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App vs Application

 , updated on May 24, 2017
An app is software that performs a single function for users. The term originated with small applications designed for early smart phones. At present, "app" is virtually synonymous with software for mobile devices.
An application is software that is primarily intended to be used by people. This differs from systems that offer services in areas such as automation, integration and data processing that don't necessarily need a user interface.

App vs Application

The term app evolved as an abbreviation of application to describe software for mobile devices. Early mobile devices had a great number of constraints such as a small screen, limited local computing resources and expensive bandwidth costs. As such, a unique software development culture emerged with apps that focused on single-function tools that are easy to use.
With time, people began to use apps on more powerful devices such as desktops. Such apps are attractive to users as they are lightweight and address a single set of customer needs. This differs from applications that are more likely to be large packages that include many functions.
App vs Application
Definition Software that addresses a single set of customer needs. Software that is primarily intended to be used by people.
Characteristics Single function
Simple UI
Potentially complex UI
Potentially large and heavy

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