31 January 2011


Get App Happy

You have probably heard the term 'app' in recent years. And it's not just tech geeks bandying the word around. iPhone apps - or 'applications', which are basically computer programs designed to help users perform an activity on an iPhone - come in all types. And don't be daunted by tech speak, or if you don't have an iPhone - you might have used an app without even knowing it.

From the useful, to the comic, to the purely bizarre, apps have revolutionised mobile phone usage by bringing new technology to our fingertips. When apps were first introduced in 2008, 500 were available and none were downloaded in the first year. Since then numbers have risen dramatically.

In October 2010 it was calculated that there were more than 300,000 apps available and the download traffic has since increased to above seven million, with a huge variety of apps ranging from TV guides to social networking apps and addictive games.

For example for the sensible approach there's the financial app, Bloomberg, which allows you to keep your eye on the latest financial news headlines, world market updates and stock quotes, charts and news on your iPhone.

There's also the very useful FTP On the Go app which lets you securely log into your server from anywhere using your iPhone or iPod touch. You can download files and use its in text editor to fix text, find and replace features and save and upload your changes back to the server.

Then there's the barcode scanner for the iPhone which was launched by Tesco recently, enabling householders to scan grocery items and instantly add them to a home delivery order.

On the other hand there's the silly but amusing iPickupLines app - which suggests nonesense chat up lines when you need fast-track access to wisecracks like: 'Your eyes are as blue as my toilet water at home' and 'if you were the new burger at McDonalds you would be the McGorgeous!' (I kid you not). Lots of fun but not to be taken seriously.

Then there's the inane Rate a Fart 2.0 which allows you to 'relish a library of over 700 farts, then record and upload you own farts and share them with your friends. The list goes on"¦

Currently FDC - the full service design agency in Leicestershire - is developing iPhone apps for clients in fields such as the travel and agricultural industries with the hope of furthering their digital marketing proposition by designing an app that allows customers to browse and purchase their products straight from their mobile phone.

Dale Moreton, FDC's Managing Director, says: "We're working with any consumer-based business at the moment that wants to be able to reduce their marketing costs by having direct applications on iPhones where they can do push notifications and give them fingertip control of information within their sites, such as a holiday company. At your leisure, in a pub, you can search for a holiday.

"If it's a personalised card company like Moonpig you can find a card and you can do it online. If you're Amazon for instance you can buy a book while you're sat watching TV and use your credit card and pay for it and get it delivered the following day."

Whatever your technical aptitude it's worth opening your mind up to the prospect of apps. It might just make your life that little bit easier.


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