What is are Mobile Apps?

There is a revolution that is taking place in software development that parallels the changes in recent years in the music, publishing, and retail industries. Mass market is giving way to niche market, and with it, the era of highly priced large suites of integrated software is giving way to a new view of what software should be. Smartphones including the iPhone and Android have redefined what we mean by mobile computing, and in the past three to four years, the small, often simple, low cost software extensions to these devices — apps — have become a hotbed of development. New tools are free or sell for as little as 99 cents, and anyone can be a developer. A popular app can see millions of downloads in a short time, and that potential market has spawned a flood of creativity that is instantly apparent in the extensive collections available in the app stores — themselves a new way of delivering software that reduces distribution and marketing costs significantly. Apple’s app store opened in July 2008; Google’s followed in October of that year. Since then, simple but useful apps have found their way into almost every form of human endeavor.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012 Being able to reach your audience wherever they are, and without having to provide them with the technology is a game changer. The mobile marketplace has matured to the point that museums can almost rely on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) being a workable, defensible philosophy. Mobile holds the promise of finally allowing museums to ditch their websites as the only means of sharing their digital assets and tailoring experiences for discrete audiences, rather than continuing to build gigantic web edifices that mirror the physical museum.
  • It allows for more anecdotal information to be gathered and pushed to the user, say, if they are using a mobile device for a walking tour of the museeum via an app - skeer skeer Oct 16, 2012Another perspective here.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • A key factor in development strategy can be whether building native iOS and/or Android app(s), or building a web app (HTML5) that works well on various mobile devices, will offer the best fit with a given project's aims, development capabilities, and anticipated use cases. - rob.lancefield rob.lancefield Oct 10, 2012
  • I agree that mobile is bigger than iOS/Android, and that the advent of responsive web design and other methodologies offer platform/device independent solutions. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • I hope that the continued interest in mobile will become more and more intwined with lifelong learning initiatives, open badge efforts and other ways of reaching people where they are and giving them targeted knowledge that they want, when they want it. - ed.rodley ed.rodley Oct 15, 2012
  • Another perspective here.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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