The mobile application landscape is changing with an increased reliance on mobile devices and the rise of new technologies such as 5G networks and edge computing. Many novel trends and developments are surging as a result.
In 2020, the global mobile app development market was valued at approximately $170 billion and forecasted to reach $366 billion in 2027.
Here are the top five mobile app trends and technologies. Learn how they will change our perception of mobile apps.
5G stands for fifth-generation broadband cellular networks and is the latest iterative standard in mobile telecommunications. Officially introduced in 2016, 5G coverage has gradually increased, with the continued installation of 5G-compliant antenna arrays worldwide.
The primary benefits of 5G are its speed and low latency, comparable with fiber optic internet. 5G offers up to 10x faster communications than 4G, minimum latencies of less than 1 millisecond, and a maximum data rate of 20 Gbps.
The potential applications for these speeds will affect every aspect of mobile development, from eCommerce app development to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
Some tech industry experts have even suggested the impact of 5G may be so significant that it will start a Fourth Industrial Revolution.
When the Internet revolutionized the retail industry, it gave birth to a new type of business, Electronic Commerce (eCommerce). Today, the next iteration of global commerce technology is Mobile eCommerce (mCommerce).
A 2021 Oberlo study revealed that 72.9% of all eCommerce sales were completed on a mobile device. mCommerce applications offer these smartphone and tablet users mobile-specific services and features.
Examples include mobile app coupons, location-based and proximity marketing, mobile-optimized store navigation, and simplified (one-click) checkout systems.
Progressive Web Apps
Until recently, there were two types of apps. Native apps install directly on your mobile device while Web apps run from a browser. Now, a third type has emerged: Progressive Web Apps (PWA).
PWAs function as a hybrid between native and Web apps. They are similar to standard Web apps (runs from a browser) but offer many native app-like features. They are:
- Less dependent on a constant Internet connection
- Capable of loading faster
- Easier to use
- Able to operate with less storage
Additionally, because the PWA is fundamentally a Web app, updates and maintenance are much easier and more convenient for both ends. The company can update a PWA without requiring the user to download a corresponding app update.
AI and Chatbots
Chatbots are tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP). Once considered a gimmick with limited applications, many websites have adopted them for customer service, marketing, sales, and tech support.
Chatbots offer many undeniable advantages. They are always available, can redirect customers to relevant information, answer frequently asked questions, and, if necessary, activate a live chat with a human team.
The AI technologies powering them can also integrate with the customers’ mobile devices to improve their conversational abilities. For example, some chatbots are voice-powered, capable of listening and responding using audio instead of text.
Extended Reality (XR) is the catch-all term for virtual spaces and environments meant to overlay or replace reality, such as Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), or Virtual Reality (VR).
XR solutions can revolutionize mobile application development in many ways. Although gaming and entertainment have already been using VR for years to provide new experiences, many other real-world applications are possible.
For example, online retail applications can use AR and VR to let customers view a product in three dimensions instead of still images. Construction apps can use AR and MR to overlay a real-world building site with 3D models of the finished project.
The education sector is also currently developing mobile-compatible VR solutions as a teaching tool, intending to revolutionize the classroom and bring students together even when far apart.
Follow the Trends
As with all technologies, these new developments will need time to mature. As adoption rates increase, so will the number of developers, further streamlining and accelerating application development.
Although experts do not believe that desktop devices will completely go away, mobile is the way forward. Capitalizing on these trends will be the key to success in the mobile app development sector throughout the 2020s.