6 years ago users downloaded 2.89 billion paid apps. This number will likely to grow up to 14.78 billion by the end of 2017. The mobile app market is not likely to slow down anytime soon, as well as app revenues. Statista prospects app revenues to reach almost $189 billion in 2020.
Obviously, there is no progress without change. Software comes and go, hardware beats new benchmarks, and there are also users’ tastes that are changing even faster. Mobile apps, as well as mobile developers and owners, are forced to catch up with these tastes and trends.
While the market and tech industry are always on the run, all notable “mobile” events of 2017 – Google I/O, Apple Special Event, Android Oreo Presentation – are over. That’s why it is about time to sum up mobile apps development trends. And you can rest assured, those trends will be relevant at least during the first half of 2018!
Most Prominent New Trends in Mobile Development of the Year
The Rise of Augmented Reality
Using AR on smartphones isn’t new. AR has already given birth to at least two popular apps: Snapchat and PokemonGo. Nevertheless, a recent Apple’s presentation of ARKit and iPhone X with enhanced AR processing power opens up new opportunities for mobile developers.
And the market is pretty serious about Augmented Reality. Snapchat has recently announced opening its 3D World Lenses to advertisers and brands. 3D World Lenses allow posting AR animated objects and pin them to a particular geolocation, just like Pokemons.
Google does not intend to stand aside too. The company has introduced its own ARCore SDK for Android developers. This SDK was built in close collaboration with Unity’s XR team, which makes it a perfect tool for developers. ARCore SDK allows development of high-performance AR Android apps AND upgrade existing apps with exciting AR features.
In the meantime, AR is not all about entertainment. The technology can bring a lot more practical-use functions. Some of them we described in our article about AR application in Businesses.
Lite Mobile Apps for Wearables
New Android Wear 2.0 Update, as well as the presentation of Third Apple Watch generation, shows a steady movement toward autonomy and self-sufficiency of wearable gadgets.
From now on Android-powered smartwatches can play music from inbound disc space, make calls and send SMS using their own cellular module. Plus, Android Wear 2.0 introduced a full-fledged app market for smartwatches with direct access from smart devices. Third Apple Watch has pretty similar capabilities the most notable of them is an autonomous cellular module with LTE functionality.
All these advancements in wearable gadgets open new possibilities for mobile app developers and those who already have a mobile app. Shortly speaking it’s about time to develop lite versions of mobile apps that are specifically designed to run on wearable devices.
How to Optimize Mobile App for Wearables
Clear up your app from all secondary functions.
Keep only 1 to 3 most vital use cases.
Redesign wireframes and UI.
Straightforward user journeys to 2 screens max.
Make use of physical buttons (Must do for Apple Watch).
Take advantage of a new notification UI (Android Wear).
Resolve all possible connectivity issues.
Why You Might Want to Develop a Mobile App for Wearables
Must have upgrade for any sports app.
Additional monetization through wearable app version upsell.
A standalone smartwatch app that can be sold on Android Market and App Store.
The additional competitive advantage that may be specifically useful for marketing of B2B mobile apps.
Higher Connectivity with IoT
The prices for sensors are falling faster than ever, thus, making IoT affordable for SMB and private sector. In particular, Google claims that it managed to cut prices for its autonomous cars’ LIDARs up to 90%. So will be with other sensors.
Analytics prospect IoT market to expand from $157 billion in 2016 to about $661 billion by the end of 2021. Which means an all growing number of sensors and devices to connect and control. In the meantime, smartphones are the only portable devices suitable enough to operate those wide arrays of sensors.
Therefore, development of mobile apps that could connect with IoT devices will be in a great demand in not too distant future. By the way, there are already several industries mobile app developers can exploit. If you’re interested, we’ve explored this topic previously in two articles about IoT for office spaces and IoT application in 5 business domains.
The internet is the abundant place where content lives in enormous quantities. On the other hand, disk space on our smartphones is a limited resource that is even more precious nowadays when you can shoot an HD video with a few clicks.
Google sites that disc space shortage is a second most important reason why users decide to delete a mobile app. So why not to stream mobile apps instead of downloading it to our precious, little flash drives?
App streaming technology is called to deal with disk space shortage and bypass a balky way of installing apps through App Store. Android mobile app developers can already test app streaming by creating an Android Instant Apps.
While the technology is still “under construction” the opportunities it may provide sound very promising: a better user experience, lower user acquisition costs, and an increase of average lifetime value
Chatbots and AI
Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are becoming more intelligent day after day as well as neural network algorithms underneath. With the right idea, this extra intelligence can be put to use. Analytics in Gartner prospects that cloud-based neural networks will process over 40% of all interactions between users and mobile apps. All that by means of intelligent services.
This is exactly what chatbots and app developers are waiting for: an easy-to-implement intelligent services like Natural Language Recognition, Multi-language Support, Image Recognition, and Face Recognition.
Frankly speaking, there is no need to integrate chatbot functionality in every mobile app. On the other hand, many AI features and services built on top of neural networks are too complex for a mass market user. Development of an understandable mobile interface may become the link between customers and AI we all have waited for so long.
On top of mobile trends listed above, it should be mentioned that app performance and security will remain relevant for all time apps market exist. Fast and secure apps are always in high demand. So do the apps we develop.
Tony Sol is the business development manager of GBKSOFT, overseeing the production of all writings for both internal blog and external platforms. He is technical-driven person always looking for new benefits of merging business and software.
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