Technology is always evolving, which is both exciting and exhausting to keep up with! With a projected 258 billion annual mobile app downloads by 2022, businesses need to keep up with emerging trends and seize any opportunities that may come their way!
Mobile apps can achieve great success and are becoming increasingly popular, which is why so many businesses are hopping on board the app train to see how they can expand their brand. The future of mobile app development is a broad topic, so this article will focus on just a few of the top mobile app development trends we may see this year (and beyond!) as technology advances.
1. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
By now we have all probably heard of both augmented and virtual reality and have possibly even experienced it first hand. Well, we are going to see a lot more of it in apps! By introducing VR or AR in a business’s app, you can create a more personalised experience which may help to boost your sales if users like what they see. For example, if you’re a travel company and you want to create an immersive experience where users can get a taste of what one of your holiday packages would be like, you could create a VR based app which allows them to look around a particular destination; ultimately, you can increase user engagement.
AR based Software Development Kits (SDKs) have already been released by both Apple (ARKit) and Google (ARCore) so it’s likely that we will see a swift rise in VR and AR apps for Android and iOS devices. Furthermore, following the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19, there is certainly a need for more businesses to adopt a VR or AR approach in the absence of physical stores and interactions. There has never been a more relevant time to revolutionise app development!
Augmented reality allows businesses to give app users an interactive experience in a real-world environment.
2. Mobile apps which are cloud-based
Cloud technology allows huge amounts of data to be stored and app developers can take full advantage of this! Gone will be the days where apps are restricted due to storage limitations on devices.
Whilst cloud-based platforms aren’t new, we can expect a significant rise in app data being stored in the cloud which will allow apps to run smoothly and users won’t have to worry about whether their device can store the app’s data.
3. Artificial intelligence (AI)
Personalised app experiences are likely to rise as they cater for a user’s individual needs. In the context of mobile app development, AI will usually refer to machine learning (how many times have you shouted ‘ALEXAAA!’ to save you looking out the window for a weather check?) and if you’re not already familiar with AI, it essentially involves an application learning from a user’s actions in order to perform better by predicting your next move and decreasing the effort required by the user. For example, if you were to incorporate AI into your business, how a user shops online could inform your app so that similar items to what the user had searched for will appear on the app, saving them the hassle of searching for them manually.
However, it’s also worth bearing in mind that whilst AI can greatly improve your user experience, there are also some concerns over how AI is changing the future of digital marketing.
4. 5G technology
As Veruca Salt sang at the top of her lungs, “I want it now!” - over the years we have grown accustomed to getting the data we want when we want it...and it’s only going to get better. 5G is the latest generation of wireless technology which will enable faster browsing and downloading with a much lower latency time - in other words, we’re going to be able to communicate with each other quicker and expect data results at the snap of a finger.
Think about it, have you ever abandoned an app because it was loading too slowly? That’s probably because as technology has advanced, you’ve come to expect better and want results fast. 5G is set to change the app-game for businesses as it will improve bandwidths, deliver at high speed and have a near zero latency which overall, will benefit user experience.
5. Less cross platform apps
Cross platform SDKs such as React Native, Flutter and Xamarin help create mobile apps which can run seamlessly across multiple platforms (usually Android or iOS). Currently, apps based on these platforms are still popular thanks to their native-feel app experiences and faster development processes (due to them only needing a single source code for multiple platforms) but it is likely that we will see a decline in such apps as user demands for ‘slicker apps’ rise.
For example, the performance of cross platform apps is not always reliable and they can be slower than native apps. Moreover, the fact that Android and iOS have different forms of navigation alongside other features, the single code base in a cross platform app simply can’t incorporate the same native-only features which may not deliver the best user experience.
6. Integrating to other platforms
We’ve already seen Apple do it - iOS features all the tools needed to integrate apps with enterprise systems. Having a watch which can record data and integrate with your other devices is pretty miraculous (although nothing new) and gives users a more personalised experience where their apps connect to give them as much data as possible.
More impressively, the latest generation of Apple Macs can now run mobile apps natively, which means that they can run/behave the same way as they would on a mobile device on a laptop or computer. Therefore, your mobile experience can be accessed by a larger user base without the effort of developing for a new platform.
Due to the popularity of integrated platforms, it is likely that we will see them continue to rise in a world where everything is becoming more and more connected.
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