app store (application store)

An app store (application store) is an online portal through which software programs are made available for procurement and download.

All major mobile operating system vendors, including Apple, Google, BlackBerry and Microsoft, run their own app stores, which gives them control over the software available on their respective platforms. There are also several third-party app stores in operation; examples include the Amazon Appstore for Android and Cydia for jailbroken iOS Apple devices.

The app store concept became popular with the rise of smartphones and tablets, but it has since expanded to Web browsers and desktop operating systems. The Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome browsers each have their own stores, where users can install Web-based applications. Mac OS X and Windows 8 desktop applications are also available through app stores.

A related concept is the enterprise app store, an IT-controlled portal that makes specific, approved business applications available to end users.


This was last updated in March 2013

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