If there’s any group of developers who know how quickly new trends arise, it’s mobile app developers. The technology is constantly changing, and users are more demanding than ever. Here are 6 mobile app development trends that you don’t want to miss out on.
Internet of things (IoT): Using apps to control things
The term IoT is popping up everywhere you look these days. This trend is all about using mobile devices to connect and communicate with everyday consumer electronics. In the future, we expect for this technology to extend to all areas of life. For now, developers are focused primarily on creating the ‘smart home’. There are already smart thermostats, app-controlled lighting and smart lock systems, just to name a few examples. Innovations like these make our homes safer and more convenient. In 2021, we’ll see even more everyday consumer products coming out in new ‘smart’ versions. Users can control these connected products using apps on their smartphones. Household appliances, cars and medical devices are just a few of the areas where the IoT is gaining new territory.
Wearables and foldables: Apps for any screen
Smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wearables have already been around for a few years. But they are only just beginning to truly grow in popularity. The Apple Watch is the most popular wearable by far, but a new generation of brands are slowly catching up. Apps for smartphones and tablets are being redesigned for compatibility with wearables, and there’s a growing number of apps that are designed exclusively for watches and fitness trackers. In 2021, users can download these apps directly through their wearable devices.
Foldables are another screen type that’s now gaining attention. Currently, there aren’t that many foldable smartphones on the market yet, and the ones that have been released are relatively expensive. But that’s all about to change. Experts predict that as many as 50 million foldable devices will be sold in 2022. App developers should already start planning for a seamless transition, so their apps automatically adjust depending on whether the user’s device is folded or not.
Artificial intelligence (AI): Real-life applications
Most mobile users are already familiar with the possibilities of AI, at least to some extent. Voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant become ‘smarter’ the more you use them. But the field of AI is about to expand into many other areas, from facial and speech recognition, to text automation, sentiment analysis and more.
Another common AI application at the moment is the chatbot. Real-time language-processing applications like this will be built into more and more apps in the future. AI is rapidly improving. Today, chatbots can already provide highly precise, human-like answers to customer queries.
Instant apps: Give it a try first
Google got the ball rolling when it launched Instant Apps a few years ago. Apple soon followed suit with App Clips. Both are based on the same idea: giving developers the ability to build an instant app experience. With Instant Apps, users can try out an app without having to install it first.
Slowly but surely, more and more apps are being developed according to this principle, and the demand continues to grow. It’s definitely something to keep in mind if you’re developing an app for release in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Augmented reality (AR)
There’s no denying it: AR is finally growing out of its early gimmicky stages. While it’s still not ready to go mainstream in 2021, it is starting to show up in more and more serious applications. Virtually arranging furniture in your room to see how it looks, trying on a new pair of glasses or checking to see what a new hairstyle would look like, exploring a specific environment in greater detail... these are just a few of the possibilities of AR. It’s also gaining fans in areas such as remote learning.
5G: Fast, faster, fastest
2021 is the year of 5G. And that means a huge number of users will soon have mobile internet access that is at least as fast as their home internet connection, if not faster. This will definitely impact the types of functionalities mobile apps can offer in the future. Now, developers have a chance to add new features to their apps without worrying as much about how it will impact performance. This will be a game-changer when it comes to developing and testing apps.