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Smartphones are hot, but apps are hotter

gadgets Updated: Nov 04, 2012 22:27 IST
N Madhavan

We have had iPhone5 and we now have the iPad Mini. We have newer variants of the Samsung Galaxy. Nokia Lumia now has a Windows Phone 8 variant.

And I wonder, how long are we going to be discussing screen sizes, battery life and other physical features.

Like I say, paraphrasing an old Apple saying: it is not the smartphone/tablet; it is what you do with it that counts.

Applications, or apps are pieces of software that help you do everything from tracking the weather and news to help you read better on a shaky screen or learn music.

And I think 2013 will be the year of apps because better hardware design can only go so far.

Last week, I learnt that the Windows Phone operating system now had 120,000 apps. Rival platforms iOS and Andorid each have 700,000 in comparison.

There is a lot of catching up to do for Windows. Microsoft and Nokia are bound to put in great effort to enable more apps because that is what will indirectly drive demand for the gadgets and the platform software they sell together. reported on June 5 that there were 100,000 Windows apps, and an average of 313 was being added everyday. By that count, one should have seen 46,000 more by now.

The number is less as of now but the point is that apps are exploding.

Last weekend, I hung out with some Yahoo developers at an event called "Agency Hack" - in which digital advertising folks, helped by Yahoo's geeks, created rough-cut apps in 24 hours.

I was impressed by them, particularly one that matched blood donors with recipients using geographical positioning and tweets on Twitter. So you get an idea of what apps can really do in the emerging smartphone-linked universe.

Yahoo's technologists have created software tools that help app-makers cut across platforms like Android, Windows and iOS to take their apps faster to market. Such tools are bound to drive overall market dynamics. Maybe new gadget winners will have "exclusive apps" or services.

N Madhavan, Associate Editor