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The growth of smartphones has changed the way people communicate and organise their daily lives, and the way businesses and organisations communicate with their audience.
You'll probably know this already, but a smartphone is a mobile phone with all the features mobile phones have seen added to them over the past decade, plus additional features that enable users to access the internet and use email, and much more.
They also run locally stored applications, apps for short, which are known in the industry as native apps, which are either completely standalone, or which communicate with, and via, the internet to some degree.
There are many types of app, from games, to useful tools, to apps which are essentially a locally stored version of a website, all of which can run quicker because they're stored locally, and can utilise device features (such as the camera, GPS, phone, text, email).
As smartphones run on four main smartphone operating systems - iOS (for iPhone), Android, RIM (for Blackberry) and Windows, anyone wanting to develop a native smartphone app needs to consider which operating systems to develop an app for.
Really Useful Apps can help you to decide on this, as the decision is based on a combination of market penetration, user profiles and cost.
We talk about the different operating systems in subsequent pages.