The term “responsive web design” came into existence as recently as 2010, less than three years ago at the time of this writing, and as such it might be a bit unfair to call upon the internet as a whole to rally around it so quickly. However, the fact of the matter is that if we are going to embrace responsive web design the time is now. The smartphone industry has been blooming for years now and tablets are certainly on the rise. In fact, over the course of 2013 tablet sales are expected to reach a remarkable 100 million units sold, perhaps even surpassing notebook PCs in popularity. Many popular sites have responded to this technological sea change by launching platform-specific apps, but this will soon prove to not be enough. The fact of the matter that, while a well-designed app is certainly a great resource, if your site is difficult to access when viewed online during regular internet surfing then your popularity will suffer. Smartphones and tablets distort the look of any site they view through the size of their screen alone. Frequently, the platforms render the text and menu options on the sites they visit too small to read or use comfortably. Clearly, something must be done, and the commonly touted answer is nothing less than the aforementioned “responsive web design.”
Back in early 2010, some of Papa John’s customers suddenly began receiving text messages for deals and promotions from the pizzeria. No big deal except they would sometimes receive 15 - 20 of these text solicitations per day and furthermore sometimes in the middle of the night. A lawsuit was filed against Papa John’s ultimately stopping these practices.
With Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) so thoroughly dominating the mobile OS market, it certainly seems unlikely that they will be unseated from their lofty perches any time soon. However, a new competitor has recently emerged in the mobile platform game, Mozilla’s Firefox OS, and it brings with it a number of compelling features which suggest it just might emerge as a viable rival. Announced last year as Boot to Gecko, the project is designed to generate an unprecedented level of compatibility between smartphones and the internet. Should the venture prove successful, it could potentially usher in a line of highly intuitive, simple, cheaply-priced smartphones, an appealing prospect indeed, and considering the fact that the platform has found support with a number of large telecoms like Spring and Telefónica, it seems likely that some level of success is imminent. The ultimate pursuit of Mozilla’s efforts is inclusion, both of the strapped for cash and the technologically shaky, as well as the disgruntled app developer.
There are certain apps that Android and iOS users are almost guaranteed to have already incorporated into their smartphones, Facebook mobile and Angry Birds (and/or Angry Space Birds in SPACE) for example. However, some may not realize just how powerful a tool their phones can truly be. Through the utilization of downloadable apps, you can transform your Droid or iPhone into a veritable renaissance machine capable of fulfilling the most mundane of your dreams. Below I have gathered together, in no particular order, a list of fifteen free applications (almost uniformly available on both Android and iOS) which might be a bit less obvious a download than the aforementioned intergalactic bird flinging simulator but considerably more useful. Utilizing apps such as these can unlock a great deal of hidden potential buried deep within your cellular devices.