After a bout of doing some ASO research with the AMA, I was thinking about the first apps and just how revolutionary apps have changed our lives. This lead me to the question, what was the first app in the app store? Even though the term “App Store” is synonymous with the iOS App Store, I wanted to know about the first apps in the major app markets. That includes Google Play and yes, even you Amazon Appstore.
Why? Because I love trivia and history, the same reason you’re still reading this sentence. So I set off to do some research to find out what were the first apps in the app markets.
But first, let’s define a criteria for this encapsulated trivia question: What do you think of when you think of an app? My first experience with an “app” was playing Snake on my first cell phone, a Nokia 3360. Later it was Oregon Trail. For all intents and purposes, games and utilities on those early cell phones could be considered apps.
When someone first thinks of the word app, the general thoughts are of the current apps found on most smart phones we find today. So to answer our question, “what was the first app in the app store”, we will start in 2008 with the launch of the most popular app store in history, the App Store (iOS).
First App In The iOS App Store
The iOS App Store was first released on July 10, 2008 and the world would never be the same. There are specific technological moments in our history where new advances literally change our lives in almost all ways, and the iPhone was one of those moments. We are a society of self-made cyborgs (yes there are several levels of cyborgism).
Try watching a movie when smart phones did not exist, it’s like another world, something reminiscent of simpler times. My son saw someone with a flip phone the other day and asked what it was; I should show him my old Nokia.
By July 11, there were almost 500 apps available to download in the iOS App Store. By January 2009, the App Store had over 7,500 apps available. My introduction to this was reading a story about an app developer who published an app called I Am Rich that costed $1,000. All it did was place a glowing jewel on your home screen. Really? People were actually buying it. Really? As a web developer at that time, all I could think about was that I was in the wrong industry.
Enough fluff, time for the reveal.
The first app in the App Store was a trick question. Ha Ha he he Ha. There was no single app, there were actually over 500 iOS apps that went live at the time of the store launch. These were first revealed by Steve Jobs at WWDC 2008. Below is a list of some of the first apps in the App Store:
- PhoneSaber – Star Wars sound effect app.
- Rolando – Angry Birds pre-cursor.
- Remote – Still popular today, allows you to control many different devices.
- Evernote – The staple in note-taking apps
- New York Times App – Newspaper goodness on your phone without the need of washing your hands
First App in Google Play
Not too far after Apples store launch, Google released their own app store focusing on the robust Android operating system on October 22, 2008. They called it, Google Play Store (Android Market). The epic battle between good and evil begins (I’ll let you figure out who’s who), much like the old SNES and Sega battles of old.
Anyone remember those first Android commercials? DROOOOOID <in a cyborg voice>. Man those were cool, enough to make me want to shirk all my other development tasks/responsibilities and purely focus on having Google Play babies.
The first apps on Google Play were free, paid apps were not introduced until Q1 of 2009
Google Play launched with about 50 apps. Those apps included multimedia, location-based tools, bar-code scanners, travel guides and games. The following is a list of the available Android apps as of the 23 of October from the now defunct Google Play Store URL, “http://www.android.com/market” (precursor to Google Play):
- Amazon MP3 for Android
- Bonsai Blast
- Bubble Bash
- College Football Live
- Compare Everywhere
- Cooking Capsules™ Taster
- iMap Mobile
- imeem for Android
- iSkoot For Skype
- PAC-MAN by Namco
- Pro Football Live
- WikiMobile Encyclopedia
- Wikitude – Mobile Global Travel Guide
First App on the Amazon Appstore
The Amazon Appstore was officially launched on March 22, 2011 running a customized Android operating system. At launch, there were nearly 3,800 apps available.
My experience with Amazon’s Appstore is much like that friend you had when you were a kid who was always threatening to take his ball home if he didn’t get his way. While it is Android based, you can only download their preferred Android apps on their devices, namely Kindles.
I have no problem with the Kindle, it’s decent and can give other Android devices a run for their money, it’s the inclusiveness of the Android apps that bothers me. Oh the battles I have fought just trying to watch an Amazon Prime video on a non-Kindle device.
With that said, the “One Paid App a Day For Free” was a cool incentive (now Amazon Underground).
So what was the first app on the Amazon Appstore? Here are a few of the 3,800 apps launched when the Amazon Appstore went live:
- Angry Birds Rio (exclusive)
- Angry Birds
- Airport Mania
- More Angry Bird Titles
- Shazam Encore
- Funny Test
- Even More Angry Bird Titles
So what was the first app in the app store? That simple answer, many. Most developers had beta access to the various app SDK’s, so on the official store launch date, many apps that were published together.
Finding what was the first app in the app store intrigued me to know ends, especially as an app developer myself. Researching this data was a lot more difficult than I originally planned, but interesting none the less. I had to really dig deep through old web archives simply because much of this data does not exist in common internet places anymore. Every now and then I get to write an article that lets my pessimistic sarcastic personality out of the closet and breath, this article was not it.
My first app I downloaded was on my Android was a tower defense game (when they were cool).
What was the first APP you downloaded on your first smart phone?