The Evolution Of Mobile Apps—How Have Apps Evolved Over The Years

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Presently, our lives revolve around mobile applications and the AppStore/ Play Store. Whether you need to wake up in the morning, do a quick workout, book a dinner table, or navigate the route to your client’s office, apps have brought everything at your fingertips. And that’s one reason why app businesses are flourishing. Think of those extremely efficient apps, such as OddsTrader App, Instagram, Zoom, etc.

However, let’s rewind a few years, precisely over two decades, to find how mobile applications have evolved. How they became an integral part of our lives and how they have undergone a dramatic change.

The History Of Mobile App Development

If you take a look back at the traditional days of mobile app designing and development, you will find that a majority of the first apps used were calculators, calendars, and some games developed in the Java framework. Surprisingly, IBM’s first-ever smartphone in 1993 came with features like a contact book, calendar, world clock, and calculator.

Fast forward to 2002, the next smartphone—the blackberry smartphone—was launched. It was considered a significant accomplishment in the field of mobile app development, marking the significance of Blackberry Limited, also referred to as Research in Motion Limited (RIM). This idea gave life to the integration of a concept known as wireless email.

Take a look at a few interesting facts about the first mobile phones below:

  • Users had to charge their mobile phones more than ten hours a day as these devices had very low battery life. This allowed the users to make a call hardly for 30 minutes a day as the mobile phones had to be kept for charging the rest of the time.
  • Network issues were another concern. The first mobile phones only allowed users to call people within close vicinities.

The Beginning Of The Mobile Phones Era

On 3 April 1973, Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first phone call on a handheld cellular phone to Dr Joel S. Engel of the Bell Labs. The device weighed nearly 1.1 kg at that time.

Over the next two decades, experts went on a spree to develop mobile apps for these devices. And finally, the R&D department of IBM introduced SIMON—the first smartphone with in-built mobile apps and email features—in 1993, exactly two decades after the first phone call was made. Released in the early 90s, this was the first smartphone with recognizable apps. 

The portable devices, aka PDAs, had their first operating systems called EPOC built on Psion. The 16-bit systems that executed EPOC’s user programs could run apps, such as databases, diaries, spreadsheets, and word processors.

In the future, models could accommodate a 32-bits OS and an integrated 2MB RAM, allowing users to add additional apps through their software packs.

And then came Palm OSes!

Developed by Palm Inc. in 1996, they were known as Garnet OS and were primarily designed for personal digital assistants. It featured a touchscreen graphical user interface alongside a few other basic apps and third-party apps programmed in C/C++. Later on, the wireless application protocol (WAP) browsers were introduced as an extension to these.


Wireless Markup Language

The wireless markup language was specially developed by the WAP Forum for devices dependent on XML and could be run across wireless application protocols. Light in weight, it worked on low bandwidths that were a feature of the mobile devices that existed in the late 90s. Additionally, it tore apart the existent strategies of HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language), which was then dependent on processing power.

This invention was closely followed by the Java ME or J2MEor JME—which was first introduced as JSR 68. It was later replaced by personalized Java, which became the most-liked programming language of many. This is the reason why it still exists in the programming field.

Further down the lane, Symbian was introduced. Developed by Symbian Ltd.—a joint venture by Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, and PSION, Symbian was an advanced version of PSION EPOC OS. Until 2008, this operating system was capable of running around 250 million devices.

Later on, smartphones and iPhones we use today were introduced to the world, making our lives a lot easier. Wit apps aplenty, these devices make it easier to get almost everything in our daily lives done quickly and efficiently. Think about how hard life would have been without the apps you use every day—including banking, social media, games, health and fitness, sports apps, and you name it.

Nearly 20,000 new apps are added to play stores every month. Amazing, right? Additionally, the number of iPhone app downloads reaches almost 30 billion, closely followed by Android app downloads, at nearly 15 billion.

Currently, we stand in a position where we can’t imagine how our ancestors survived without the luxury of these apps. But, the fact is that life went on even before these apps were introduced to the world.

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