Are killer apps a thing of the past?

I remember a few years back when Twitter was young and great, Facebook was viewed with more positive eyes than it is today and the mobile app stores were just starting out. Good times. It was also about this time that I heard the phrase killer app. For the uninitiated a killer app was often seen as an indispensible app that would help push the sales of the platform the app was run on. Simply put, people would buy the hardware needed to run the app in question. Back then, it seemed that every month there was a new app or service that would be tagged as the next killer app.

Fast forward to today and it’s not something I’ve heard often in the technology press. It’s still used to describe some apps but not as much. I still follow the same technology sites I did a few years ago, so what’s different?

The world has changed. There’s less of a technology barrier now than there’s ever been and that due to the small device that you’re probably reading this on. Over the last few years mobile apps and services have reduced, or in some cases removed, the complicated steps that would be required to carry out a specific task or action. Along with this simplification comes a growing market of companies and indie developers who all us to use their app. And the demand for apps shows no sign of slowing down. I was browsing through the productivity category of the App Store and there are hundreds of apps in this category. There are just so many choices.

Another factor in this is that the mobile market is not tied to one particular platform. In the past when mobile hardware platforms were getting past their first couple of release iterations, it was certainly clear that alot of people preferred the Apple platform and there were many apps that persuaded people to buy Apple’s hardware. Today though the market is more evenly divided. Apple and Google have their share along with others like Blackberry and Microsoft. I would be hard pressed to pick an app that certainly fits the name of killer app and that’s due to the fact that many apps are available on not just a single platform.

Which leads me to think that perhaps we’re past the stage of killer apps. With such a huge market for applications, there are dozens of apps that let you achieve the same result through different methods. Maybe now we’re not looking for killer apps, perhaps we’re looking for game changing apps. Not just new ways of doing things, but whole new markets of the mobile apps.

Wearable technology is still fairly new and with Apple’s new smartwatch due for release soon, there will be many tech pundits looking for the next killer app for wearable technology. Whether this becomes a market in mobile apps or a completely new market remains to be seen. Given the recent release of similar products by other technology firms though, I don’t think there will ever be a killer app for wearable tech.

Is the killer app dead? I would say yes for the foreseeable future but it certainly won’t stop business and developers using the title to promote their apps. I think it will take a whole new field of technology before we see true killer apps again. Apple Lense anyone?