How mobile development has evolved and the opportunities ahead

The arrival of the Apple iPhone in 2007 is often credited with changing the world. However, the reality is that we had to wait until the following year for both Apple and Google to launch their first mobile app stores for our journey to truly begin. This was the moment where we began to think beyond calendars, world clocks, and calculator apps when thinking about mobile application development. The passing of the virtual baton from Blackberry to a new generation of smartphone manufacturers changed the game.

Then as infrastructure improved, the introduction of high bandwidth mobile networks set us on a path of exponential change as we raced to embrace increases speeds offered by 3G, Wi-Fi, and 4G networks.The dramatic rise of mobile-friendly websites also enabled mobile browsing to overtake traditional desktop pc surfing for the first time in 2016.

As the platforms became more mature, suddenly there was an app for everything and before long the smartphones we use became full of unused apps. The constant switiching of apps, the intrusion of “in-app ads” & device tracking, has all lead to app-fatigue. Many users began migrating back to mobile websites for anything outside of their most used apps on page one of their home screens.

The big takeaway here is that we use apps every day, but we are fed up of downloading them. Our thirst of instant gratification means that we all demand that everything is fast, simple, and easy to use. But make no mistake, mobile apps are going nowhere. Although the web browser often serves as the most popular touchpoint, mobile apps will continue to rise with the proliferation of smartwatches and voice-driven devices.

By 2020 our love of apps is expected to fuel revenues of around $189 billion through a combination of mobile stores and in-app purchases. Both Apple and Android stores currently boast over 2 million apps. But what does this mean for the next decade of mobile app development? And how will the tech trends of today affect our tomorrow?

Cross-platform and Cross-device Development

Launching a mobile app is not for the fainthearted. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as ensuring it will work on iPhones, iPads and the best-selling Android devices from Samsung, Google, and Huawei. There are over 18,000 android devices alone, not the mention the regular operating system updates to think about.

The friction point preventing the creation of apps on multiple platforms desperately needs removing from the mobile landscape. Unfortunately, there is currently no ‘one size fits all’ approach to mobile app development and this will eventually be replaced by the emergence of cross-platform mobile development tools.

According to Gartner, the future of app development is multi-experience. The research firm also predicts that mobile apps will deliver a significant impact on all businesses by 2020. Hybrid mobile apps that work seamlessly different platforms and devices is the promised land where we are heading, much to the delight of developers all over the world.

How 5G Will Impact Mobile App Developers

Although it will take a little longer while than many expect, 5G has the potential to transform our world and offer a game-changing moment in our relatively short online history. A combination of super-fast mobile speeds, lower latency, and improved user experience will create not just a faster world, but a completely different world.

Try to imagine a new digital world where interconnected and always-on devices are sharing data in real-time. We can expect to see many more mobile app categories to build new business models around the high-speed transferal of data. With an estimated 1.1 billion devices predicted to be running on 5G By 2020-2025, many predict we will be ushering in a fourth industrial revolution much sooner than many think.

Augmented Reality

Although many will focus on the high bandwidth speeds of 5G, it's the low latency that will make the prospect of augmented reality (AR) mobile apps a reality. There is an argument that Pokémon Go app and Snapchat filters have already made AR accessible to mainstream audiences. With the AR market in Europe alone expected to surge by 65 percent and reach an incredible valuation of $12 billion by 2024, significant changes are on the horizon.

Assuming a reliable 5G network becomes a reality, it won't just be a rise in AR entertainment apps coming our way. Whole industries such as healthcare, retail, education, and even the industrial world will turn to AR-driven mobile apps to deliver new experiences to both employees and their customers.

How IoT Will Reshape Mobile App Development

5G will also help transform the internet of things (IoT) where sensors can report real-time information. Prominent examples would be retail and the emergence of smart cities. But many will turn to mobile app development services to explore how they can visualize and leverage this deluge of data.

Most of us are guilty of using the same apps every day to book a cab, purchase essential items or checking into our social media platform of choice. But developers are already exploring new ways to synchronize the integration of mobile apps and IoT. In a digital age of smart devices and app fatigue, finding a way for apps to communicate with these new sensors and devices hold the keys to future adoption.

The success of emerging technologies will all be determined by how they contribute to each other’s growth and deliver convenience to both businesses and users. But it will be developers at the heart of it all who will be challenged with building better apps for the next chapter in a new digital era.

In 2008 we learned how to think bigger than calendars, world clocks and calculator apps. Here in 2019 and beyond it's once again time to think bigger than the traditional smartphone app. For these reasons alone, it appears there will be almost limitless opportunities for mobile app developers whose only constraints will be their imagination.

Our New York team are incredibly knowledgeable in the mobile development market, working with a wide range of exciting clients and experienced candidates. Please get in touch to see how our expert consultants can help you with your mobile talent needs in order to take advantage of the rapid pace of change in the mobile market space.

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