The world of mobile phones has really changed with the increased popularity of smartphone apps. The idea of loading applications on a cellular phone is not new, but the accessibility of these apps has certainly pushed the industry in a new direction.
Smartphone Apps for Different Platforms
It is undeniable that smartphone apps really rose to the surface with the arrival of the Apple iPhone 3G and the corresponding iTunes App Store. The iPhone was not the first phone with applications -- people were able to load third-party applications on their Windows Mobile devices for ages, as an example -- but it was one of the first to offer a unified storefront that was easily accessible directly from the phone itself. This ease of use made for a very popular platform.
Following the iPhone, other platforms started to offer similar virtual marketplaces and storefronts where users could easily browse, download, and purchase a wide variety of applications for their respective smartphones. None of these offer the same number of apps as the iTunes App Store, but that's not to say that they can't offer the same kind of variety. After all, many iPhone apps are actually very similar, virtually duplicating their functionality.
Ovi Store for Nokia Smartphones
Nokia continues to be the largest cell phone maker in the world, despite the perceived popularity of devices from other manufacturers. The company is losing market share, but it still has a very large established base of users who proudly own and use their Symbian-based smartphones.In addition to third-party applications available from a multitude of sources on the Internet, it is also possible to get Nokia smartphone apps through the official Ovi Store. Available both via a computer browser and through the app on a Nokia phone, users can find such applications as Gravity (a Twitter client), Endomondo (a fitness app), and JewelSpin (a puzzle game).
BlackBerry App World
Many people seem to assume that the BlackBerry line of devices from Canada's Research in Motion (RIM) is only good for corporate users who need to synchronize with their Outlook calendars and business e-mail accounts. While this remains a huge source of business for RIM, the company has quickly expanded into the consumer realm as well with phones like the BlackBerry Pearl and BlackBerry Torch.In like manner, it is possible to find a range of BlackBerry applications through the BlackBerry App World. This functions in much the same way as the iTunes App Store, except purchases can be funneled through a PayPal account for payment. Through App World, users can download tip calculators, Opera web browsers, Facebook applications, and so much more.
While the BlackBerry App World is only good for BlackBerry phones and the Ovi Store is only good for Nokia phones, Android Market supports a range of devices from a number of different manufacturers. As long as the phone runs on the Google Android platform, it should be able to access Android Market to find a range of Android applications. This is true for the HTC Droid Incredible, the Samsung Galaxy S, the Motorola Droid X, and countless other options from different manufacturers and wireless providers. Stay on top of Twitter, download the metal detector, make use of Google Googles, and more with apps from the Android Market.
iTunes App Store
To date, the iTunes App Store contains over 200,000 different applications for the Apple iPhone. Many of these are compatible with the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and the iPhone 4, though a select number will only work with the iPhone 4 because of special requirements. Others will only work if your device has been upgraded to iOS 4 or newer.Whether you want to read books with Kindle, share your location with Foursquare, or take better pictures with Camera+, the App Store has you covered.
There's an App for That
Many people will assume that the iPhone is the best place to find apps for smartphones, but that isn't necessarily the case. There are many BlackBerry or Android apps, for instance, that cannot be found on other platforms. Keep an open mind and download at will, because you'll likely find an app that'll fill just about any need.