Last year, mobile app development managed to grab enough eyeballs. Globally, this was the talking point in the technology landscape till the last bell.
There’s no denying, apps are the new-found branding tool for companies trying to closely engage with new-age customers and bolster revenues. The latest numbers confirm the fact that mobile app development is the fastest growing segment of the entire technology ecosystem. It is expected that the number of free apps downloaded will cross 254 billion this year, a steady north from a meager 57.33 billion in 2012.
So, gear up for exciting times in a market jostled by Android and iOS apps, fighting for their share. On the face of this looming app war, it’s imperative for large companies across verticals to leverage mobile applications for brand development, customer traction, and even direct marketing. Small and medium enterprises also can’t afford to lag behind.
For developers and marketers, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fostering innovation in mobile app development. With the following mobile application development trends, 2018 will see some market-defining products setting new benchmarks.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Wearable Apps
It’s not just about smart people anymore but smarter homes, cities, health, and retail. IoT apps have already made their presence felt in 2017 and with the kind of innovation they bring to the table, their potential is undeniable. For instance, Google, which launched Android Things for promoting IoT usage.
Since things are increasingly getting connected in a smart way, there will be a growing demand for apps suitable for smart connected devices and not just smartphones. Hence, the onus is on developers to create device-agnostic apps. Experts predict that IoT will see an upward growth trajectory from $157.05 billion in 2016 to $661.74 billion by 2021, clocking a CAGR of 33.3%. This will certainly impact the mobile app development landscape since smartphones primarily control IoT devices.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
With Google launching the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, mobile devices are soon expected to break free from page load issues. This upcoming trend is fast catching up and Google has already declared that it will be facilitating a standalone search index for the mobile web. This is indeed a transformation, as far as mobile app development is concerned from the SEO standpoint. Faster loading of web apps in mobile devices minimizes bounce rate, which in turn further leads to an increase in ad visibility and visitors.
Gone are the days when only internet banking or plastic money facilitated online shopping. It’s m-commerce now, thanks to Apple Pay and Google Wallet. These apps not only offer more convenient payment options for customers but also help companies closely understand customer preferences through systematic data harvesting. This trend is expected to rank high up the list, this year as well.
Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Apps
The scope of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will no more be restricted to entertainment and games. But going forward, these technologies are expected to foster newer possibilities within the realm of mobile app development, catering to both consumer as well as business demands.
Benefits of AR
- Uses visual experience to presents products and services in detail
- Real-time showcasing of products
- Hi-tech employee training to increase productivity
Benefits of VR
- Showcasing of products in virtual showrooms
- Product promotion blending photography and technology
- Branding and marketing initiatives;
- Products are shown in 3D.
Another popular application type which is making lives simpler is on-demand apps. These apps can be leveraged to deploy services such as cleaning, laundry, beauty and grooming, delivery of food, cab etc. On-demand apps facilitate easy accessibility of services in a fixed timeframe, besides promising an easy payment cycle.
Enterprise Apps and BYOD
As more and more businesses embrace the “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) model, enterprise hybrid apps will ride high on demand. Hybrid applications are actually cost-effective mobile websites that come with an application interface. Investment in BOYD in some form is already happening across organizations. In 2017, BOYD was the preferred choice for almost half of employers around the world.
These days mobile application developers are focusing more on cloud-based apps as cloud technologies such as Dropbox, Google Drive are enabling quick and easy access to data.
Cisco VNI Global Mobile Forecast (2015-2020) suggests that cloud-based apps will lead 90% of mobile data traffic latest by 2019.
Cloud-based apps are especially suitable for large businesses as they are highly susceptible to ghastly security issues. There is a growing concern for safeguarding sensitive corporate information in relation to unprotected devices used by employees. Here, the cloud can play a crucial role in safeguarding the data.
Android Instant Apps
Android Instant Apps are native apps functioning like websites, attracting people based on their convenience factor. Here the lines between an app and a website are blurred as Android Instant Apps can perform any installation. So, one clicks, and you have the app edge within the site itself.
The advantages are:
- App accessibility from any location without installation
- Android apps can run seamlessly as web page loads
- All Android version compatibility
- Easy sharing
Smartphone security has become a serious issue thanks to the magnitude of personal data it stores. Unfortunately, many users still aren’t aware of the consequences of a data breach and this continues to baffle app developers too. Thus, going forward, developing apps with in-built security features is expected to be the prime focus for developers.
Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Chatbots
Think of apps such as Prisma, Siri, Google Now. Similar apps are expected to hit the market, this year too thereby pushing the Artificial Intelligence (AI) mobile app development trend forward. Customized apps with chat mechanism can be a powerful tool for businesses considering customer engagement as a priority. Mobile app development initiatives involving AI, ML and bots will only quadruple in the near future. The responsibility now rests on the developers to leverage these new technologies to the fullest to deliver more intuitive and stunning apps.