No Smartphone? Never Fear – Apps For All Are (Hopefully Soon) Here
Explicating the trendiness and popularity of intelligent mobile devices these days, smartphones such as the iPhone and Android smack of technological superiority. They flaunt generously sized display touch screens; only they are entitled to the Internet-surfing speed and power of the 4G network; those who shell out the big bucks to buy them can also enjoy new video conferencing features, such as FaceTime on the iPhone.
But easily the clearest indicator of status change between a smartphone and a lesser “dumb phone” entity is the capacity to delve into the can-do-everything-for-you world of applications, or apps.
Technically termed as application software, there is no shortage as to the number of apps available for users of smartphones of every stripe. The Apple store now advertises at least 500,000 different apps for the iPhone, while the iPad still profits from a more modest figure of 140,000 such programs. Droid adherents select from a nearly equally impressive selection of 400,000 apps for their devices.
The most popular apps tend to balloon beyond the mobile device community and aim for a place in the popular zeitgeist. Such hit apps as “Angry Birds,” which massacres the fervent competition for number-one status, strike chords both on and away from the phone. Applications for Facebook, Skype, and Google Maps are nearly as popular, as they prove incredibly useful in on-the-go situations with a cell phone in tow.
Sad news for those of us sans smartphones: the lack of a proper operating system, or OS, bars us from this world of delicious attractive apps aplenty. Or, at least it did.
Word broke last month that the Finnish start-up called Blaast has devised the technology needed to create an OS catering toward non-smartphones, enabling them to partake in the app craze. It’s only fitting that our beloved cloud computing is behind this potentially monumental shift in the status quo of mobile technology and the social politics of the smartphone / “dumb phone” debate.
Blaast rightly attacks the smartphone craze, its manifesto declaring that they “are just too expensive for emerging markets.” As Blaast seeks to capitalize on “the next billion people who will [access the Internet for the first time via] a mobile phone,” the company has created a cloud-based operating system, empowering much more affordable non-smartphones to do every app-lovable that smartphones can, on the cheap.
Like everything good and beta-testable, Blaast’s breakthrough offering unfortunately won’t launch in the sink-or-swim mobile climate of America. Instead, founder Joonas Hjelt has opted to develop his cloud-mobile revolution in the more tenable market of Jakarta, Indonesia — a move that will also let Hjelt and co. refine their commitment to low pricing for this vital, technologically democratizing service.
By Jeff Norman