What is an application?
You may have heard people talking about using an application, or an app. But what exactly does that mean? An app is a type of software that allows you to perform specific tasks. Applications for desktop or laptop computers are sometimes called desktop applications, and those for mobile devices are called mobile apps. When you open an application, it runs inside the operating system until you close it. Much of the time, you will have more than one application open at the same time, and this is known as multi-tasking.
Watch the video to learn about how applications are used.
App is a common term for an application, especially for simple applications that can be downloaded cheaply or even for free. Many apps are also available for mobile devices and even some TVs.
Types of desktop applications
There are countless desktop applications out there, and they fall into many different categories. Some are more full-featured (like Microsoft Word), while others may only do one or two things (like gadgets). Below are just a few types of applications you might use:
- Word processors: A word processor allows you to write a letter, design a flyer, and create many other kinds of documents. The most well-known word processor is Microsoft Word.
- Personal finance: Personal finance software, such as Quicken, allows you to keep track of your income and expenses, create a budget, and more. Most personal finance programs can automatically download information from your bank so you don't have to manually add your transactions.
- Web browsers: A web browser is the tool you use to access the Web. Most computers come with a web browser pre-installed, but you can also download a different one if you prefer. Examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari.
- Games: There are many different games you can play on your computer. They range from card games such as Solitaire to action games like Halo 2. Many action games require a lot of computing power, so they may not work unless you have a newer computer.
- Media players: If you want to listen to MP3s or watch movies you've downloaded, you'll need to use a media player. Windows Media Player and iTunes are popular media players.
- Gadgets: Sometimes called widgets, these are simple applications you can place on your desktop (or on the Dashboard if you're using a Mac). There are many different types of gadgets, and they include calendars, calculators, maps, and news headlines.