Mobile app development is evolving at a rapid speed. Almost any problem you can think of, there’s an app for that. Need to create a network, launch an event, or solve a technology problem? Chances are, there’s an app on the market that will help you find a solution. That said, any time technology develops quickly, the market becomes increasingly competitive. Generally speaking, today’s marketers need to be abreast of mobile app development trends. Only when armed with information can you make smart decisions about which tech strategies will benefit your business goals. Here are the top ten trends you absolutely need to know about.
1. AR & VR
When the world went remote, conferences and events all over the world were forced to resort to virtual experiences. Obviously, the universal goal was to improve the technology so that online experiences could be as immersive and engaging as possible. No one could have foreseen the rate at which AR and VR would evolve over the last several years. According to Statista, the worldwide market for AR and VR technology is slated to rise from about $27 billion in 2018 to $209 billion this year. The mobile app trend is already going mainstream, and they’re enhancing the user experience in new, innovative ways.
For example, Ikea uses AR to allow users to see how furniture will look in their own homes before purchasing it. L’Oreal now has a virtual makeup app that lets users see how makeup products will look on their faces. Recently, American Express created an online fan experience in which users could compete in a virtual game of tennis with star Maria Sharapova using live-action and computer-generated imagery.
In the field of AR, we’ve also seen the emergence of LiDAR technology. With LiDAR, it’s now possible to capture high-quality photos in low light. iPad Pro, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone Pro 12 Max all utilize this feature. Apple has partnered with Ikea to create a feature in which users can point their device in the direction of the exact place where they want to place a piece of furniture. LiDAR technology scans the room and places a true-to-scale furniture model that allows users to see what the item will look like in their home.
As AR and VR technology continues to advance, the number of users will continue to increase in the rest of 2022 and 2023. Therefore, technology is becoming more accessible, and marketers can use these trends to improve their brand’s user experience.
2. The Rise of 5G
5G is already changing the way apps are developed and used. This year’s predictions are powerful in regard to this rapidly advancing technology. Not only is it expected to operate at 100 times the speed of 4G, but latency will reduce from 50 milliseconds at 4G to just one millisecond with 5G! This increase in performing speed and higher resolution means that video streaming apps will only get better- and even more popular. People will find that transferring data between devices is a smoother process, and integrating VR and AR technologies will be easier as well. It’s good news for app developers as well- 5G will allow developers to build new features without negatively impacting performance.
It’s about more than just making apps work faster and more efficiently. 5G technology is creating space for innovative user experiences that would have been just a pipe dream two years ago. By 2023, 660 million smartphones will be 5G-enabled.
3. Integration of Wearable Apps
Wearable apps are nothing new, but gone are the days when Fitbit was the only mainstream example. These apps reached 453 million in 2017 and are expected to reach 929 million by the end of 2022. Recently, we saw Google launch a unified wearables platform that is compatible with Samsung’s Tizen software platform. This collaboration alone boosted app startup times by 30%.
Smart rings were introduced in 2022 and are likely here to stay. These rings can be used to make payments, track fitness, and scan, and keep track of healthcare appointments and data. Imagine making a payment by closing your fist over a terminal- this technology is becoming a reality. Smart rings are not just a boon to fitness but daily wellness, too. They have the ability to track heart rate, respiration, sleep, temperature, and blood oxygen levels throughout the day.
Smart glasses were briefly a thing back in 2014, but they didn’t get the reception that Google Glass aimed for. The clunky, camera-equipped devices proved better in theory than in practice: Not only were they an eyesore, but as you can imagine, they weren’t the comfiest fit, either. That said, it looks like they might be making a comeback.
The modern version actually has the appearance of normal glasses, and some have high levels of AR and VR capabilities. The lower-end smart glasses aren’t quite as, well, smart: They’re more like a Bluetooth you can wear as well.
And it turns out that Google isn’t entirely out of the game. They recently developed a modern version of the old Google glass project that allows users to access instruction videos while completing difficult tasks. They also allow for participation in Google meet calls.
4. Mobile Gaming and Entertainment
We can’t have a conversation about mobile app trends without entertainment! For years, gaming apps have become part of the daily lives of millions. Although the popularity of mobile apps is too sizable to fully gauge, Netflix reports approximately 74% active subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. We know that mobile apps are massively popular among gamers. In fact, mobile gamers account for nearly 90% of digital gamers in the U.S.
Understanding why mobile gaming is so popular is hardly rocket science. Not only can anyone with a smartphone access games from anywhere, but they don’t have to buy expensive gadgets like iPads or even laptops to play. And it goes without saying that games have become much more immersive than they were even a few years ago. Thanks to AR and VR technology, users can even create avatars and embody them remotely as they navigate interactive 3D worlds.
5. Cutting Edge AI Technology
FaceApp is old news by now, but the AI technology behind it continues to evolve. The ability to generate realistic transformations of human faces using neural networks led to the MyHeritage app, which transforms photos into realistic animations. But the latest AI is doing more than entertaining people with lifelike avatars and top-notch graphics that revolutionize advertising and events.
AI is also the technology behind language models, which use machine learning to determine how phrases, sentences, or paragraphs are interrelated. By building a statistical model that translates the probability of these phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, the technology “learns” a new language. And that’s a powerful tool to have in a global, digital market. What’s more, the newest language models don’t rely on excessive human-labeled data as the older ones did. These models need just a few examples to fine-tune a probability and translate it smoothly going forward.
6. More Focus on Mobile App Security
In 2019, mobile app security came under fire when concerns were raised about Russian-owned FaceApp having access to possibly millions of photos. The FBI even issued a warning about the app, positing that apps developed in Russia are a potential counterintelligence threat. Despite the frenzy of fear, this caused, the technology used by FaceApp remained popular and has only advanced since then. The pandemic created a greater need than ever for immersive remote experiences, and AI delivered. However, concerns about privacy and security also grew, and it became imperative to address them.
The Checkpoint State of Mobile Security 2021 report showed that a whopping 97% of organizations have faced mobile-related attacks. In addition, 46% of organizations had at least one employee who downloaded a malicious mobile app. For good reason, the majority of businesses are actively looking to invest more in cybersecurity. Protecting data and private information is vital to companies, so digital security is looking for ways around breaches. They’re making progress. Recently, Apple introduced a feature called “Passkeys in iCloud Chain” that replaces passwords with a more secure login process.
We’ll talk more about mobile app security in our next post, but companies have also been using data encryptions to prevent apps from being exposed to threats associated with the vulnerability of devices. Many developers don’t realize that 82% of security-related vulnerabilities appear in the application source code. With that in mind, ensuring that the code source is free of bugs and other vulnerabilities is important.
User-generated content (UGC) also presents a major security concern. A well-developed user authentication system can go a long way toward preventing malicious attacks. Multi-factor authentication and one-time passwords, security keys, and tokens can protect private information shared with mobile apps.
There are also compliance and integrity standards that mobile app developers are now required to meet. App stores may dictate rules about security measures regarding the downloading and installation process. It’s worth noting that today’s smartphones use app stores to distribute signed apps to users or software that requires code signing. This process ensures that platforms distribute only pre-vetted apps.
7. Increased Reliance on P2P Apps
Because of the convenience they provide, P2P apps are another rising trend in the mobile app sector. eMarketer projects that P2P mobile transactions will be worth $612.23 billion by 2023. Social media platforms are also beginning to offer their own built-in P2P features. While standalone vendors like Paypal and Venmo have probably gained the most popularity, mobile OS systems are also using their own systems like Apple Pay or Android Pay. And Zelle, a bank-based app in which the bank performs actions as a third party, has also gone mainstream.
Did you know that 75% of adults used at least one P2P service by the end of 2021? To put things even more into perspective, each user of P2P apps is expected to spend around $4,064 on mobile contactless payments in the year 2025. Considering the fact that these apps take minimal user fees per transaction, that’s a lot of use.
Many businesses have discovered that building their own P2P apps helps them reach a broader range of customers, including internationally. Being able to avoid relying on intermediaries which can be expensive and time-consuming attracts more business.
8. Super Apps
Super Apps have taken the mobile scene by storm and it looks like they’re here to stay. Super apps aren’t always known as such- if you’re unfamiliar with the term, it basically refers to an app that provides a one-stop solution that allows users to solve various problems. WeChat is an apt example of a super app. It provides several in-demand services on the same app: multi-purpose instant messaging, social media, and a P2P feature. WeChat has over 1.26 billion monthly active users from a broad range of age groups.
The need to perform many different actions within the same app is increasing as the world becomes more digitized. A study from PYMETS shows that 67% of U.S. consumers would prefer at least two of their activities to be integrated into one place. Around 11% would like one app to manage their entire digital lives!
Want to be able to shop, book trips, purchase tickets, and order food from one app? You’re not alone- according to Statista, 20.38% of consumers would be interested in integrating their online experiences into one super app. Such an app would allow them to shop online, schedule travel, access entertainment services, and bank in one digital space.