooted in the devices, could not be modified or removed. They had limited scope and provided services such as: the calculator, contacts, calendar and introduced the concept of “waste time games” with games called Snake, Tetris, Pong and Tic-Tac-Toe. An important achievement was reached in 2002 when the concept of wireless email was introduced by Blackberry Limited.

In 1996 personal digital assistants came to the market. They provided touch screens and allowed for third party apps to be purchased and downloaded. Thais was possible due to the creation of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) standard. This meant the personalisation of the device with wallpapers and ringtones. Although there were shortfalls to the implementation such as memory and bandwidth constraints of the phone or very heavy WWW pages not compatible with the requirements of a WAP phone which preferred a Wireless Markup Language (WML). WML is the much simpler version in design to WWW pages. This made WAP browsers slow and frustrating, not forgetting the incredible high prices charged for the most basic applications. All these contribute to its end.

2007 was a very definitive year in the history of mobile technology as the first IPhone was launched, it allowed for touch screen and in 2008 competitors launched Android market. The Google phone HTC Dream is the first phone to have android mobile operating system. These developments gave way to the two biggest app stores are Google Play for Android and App Store for iOS.

Mobile Apps Developers have sprung up from all levels of society and as per a report, “There were 19 billion software developers across the world in the year 2014, and the number would grow to a whopping 25 billion by 2020”. Nowadays, India, Russia and China are seeing fast growth in the number of mobile app developers in compared to the first world countries that produced more mobile applications developers once. Ref:

Commercially, the app market is seeing the revenue of more than $30 billion yearly and still growing. The year of 2014 was witnessed over 138 million app downloads in a single year, with an estimation of downloads reaching 268 million by the year 2017.



  1. ADWEEK 2015, INFOGRAPHIC: The History of Mobile Apps, By David Cohen, viewed: 05/03/17, <>
  2. History of Mobile Applications, MAS 490: Theory and Practice of Mobile Applications, by: Professor John F. Clark, viewed: 06/03/17,   <>
  3. Linkedin 2013, History of The Developments of Mobile Applications, By Emma Roberts, viewed: 05/03/17, <>
  4. MANIFESTO 2014, A History of Mobile Application Development, By Simon Bates, viewed: 05/03/17, <>
  5. Prezi 2015, A History of Mobile Apps, by AVG Technologies, viewed: 05/03/17, <>
  6. Co 2015,Tracing the History and Evolution of Mobile Apps, By Mehul Rajput, viewed: 06/03/17,  <>
  7. The Guardian 2015, 1983 to today: A History of Mobile Apps, By Matt Strain, viewed: 06/03/17, <>
  8. Wikipedia 2017, Mobile App, By Wikipedia, viewed: 06/03/17, <>



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