Is there honestly an app for that? Smartphone users these days are bombarded by a vast array of phone applications (more commonly known as apps) that can either be very useful, or very unnecessary. Many users have applications that they use on a daily basis, and of course the rogue one they never use. Every day smartphone users have a myriad of apps that can predict the weather or kill some time with a simple game.
Assistant professor of advertising Dorothy Pisarski recently attended a luncheon sponsored by the American Advertising Federation of Des Moines, where she heard Cello Vergara from the digital production agency, Propaganda Three, talk about the growth of apps in the advertising world. Pisarski learned about the competitive world of smartphone applications, where it can take up to two months before an app is approved by moderators at one of the big three smartphone companies.
The oldest of these brands is BlackBerry, which was initially targeted more toward the business world. The Apple iPhone was soon to follow and the newest of the three is the Google developed Android Platform.
“An application can simply be the same as a website one can find online or a stand-alone interactive package,” Pisarski said. She uses a HTC smartphone that, like the Motorola Droid, uses Android operating system. Her phone came preloaded with many applications, such as Gmail.
A smartphone user can get more than just the preloaded applications by downloading hand-picked applications from various venues. Owners of an iPhone can simply go to the online iTunes store, Droid users can purchase apps from the Android Market and those who have a BlackBerry can use the BlackBerry App World. Most applications are relatively inexpensive, and there are thousands of apps that customers can download for free.
Apps have to go through quite a rough process before users can enjoy them. A more serious application goes through many stages before it can be put on the market.
Pisarski noted that the speaker said the approval process involved filling out forms, loading in the program to the company and then waiting until it is approved or denied. Apple Inc. uploads all of the applications once a week for approval and sends back a few comments about the application’s status.
What applications do smartphone users use?
First-year student Coy Clark is an avid Droid user. While he admits he is not a “huge app person,” he does frequently use his eBay, Pandora and weather applications to simplify his life. Other apps he uses include Skype, Google Sky Map, Whoopee Cushion and, of course, Facebook because he is “addicted to it.”
Clark also enjoys a function on his phone that allows him to speak what he wants to text. Instead of typing a simple saying, he can speak it into the microphone of his Droid and it will automatically transfer it to text form. Another function that makes his life easier is his GPS application.
iPhone user Chris Goodwin, a first-year pre-pharmacy major, also uses various applications on his smartphone to keep up with his friends and the current news. One of his favorite apps takes all headlines from news media and puts them together. He utilizes the Weather app, a banking app, various games and the Facebook app.
Goodwin said Facebook is the app he uses most because it is “convenient to keep in contact with friends.”
Goodwin said he there are some apps he doesn’t use, for example, the preinstalled stock market apps because it doesn’t pertain to him as much as the others. His most useful app on the other hand, is his e-mail app—he has his personal and Drake e-mail accounts linked to his phone.
“If a teacher has an announcement, I can get it right away,” Goodwin said.
Monica Papuga, a junior public relations major, is a BlackBerry user who has applications such as Twitter, Facebook, BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), BlackBerry App World, Social Beat and Weather Eye. She uses her BBM all the time because it no longer limits her text messages to 150 characters. She can even send full-length e-mails if necessary.
“As a public relations major, social media is really important,” Papuga said. She also uses her Facebook and Twitter apps frequently. One of the more odd applications she has heard of is the National Geographic Birds app. Another helpful app for her is the Navigation App that acts as a GPS that updates daily and can predict delays in traffic and even report the gas prices of nearby gas stations.
Pisarski uses applications, too. She notes that the USA Today app is helpful in finding out headlines and scores from recent sporting events. She also spends a lot of time using an app called Jewel, which is a game much like Bejeweled. An app she doesn’t use too often is the Memory Trainer app.
“I realized that I don’t have to be tethered to a computer anymore,” Pisarski said. Now she can get most anything she wants or needs on her smartphone.
Whether smartphone users run on a BlackBerry, iPhone or Andriod platform, they are bound to have at least one app downloaded. The purpose of an app can be highly practical, like a State Farm application that can help report auto accidents, or purely for fun with games like Bubble Wrap or Jewel. People who own a smartphone can customize their apps to fit their lifestyle, which is why phone apps are growing in popularity.
The mobile phone is one of the most important devices a college student carries around. No matter which smartphone you own, or what you are looking for, “there is probably an app for that.”