Why on Earth do people now, with Smartphones taking over the world of mobile telephony, use the abbreviation app to refer to applications written for those phones?
Is it because a phone is so much smaller than a PC?

As an IT guy with varying experience in a couple of programming languages I think it doesn’t really make that much of a difference what you program for. You’re not coding in Sumerian, but, for example, in Java, if you develop for Android.
Neither do I think that mobile applications are less sophisticated or well written than a “regular” desktop application.

Just take a look at applications that are available for both platforms, like ScummVM. I don’t think anybody would ever get the idea of calling ScummVM, in its incarnation for the PC, an “app”. Yet that is quite likely what it’ll be called when installed on a Smartphone.
Or take the Linux kernel. Arguably the one piece of code that feels at home on probably the highest number of different devices. I know that this is not really an application, but this is just to show that, if written properly, code can come in a hundred or a million lines, it’ll run not only on your PC, but possibly on your phone, your DVD player and maybe even your microwave oven. Just like the Linux kernel in my household powers one PC, a notebook, a netbook, my Smartphone and my Amazon Kindle.

In a way I think it’s belittling the application, and the effort of the programmer, to call an application just “app”. And that’s not nice, isn’t it?

Size does not matter for an application. All that really matters is quality, if the application does what it’s supposed to do, does so efficiently and without major problems. Consider Unix(-like) systems, which come with a lot of tiny tools that just do one thing, but they do their tasks really good.

In conclusion I have to say that I don’t like this trend of calling applications on Smartphones apps, and refuse to jump on the bandwagon. And as I said before, belittling an application and the developer’s effort certainly isn’t a nice thing to do.

Thank you!
Dennis Wronka