Let us go on a time-traveling journey back into our lives when we were filled with naivety and thought feature phones were the best thing in the world. Applications then were just beginning to alter our lives. They were just meant to be games on app stores and nothing flamboyant of sorts. However, things changed in the blink of an eye. Applications kind of took over our lives and we are still scratching our heads like Jackie Chan thinking how.
There was a time when operating systems were judged on the basis of its ease of use and the interface but gone are those days. Nowadays, the operating systems are judged and selected by the number of applications they have on their app store instead of its other features. There have been Operating Systems which have totally shut down because of the focus totally shifting to applications.
Windows OS, Firefox OS, Web OS, Symbian OS are some of the Operating System which have died because of this phase shift. Windows OS was known and largely used amongst the mentioned systems. There are still some people who use windows phones but the trouble they have to go through to find certain applications is beyond Android or iOS users.
The main reason for the downfall of Windows phones is the focus of all the users shifting to applications. Compared to Android and iOS, Windows had minimal yet loyal users. However, because there were limited users major applications weren’t really looking to develop an application for the Windows platform and because these applications weren’t on Windows OS, nobody wanted to use a Windows phone.
Applications started to take over just over half a decade ago. They became the bridge for the companies to connect with the users. More so, they became what websites were in the 1990s, every company needed to have a website of their own. It is the same just websites have passed the baton to applications. There is an app for almost everything now. You name it and you have an application for that.
But, what about the future? Do applications have a future? Just like me, they don’t. Like all the things there is a replacement for apps as well. The change is actually happening right in front of us but not everyone can see it. There is a term Superapplications which might sound like a bit of French right now but hang on for a paragraph or two, you will get it.
So, imagine, you have to book a taxi, order a pizza, find a good restaurant and pay a vendor when you are out of cash, how many apps is that? Four. You will have to open four applications to do four things now imagine all those four applications in one application. Yes, that is a superapplication and they already exist. You read that right. WeChat is one such application which has over 800 million users. One can use the WeChat app for chatting, paying a friend, booking a taxi and much more. This application is one of its kind right now, although Facebook is getting there as fast as it could.
The next thing which might absolutely end application is a Chatbot. Skype already has a chatbot in place. You also have your assistants, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri all are certain kind of chatbots. For a superapplication to work you have to open a superapplication but when it comes to a chatbot or an assistant, you just have to talk to it.
Even now, Siri or Cortana can successfully book a cab, order a pizza, and find you the best possible rates for a flight without even you touching the phone. This has gone on another level with Alexa. Alexa, when connected to your credit card, can make purchases for you even now. This is the future. Companies, instead of developing applications will feed information to the assistants through API’s. This is where applications will cease to exist and something else of this sorts will take its place.
When this revolution happens and believe me it is just around the corner, one will select the OS based on their preferred assistants and not the applications like it is now. The companies will find ways to push their info to then aggregators like Siri or Cortana so that when I ask my assistant to book a cab it will use their services to do so instead of any other.
This is where the future lies, this is where the rule of applications ends, and this is where the assistants will take over us. In a few decades, there will be some other tech that will replace the assistants as well but there is something which will stay with us forever and that is our craving for technology, it is immortal.
– Unmesh Phule