Mobile Applications Overview

Mobile applications are a rapidly developing segment of the global mobile market.

They consist of software that runs on a mobile device and performs certain tasks for the user of the mobile phone. Mobile applications (also known as downloadables) are common on most phones, including inexpensive, entry-level models. Their wide use is due to the many functions they perform, including providing user interfaces for basic telephony and messaging services, as well as for advanced services such as games and videos. Other examples include tools for downloading and reading blogs.

Many mobile applications, such as SMS/MMS clients, browsers and music players, come pre-installed on mobile phones, whereas others may be provisioned and/or configured post-sales. For example, user can download applications over the wireless network and then install them themselves, or they can have them loaded and installed in the mobile operator's store. Regardless of how they're delivered to users, mobile applications are a large and continuously growing market and served by an increasing number of mobile application developers, publishers and providers.

There is a long list of types of mobile applications. Without getting too technical this is a list of the runtime environment in which they are executed: Native platforms, Mobile web/browser runtimes, Other managed platforms and virtual machines.

Mobile applications have evolved to the point that they now give users a rich and fast user experience. In this respect, mobile applications are distinctly different from browsing the Mobile Web which is still characterized by latencies due to page load times (albeit there are some emerging trends around JavaScript/Ajax and mobile widgets which will cross over between both worlds, i.e. providing fast response times once loaded).

The 50 Best Free iPhone Apps of 2012

  November 13, 2012 - By Jill Duffy (PCMag)

Looking for some new apps for your iPhone, risk-free? Here are 50 great apps that cost nada.

Not everything in life is free, but many great iPhone apps are. And when you can find good software for free, take it.

This list of the best free iPhone apps highlights 50 apps that we at PCMag think have shown outstanding performance, have been well received by a variety of technology users, and are truly "free." No gimmicks, no "membership required" or in-app purchase necessary. Free. Period.

Apple's App Store for iPhone is a veritable bazaar of freebies, and while plenty of them are quite good, many more are duds. We at PCMag sort through hundreds if not thousands of apps a year looking for the best of the best, as well as those elusive and as-yet undiscovered gems, apps that work well or accomplish some feat you didn't even know you needed or wanted to do.

Missing from this list are apps and features (like Siri and Passbook) that come pre-installed on the iPhone, although they are certainly not to be ignored. In particularly, Apple's apps for iTunes, Music, and the App Store typically see a fair share of well-deserved usage, but I suppose you technically paid for them because you bought the phone, so they're not really free, are they? In any case, you don't need to choose to download them, so we're not listing them here. Sadly, Apple's Podcast app is one you do have to download and install separately, but it didn't make this list due to its confusing interface (a serious downer for me, personally).

Games only took three slots on this list, in part because a lot of great games aren't freeā€”for more iPhone game recommendations, including paid apps, see "The 25 Best iPhone Games."

To see the 50 best free iPhone apps of 2012, click through the links below to find PCMag are always on the lookout for the next great app!

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