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      Apps taking over local cell phone market

      It has never been easier to share information than it is today, and while smart phones have become a big part of that, applications, better known as apps, are taking the sharing to the next level.

      "The explosion really, if you will, has gone from a couple hundred [apps] a couple of years ago to the iPhone having 300,000 unique applications," said Niagara Telephone Company Chief Technology Officer Mark Dodge.

      Apps can be just about anything from news and weather updates to games.

      Saint George Glass owner, Steve Zurcher, uses smart phone apps daily, working with both clients and coworkers.

      "They're inexpensive so it just helps the whole process, speed it up, and become more efficient," said Zurcher. "In this day and age with the economy the way it is, you have to be more efficient or you're not going to last very long."

      With more and more apps becoming available daily on multiple platforms, Dodge said they have become a major part of marketing smart phones.

      "A lot of people are making equipment decisions based on the apps that run on the equipment," he said. "So you may have this absolutely aesthetically gorgeous telephone...and if it doesn't run the app you need, you probably won TMt buy it."

      The technology boom is expected to continue. Dodge estimates that smart phone sales will continue to grow annually by 30 percent.