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What Is a Killer App and Why Does It Matter?

By Arooj Shakeel
October 5, 2023

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A killer application, also known as a killer app, is a new software app used to attract customers and motivate them to purchase new hardware devices. Killer apps are known for gaining a large following due to their innovative and cutting-edge nature. Killer apps have become important in hardware or device purchases over time. The term “killer app” also refers to computer games that drive game console popularity. 


Explaining Killer Application 

Because it helped bring PCs into the business realm, VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet application, is a frequently cited example of one of the first killer apps. Because of this application’s strength, Apple could sell many Apple II computers that VisiCalc was designed to run on. 

But here’s the thing: coming up with a truly original and game-changing application takes creativity and guts, which is easier said than done. You must generate ideas from thin air and work tirelessly to see them through to release day. As much as we adore technology, ensuring the wires are not crossed is sometimes necessary! On the other hand, having one can completely transform your life (and bank account!). If your app becomes popular, suddenly you become well-known overnight and offers for collaborations, investments, and sponsorships flood in from every angle. The best type of business card is a killer app because, as a result of you, everyone knows about it.


Killer Apps’ Effect on Society: How Our Lives Have Been Affected 

Have you ever considered how much Killer Apps have altered our daily lives? We now use these apps for everything from ordering food to watching our favorite TV shows. Some of us may even use them to find true love (I’m not kidding!). Life was very different just a few years ago. People had to physically hail taxis on the streets back then because there were no apps like Uber or Lyft. Calling restaurants and waiting for an eternity for food to be delivered was the norm. 

And we were limited to text-only, slowly-loading web pages when finding information online (and that’s just the Millennial generation; I’m sure Gen X has plenty of anecdotes about visiting libraries). But what about now? Things are now as simple as pie! We can order groceries and deliver them to our homes in less than an hour! Our refrigerators can order products automatically to replenish stock. Consider this for a moment: how insane is that? All of this seemed far-fetched a decade ago. Not to mention the impact of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram on society! It’s incredible how connected we are as a result of these platforms! Don’t get me wrong: I recognize that there are some drawbacks. 

For starters, Killer Apps such as TikTok can be extremely addictive. Don’t even get me started on the security risks! However, things are changing. But, overall, they have made our lives much easier. What distinguishes a truly great app is its technical capabilities and whether or not it solves problems in people’s daily lives. And, boy, do they ever solve problems! It reminds me of Steve Jobs’ vision of technology: “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” I think Killer Apps have done exactly that—they have created an entirely new way of life! Who knows where the next digital revolution will take us? 


The Killer App Business

How Companies Use Them to Drive Revenue and Growth?

Have you ever come across an app that was so incredible and useful that it completely blew your mind? But it’s not just me who has negative feelings about certain apps. You’ve probably seen how some software spreads like wildfire, with everyone discussing it and using it religiously. And believe me when I say that Killer Apps are more than just cool pieces of software—they can be game changers for businesses looking to drive growth and revenue. As an example, consider Facebook. When it first launched years ago, it was thought to be nothing more than a social network for college students to connect online. 

I can assure you that the future of Killer Apps will be a wild ride! I’m particularly excited about the growing functionality of voice assistants like Alexa and Google Home. Having a voice assistant at your disposal is extremely useful. With the adoption of more refined language models like GPT, we’ll start wondering if our machines are conscious. This technology can benefit more than just homes—imagine having an entire office run by voice commands or a class assistant that searches for information as the instructor speaks and displays it on screen. 

Virtual reality (VR) is another area that has piqued my interest. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first—aren’t virtual reality headsets clumsy and uncomfortable? However, after experimenting with some prototypes, I’m convinced that VR has enormous potential for gaming, education, and even remote work experiences. 


How to Spot the Next Big Thing


Identifying a Killer App 

Let’s get started on identifying a Killer App! I’m not psychic, but throughout my career in this field, I’ve developed the ability to recognize trends and patterns that portend significant developments in the future. It all comes down to listening to what people want and need from their technology.

Search for market gaps is one of my go-to suggestions. Is there something that people want that isn’t there? That was certainly the case when smartphones first became popular. People desired a device that could provide them with far more than just phone calls and texts; they desired simplicity and convenience at their fingertips. Another factor to consider is whether an app has staying power beyond its novelty value. Sure, it could be entertaining or useful for a short time. But six months from now, will anyone care? The best apps evolve in tandem with user needs or behavior.

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