Software applications can fall under four postures - Sovereign, Transient, Daemon, and Parasitic/Auxiliary

Which of these categories do mobile applications like Wunderlist, Facebook app, Evernote fall under? (My guess is Parasitic)

Apart from mobile games, are there mobile apps that have sovereign posture? I am not looking for apps like Wordpress or Medium where the user has to painstakingly type content. I want to know sovereign apps that take advantage of the mobile form factor. Autodesk Sketchbook is an example for tablets. I need some similar apps for mobile phones - displays around 4 to 5.5 inches.

Edit: By sovereign, here I mean an app that takes user's attention for extensive time periods - may be an hour or more. In desktop, applications like Eclipse, Photoshop, MS Word are considered sovereign. They take the entire screen real estate, but my main focus is on how long the app is used in one session. Similarly, most mobile apps occupy the entire screen, but I need examples where an app is used close to an hour or more to reach user goals in one session. I need examples of productive sovereign apps.

  • The latest version of About Face defines even more postures. It's a bit excessive, in my opinion.
    – JeromeR
    Jul 10, 2015 at 7:49
  • I'm curious: why do you need an example of sovereign-posture mobile apps that are productive? My vote goes to email. While an app for VoIP+video, such as Skype, might be productive, I wouldn't say it's got sovereign posture because users are doing what they typically do in conversations: looking everywhere, getting distracted, interrupting each other, etc. (But maybe that IS a state of conversational flow?)
    – JeromeR
    Jul 10, 2015 at 7:56

1 Answer 1


I'm not sure if I'm understanding your question correctly, but the answer to the specific question "Apart from mobile games, are there mobile apps that have sovereign posture?" is "yes, most mobile apps are sovereign" for the simple reason that this is the way required to build them. Facebook app is probably the utmost example of a sovereign app. Besides, postures are relative, nowadays many developers are leaning to the concept of application types as defined by Apple: Productivity, Utility and Immersive. As you may see, these concept are more descriptive and (IMHO) less confusing than postures. You can see the ambiguity of postures in this great answer .

So, in short, the answer is ALMOST ALL

  • I have added more detail to the question. Please check and let me know if it is clear Jul 9, 2015 at 20:54
  • May I refine your answer? Soverign posture, as Cooper defines, it, refers to continuous, long-term use on the full screen (the question was edited to reflect this), with the user in a state of flow. On mobile devices, most apps use the full screen, but only a few are long, continuous affairs. mostly playing games, consuming content (Facebook, YouTube), I'd say, and perhaps generating content (email), and intensive social media, (in which I would include SMS as much as chap apps). Is any of this productive? Ha! perhaps the email?
    – JeromeR
    Jul 10, 2015 at 7:48

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