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Phone applications (apps)

Description

 The term app has been used as shorthand for "application" in the IT community for decades but became newly popular for mobile applications. These tools can be added to the most top of the range mobile phone devises. The idea behind an application is to enhance the handset so that it is more than just a device for texting and calling. With added applications a mobile phone can now be anything you want it to be, from a personal organiser, to a calorie counting device.  
Mobile phone apps are relatively small in comparison to comprehensive desktop applications; however, mobile apps can be quite sophisticated. Generally speaking, they are smaller programmes targeted for a specific use.

Examples

  • NHS Choices – have devised specific mobile phone applications that be downloaded to you handset at no charge. One such application is the Alcohol tracker which can calculate the units a person drinks, track an individual’s drinking over weeks and months, gain personalised feedback on your drinking and Find local NHS local services.
  • Mobile phone apps are being developed to support healthcare in developing countries
  • An example from the USA of using mobile phone apps in a local government context for making complaints and retrieving local data

Benefits and advantages

  • People can access information straight from their mobile phone
  • Does not necessarily demand an internet connection for general use
  • Easily downloadable

Risks and disadvantages

  • Limited by the size of the data that they can hold
  • If they require external data to work they may require access to wireless or incur data charges on the user’s mobile account
  • Sometimes there is a small charge incurred when downloading them
  • Due to the expensive nature of mobile phones that can be used with apps, this product excludes people on lower incomes