An Application Programing Interface (API) is a specification, or interface, that allows different elements of software to more easily communicate with each other.
Developers frequently use APIs in a mobile context to hook third-party applications into the wireless capabilities of an operating system or other application. Wireless operators use them to allow for easy access to their network resources, including subscriber data, location and quality of service functions, so developers can build more robust applications.
Today, only 9 percent of all Web and 5 percent of mobile apps use APIs, according to Research and Markets, but the firm expects that to grow by 68 percent by the end of 2016 as vendors, carriers and developers invest more in APIs.
For more on APIs and the companies involved: