An app is a shortened word for a web application that is run on an electronic device and accessed via the Internet. The electronic device can be as small as a smartphone or as large as a desktop computer. One of the most popular apps for cell phones is the caller identification (CID) app, also called a caller ID app. Most cell phones and Internet phone services automatically include calling number identification, but a caller ID app boasts additional features including avatars of contacts, customizable ringtones, geographic location data, video call functionality, call blocking and call forwarding. Another type of caller ID app is the spoofing app, which allows callers to disguise their phone numbers and display an alternative number on the receiver's caller ID screen.
Most smartphones provide basic caller ID functionality, such as telephone number display and call start time. Features found in more customized apps include caller start and end time, call duration and a notification when a caller leaves voicemail. More advanced caller ID applications allow users to download more complex and feature-rich caller ID apps from the Internet. These apps are usually located on the Web sites, called stores or markets where users can sift through and download various apps.
Many of these caller ID apps appeal to the users' desires to customize incoming calls from known contacts. The app might allow the user to set a particular image, called an avatar, for each contact. When the contact calls, his or her image appears on the smartphone screen. The app allows customization of sounds too, so that when the contact calls, his or her own identifying ringtone informs the user of the call.
Some of the more complex caller ID apps may sport advanced features, such as geographic location and video call functionality. Used for years by emergency dispatch services for 911 emergency calls, calling line identification (CLID) location data shows the geographic location of the caller on the caller ID screen or within the caller ID app software. Whenever a call is received, the screen displays the caller's telephone number and address of GPS data. Video calling is available when a user's video-enabled calling app is connected with a caller's video-enabled calling app. This form of caller ID provides visual with audio telephone service.
Call blocking is a coveted feature in the caller ID app market, especially with the rise of unwanted calls from telemarketers. This type of app usually requires a call block subscription with the cell phone carrier. The caller ID app displays a series of choices at the onset of a call where the user can easily survey the calling information and block the caller if desired. Some apps may even allow the user to report telemarketers and solicitors to the Do Not Call lists maintained by cell phone carriers or governments. This type of caller ID is increasingly popular for cell phone users who are charged for every call they make and receive.
Computers use caller ID apps as well. Before broadband Internet service was developed, computer users utilized dial-up Internet service that was transmitted across their telephone service lines. Since most residential telephone lines could manage only one connection at a time, telephone callers often received a busy signal when calling. The caller ID app was created to provide a computer-based caller ID and answering system service. Whenever the computer detected another call coming in on the telephone line, the call was rerouted to the caller ID app and the computer user was notified of the call.