When it comes to applications for smartphones, the Apple iPhone is the undisputed king of the market -- at least for now.

But that doesn't necessarily mean the iPhone comes first in the development process. For instance, when the Washington Secretary of State's Office decided to build a "lookup app" get-fast-corporations-info-with-android-app of all corporations located in Washington state, officials decided to first develop it for the Google Android mobile operating system, and then port it to the iPhone.

Why? No. 1, the Secretary of State's Office didn't have an Apple computer on hand -- and because of the budget crunch, it didn't have the cash to buy one -- and Apple requires that iPhone apps be developed with the company's tools. No. 2, the state saw an opportunity to be the first state to launch an Android app for "corporations services."

"So that, and the fact that the Android usership is climbing quickly -- we thought that would be a great entry point for us. For one, we can put it out there as the first app for our state, and then we'll use that as a launching point to get into the Apple applications too," said Patrick Reed, operations manager for the Secretary of State Office's Division of Corporations and Charities.

At no cost and with no prior experience in developing smartphone apps, the office's IT staff made the app, which was announced earlier this month, in only 12 hours. Washington state believes it's the first state to build such a business lookup app for Android, while four states have made them for iPhone, according to Reed.

The Secretary of State's Office will start developing for the iPhone too. Several state divisions are discussing how to pitch in and buy a Mac mini that they could share for apps development, Reed said.

Reed said more apps could be in the pipeline from Washington state, including one for real-time elections results and another for voter registration.

 

Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor