It's been said a million times and I'll say it again: applications are the backbone of the smartphone. Without hundreds of pointless games to kill endless hours with, a plethora of Twitter and other social media applications and literally an application for anything and everything you could possibly ever need, what purpose would a smartphone serve? It's the vast and ever-growing selection applications available that make them "smart" and worthwhile.
To date, over one million mobile applications are available to download or purchase. In fact, that milestone was hit just last week, as Apple's App Store soared past half a million applications (Mobilewalla claims almost 600,000) and Android Market quickly nears 350,000 apps (the last actual count, ten days ago, was 320,315). Other app stores are chipping in, too. Windows Phone's Marketplace is home to over 35,000 applications and BlackBerry App World claims over 43,000 in its repertoire.
If you ever had any doubt these mobile app stores aren't seeing enough download action, think again. Just nine days ago, Google kicked off a $0.10 app sale in honor of hitting 10 billion app downloads. And as of three days ago, App Store has over 18 billion downloads under its belt. So what does all of this prove? Not much beyond what we already know: smartphone users love their apps and as long as people keep downloading, Google and Apple will continue supplying content and developers will keep developing. These numbers are astronomical and no one can truly wrap their head around 18 billion downloads or over one million applications. Plain and simple, all of these numbers are nothing more than bragging rights and a few lot of fat checks.
What's interesting though, is something I came across on Twitter today. I read a tweet from someone I follow saying something along the lines of, "I need some new apps to download."
Maybe it's because I tend to stay so busy. Maybe it's because I spend so much time writing about phones while I'm working that the last thing I want to do when I'm done is play with one. Maybe I'm just strange, but that very thought rarely crosses my mind anymore.
It used to, back in the day. But after a few years with Android phones and about six months or so with an iPhone strapped to my side, I've pretty much discovered and purchased or downloaded all of the apps I want. Sure, the rare occasion might (and usually does) arise when I need a very specific app for an extremely niche purpose. But I never find myself just looking through Android Market or App Store, in search of something new or something to spend my money on. The only time I find myself looking for new apps to download is when they're on sale, like with Google's current promotion, and I can easily hoard the best apps – for that rare occasion, of course.
What's more is that I have my preset applications – my bare minimum necessities that I have to download from Android Market or App Store as soon as I activate a new phone. With these specific applications installed, all of my bases should be covered and I can use my phone with peace of mind, knowing that I should be able to take care of most anything I come across. The funny thing is, though, I rarely ever use any of these applications. The only ones I ever use daily anymore are Google Reader, ReadItLater, any of the various Twitter clients I use, Facebook, the camera app (and Gallery on Android or Camera Roll on iOS, of course), Google Talk and the browser. The rest of the 30 or so applications I have to download might gets used once per month, if not less.
And if I ever do just peruse an application catalog and find myself downloading an app or two, the chances of me ever actually using that app are slim to none. Most likely, I will forget I have downloaded it within minutes and when I come across it again – likely a week or two later – I will delete it.
So I'm curious, readers. Do you regularly find yourself checking Android Market or App Store for new and fresh applications and games? If you download or buy new apps, do you find yourself using them all the time? Or do you soon forget about them and question why you ever purchased/downloaded in the first place?