For a decade, software applications have populated increasingly powerful mobile devices. The apps and the mobile platforms they inhabit have become ubiquitous in daily life, and expectations on developers are sky high. Fishing apps need to be well designed, easy to use, and fully integrated with the rest of our tech-filled lives.
Birth of a Category
According to Wikipedia, a software application is a computer software designed to perform a set of coordinated activities for the benefit of the user. The term began evolving to the convenient handle, app, in the late 2000s.
An explosion of smartphone use drove the change. Moore's Law and its associated massive advances in processor speed created faster computers, but also created smaller computing devices. Within a generation, incredible computing power went from desk, to lap, to pocket.
Match Made for the Field
Because of their small size, portability and — thanks to competition for the iPhone to start the 2010s — lower cost, taking to the outdoors with smartphones (and later their brethren the tablets and "phablets") was no longer unthinkable.
These powerful handheld computing platforms ran headlong into the unmet market of recreational anglers in need of software to help them explore their passion in the field. It was unexplored territory.
Demand for fishing apps exploded.
Bring Your Own Device
But there was already a precedent for high tech in the field: fish finders. Around the same time as the first smartphones appeared, fish finders had already been doing networked, multi-functional activity in the great outdoors. These features extended started with high-end systems and began migrating to smaller and smaller category entrants.
As with other industries, it was becoming clear that the device that carried the display screens are becoming cheaper to produce. Physical buttons, dials, and joysticks are falling out of favor as users become accustomed to touchscreens large and small. Devices with wildly different uses are beginning to look the same. In the end, they're just screens.
When hardware becomes irrelevant, apps are all that matter. An entire category of castable fish finders has done away with screens entirely, relying on WiFi and Bluetooth connections to sync with apps far more usable than many a traditional fish finder.
The Future of Fishing Apps
As hardware limitations fall away, software becomes more and more interesting. Usability becomes key, and control across networked technology becomes second nature.
Mobile device apps can already control trolling motors and extend fish finder screens. One company has even released an augmented reality fishing app that visualizing waypoints and other mappable data.
The future of fishing technology is bright, and it can fit in your pocket.
The Best Fishing App 
See our picks of the top five fish fishing apps for 2018, including pick for the overall category winner and four honorable mentions. These are the best of the best. Read now >
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