Mobile apps are a valuable technological innovation that has changed how we work, shop, and communicate. Over the years, mobile apps have evolved, with each year introducing new trends and changes.
During 2019 and 2020 many technological advancements influenced the mobile development landscape, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud-native apps, virtual and augmented reality, 5G connectivity, and much more.
This article offers a review of the top technology trends set to influence mobile development during 2021 and beyond.
1. Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR and VR)
Android and iOS app development have gained momentum after the release of ARCore by Google, and ARKit by Apple. The demand for AR and VR applications is growing in all industries, including healthcare, retail, education, and travel. Mobile apps leveraging these technologies are creating enhanced user experiences that help businesses increase sales.
2. Internet of Things (IoT)
The growth in the number of mobile devices creates multiple opportunities for IoT technology. IoT is a network of Internet-connected devices that provides automated control and convenience to users.
Smart home technology is an example of the rise in mobile app development and IoT. You can use mobile apps to adjust the thermostat from a remote location, lock or unlock doors, connect to your refrigerator and home security systems.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Chatbots
AI and machine learning are expected to take mobile app development to a new level during 2020. The integration of mobile apps with AI improves user engagement and saves a lot of money for businesses by automating routine tasks.
In addition, chatbots are changing the way businesses interact with customers via mobile phones. Chatbots enable mobile app services to respond to customers' requests quickly. These requests include food delivery services, transportation services, and online shopping.
4. 5G Technology in 2021
Expect 5G technology to be 100 times faster than 4G networks, with speed reaching 100 Gbps. With the use of new radio frequencies, expect 5G technology to lead the standard data transmission with 1.4 billion devices worldwide in the next five years.
5G technology is designed for compute-intensive apps like augmented reality, virtual reality, and 4K video streaming. Developers can leverage 5G to create designs and features that enhance business performance in different industries.
5. The Rise of Mobile Wallets
In 2020, the number of mobile wallet users increased. Different industries are already using this technology to improve user and business experience. Google Pay and Apple Pay are the most widely used mobile wallets and payment gateways. In 2021, the goal should be improved accuracy and security.
6. Beacons Technology
Beacons are small transmitters that simplify location-based searching by sending Bluetooth signals to other devices. Beacons are elements of indoor positioning systems. This technology can provide more personalized service to customers.
A robust mobile app and a Beacon device can expand your customer base, design clear mapping, and implement capable product display. Beacons can also identify your target audience and apply personalized offers to potential customers.
7. Cloud-based Mobile Apps
In 2020, the cloud services market revenue grew by 17% with a total of $266.4 billion, compared to $227.8 billion in 2019. The flexibility and scalability of cloud technology enable you to access and store data more securely and quickly. You can also integrate cloud technology into mobile application development to save on development costs and provide better customer experience.
8. Instant Mobile Apps
Instant apps are small software programs that enable users to use parts of a native app without installing them on a device. Instant apps are native containers with access to a device's hardware and do not take up storage on the device because you do not install them.
Native apps are useful for app demos. Demos enable you to get a taste of an app's complete version before deciding to download it. These apps reach out to target audiences and convince them to install the full app.
9. Predictive Analytics
Predictive analytics predicts future events by analyzing large amounts of data. The prediction is based on strategies from statistics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data mining.
Companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook have already integrated AI-based predictive analytics to improve user journeys across the UX/UI.
Netflix offered a 1 million USD award in 2009 to anyone who could improve the quality of its recommendation engine by 10%. Expect predictive analytics to be in high demand due to the growth of data, computing strength, and storage.
Architecture Choices for Building Mobile Applications
Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
Progressive web apps are web applications built to run on mobile devices. PWA's connectivity is independent and responsive. You can install PWAs on the home screen of your mobile or desktop device and use it without a browser.
PWAs run on a browser under the hood and are limited to the browser vendor. PWAs are useful for development and discoverability, uploading digital assets, including images and videos directly from browsers or from mobile apps.
Native applications have two separate platforms with their respective programming languages Objective-C or SWIFT for iOS and JAVA or Kotlin for Android. Each native library provides unique functionality and performance.
Native architecture is useful for developing applications with fast performance and advanced mobile device capabilities. However, updates and operation costs tend to be higher than with any other platform.
React Native Frameworks
Flutter by Google
Flutter is an open-sourced UI toolkit developed by Google. Flutter enables developers to build cross-platform apps for either Android or iOS. This kit contains everything you need to create native applications. It includes ready-made widgets, testing and integration APIs, command-line tools, and a rendering engine.
Embracing Mobile App Trends in 2021
In an increasingly digitized world, mobile apps are becoming more sophisticated. Each software update and product version leverage new technologies. The result is a constant state of advancement. However, that does not mean you should be tempted to use all trends. Choose your tech wisely. New technologies can affect your required network bandwidth, storage capacity, and computing power.