A Taxonomy for App-Enabled Devices: Mastering the Mobile Device Jungle
Rieger Christoph, Majchrzak Tim A
While the term application is known for a long time, what we now refer to as mobile apps has facilitated task-oriented, interoperable software. The term was initially only used for smartphones and tablets, but desktop software now is also referred to as apps. More important than the wording, however, is the trend towards app-enablement of many further kinds of devices such as smart TVs and wearables. App-enabled devices usually share some characteristics and developing apps is often similar. However, many complexities must be mastered: Device fragmentation and cross-platform app development already are challenging when only considering smartphones. When trying to grasp the field as a whole, app-enabled devices appear as a jungle: it becomes increasingly hard to get an overview. Devices might not be easy to categorize let alone to compare. Investigating similarities and differences is not straightforward, as the outer appearance might be deceiving, and technological peculiarities are often complex in nature. This article aims at mastering the jungle. For this purpose, we propose a taxonomy for app-enabled devices. It provides clear terms and facilitates precision when discussing devices. Besides presenting the taxonomy and the rationale behind it, this article invites for discussion.