Monday, July 05, 2010

Unfortunately There Is An App For That

Just a few weeks ago the whole e-world was buzzing about the release of the iPhone 4. Lines formed days in advance so that e-geeks of all stripes could be the first on their block to have the very newest smart phone. Heaven forbid you would have a phone still operating on a 3G network even though 4G networks are still quite scarce.

Droids, iPhones, the Pre and many other models have become the “must have” electronic device and with these smart phones come all types of applications software or apps. Some apps are nothing short of awesome, others border on the ridiculous. The list of available apps grows by the hour as software developers in offices and in basements throughout the world write apps for phones.

The term “smart phone” is becoming a real misnomer as the devices do so much more than make phone calls. In fact, for many models, making a phone call may be the one application that the device does not do well. That may be the topic of a future essay.

There are a number of basic apps that you may wish to download to your phone. Most cost less than 5 bucks and can download and install in less than five minutes. For the iPhone they all must pass the Apple “good housekeeping seal of approval” before they are released.

While the Droid, Pre and other less popular phones have plenty of apps, the number doesn’t come close to the iPhone offerings. Nevertheless, you can get the most helpful apps for most any phone.

Right now on my Pre Plus I have an app that gives me the local weather, keep me abreast of local and national news, plays music from various radio stations, displays my current location on a map and helps me tune my guitar. Of course, I also have my calendar and address book loaded as well.

I have a friend who has hundreds of apps loaded on his iPhone and delights in wowing his friends by using his iPhone as a flute or imagining himself on the bridge of the starship Enterprise using his iPhone as a tricorder. Not my cup of tea, Captain Kirk.

The smart phone is quickly becoming the Swiss Army Knife of business. The computing power is derived from both the sophistication of the device design and the network to which it is connected. Look for specialized apps in the medical diagnostic field to come to market soon. Who knows, the next time you call your doctor he or she may be able to check out all your vital signs via your phone. Perhaps that tricorder isn’t such a bad idea.

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