There is an app for that

This phrase has come and gone.  It went from a hugely successful catchphrase to”duh, that’s so obvious” it goes without saying.  I think this was one of those really big shifts (notice I didn’t use the term pyridine shift because I don’t want to be considered one of those people).  It’s one of those changes like the proverbial 500 mile an hour tidal waves, the people out on the ocean don’t even feel it (us) but when it bumps up against some island or coastline (Microsoft, HP) it feels like the end of the world.apps

Back in the day, people thought to themselves . . . I need a computer to write letters, make a newsletter, keep notes on my projects . . . and you were told to get a PC and a program like Microsoft Word because it could do that and so much more!  So you bought it (for big bucks) and you proceeded to use about 10% of it’s capabilities.  A year or two later you were told you needed the next version of Word because it could do everything the old version of Word could do PLUS it could do it in 17 languages, and 20 extra fonts, and a more sophisticated mail merge!  So you bought it.  Now you are using 5% of it’s capabilities.  And so it went.

The first apps were extremely simple and not very powerful. Turns out, that if you wanted a reminder to meet your friends for dinner you didn’t need a big powerful relatively expensive time management application.  “Yes, but can your tiny (free) app tell you how many hours you spent at dinner, what your mealtime efficiency quotient is, what about color coded tasks in 67 different languages ?????”  “No, no and no.  And I am OK with that.”  Gasp!  And you know what?  People were OK with that at least most people.  Others were in denial that you would reject color coded tasks in 67 different languages.

Because these apps were simple and they ran on devices that you seldom paid more than a couple of hundred dollars for, they were either free or cheap.  A copy of Word could cost more than your phone.  More importantly, now people think “I want a really simple way to send my friend a note”  or “I just want to know how hard the wind is blowing down at the beach”.  And you know what, that’s right, there’s and app for that.

Of course, phones and tables have more power and memory than most of the PCs that have been sold in the past.  Apps are growing back into applications, it’s inevitable.  But, the next big thing is wearable computing and the little jobs they will do will be a lot like the little focused apps the phone ushered in.  That my friend is a whole nother can of worms.

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