Belfast Telegraph

Smartphone apps

Want to know how to fly a plane, what to cook for dinner or how many stars there are in the sky?

These days, there's an app for everything.

Hundreds of new skills, facts and life lessons are accessible at the touch of a button by smartphone users across the world.

There are an estimated 150,000 apps for download on Apple's iTunes store alone - and the number of these handy gadgets is soaring on a daily basis.

Whether it's iConfess (the Catholic confession app), iBeer (drinking a virtual pint) or iFart (speaks for itself), there isn't a social activity that doesn't come with a pocket-sized electronic guide.

But with a new app being invented every 2.5 seconds, is there a risk that we're becoming too dependent on our smartphones?

Around three billion apps have been bought to date, with the average user downloading 11 new programs a month.

According to advertising firm AdMob, the iPhone app market is worth more than £75m-a-year and it's a boom economy that shows no signs of abating.

As Apple boss Steve Jobs put it, apps are "the most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price".

So what's all the fuss about?

For those of us still struggling to use a touchscreen, iPhone and Android apps are a bit of a minefield and behind all the hype are a lot of silly ideas.

From the popular Pimple Popper to PocketHeat, the fake hand-warmer, and mooing app Hello Cow, there is a host of totally useless applications out there to while away a rainy day.

With the market saturated by joke-buys and one-use apps, it's a wonder so many of us are glued to our phones.

But apps aren't based on novelty alone. Currency-converters, news platforms and language-translators are just some of the gadgets that make smartphones so essential.

Tesco's Groceries has a built-in shopping barcode scanner, while Parking Buddy helps forgetful drivers find where they've parked their cars.

In a world where gadgets are taking over, apps have become a vital part of our daily existence.

For those to us too busy ever to put down our phones, the clever iType2Go app even superimposes an image of the ground beneath your feet onto your screen so you can text while walking along.

As they say in tech circles, there really is an app for that.

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From Belfast Telegraph