The mobile computing industry has been a dynamic place for quite some time with a lot of new trends and innovations. With the mobile landscape constantly changing, we decided to take a look at some of the top trends in the industry.
1. Increase in Demand for Enterprise Business Intelligence (BI) Mobile Apps
“Mobile BI is no longer just a nice-to-have but is quickly becoming the principal way business users demand to consume analytics, what makes mobile BI so compelling is that it can be woven much more closely into where work is actually getting done, away from the office.”
The following factors are driving the demand for BI mobile apps:
- Increased use of mobile devices in enterprise. According to IDC, mobile device sales for business had reached 165.6 million units by 2014.
- Business users are becoming more demanding of mobile device apps. There is increasing demand for mobile analytics, ETL applications, enterprise reporting, ad hoc querying and mobile dashboards, to mention just a few examples.
- With the rise in telecommuting or work-from-anywhere facilities, mobile BI apps are going to become more and more important. According to IDC estimates, at the end of 2013, the mobile worker population in the world had already reached 1.3 billion, equaling 37.2 percent of the total workforce.
- Decreasing cost of BI mobile app development is an incentive for development. Mobile enterprise application platforms (MEAPs) enable developers to develop their applications once and deploy them on diverse platforms. Previously, any customization had to be done keeping in mind requirements for multiple platforms, which was costly and time consuming.
2. More Emphasis on Mobile User Experience
Companies have been putting a lot of emphasis on providing a constantly improving mobile experience for mobile device users. The change in strategy for the companies comes after a widespread adoption of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. More than 50 percent of the adults in the United States now own a smartphone and 76 percent of Millennials tend to use mobile devices more than laptops or desktops. A lot of transactions are taking place over mobile devices, so companies are responding to the situation with measures such as responsive websites, mobile-friendly websites and better user experience.
3. Apple and IBM Partnership
The Apple and IBM partnership is in a sense redefining the enterprise software industry by disrupting it. Apple and IBM have partnered to create a new generation of enterprise mobile apps known as IBM MobileFirst for iOS that help users to connect with analytics and big data on their iOS devices. The apps have been designed to address specific pain points. The apps are related to different industries such as electronics, banking and financial markets, energy and utilities, government, healthcare and industrial products. Employees are able to do their work from anywhere uninterruptedly. For example, the apps related to the banking and financial sector help loan officers browse available loan offers for prospective clients and suggest the best possible mortgage options. Considering the financial and technological prowess of both Apple and IBM, there is a possibility that the mobile BI enterprise software market may be entirely dominated by them. So, the competition is getting really intense as a number of other players want to offer mobile BI enterprise software apps on Android.
4. Android for Enterprise
While iOS is being readied for enterprise use, its rival Android cannot be overlooked. And Android enjoys certain advantages over Apple already, as Android is more flexible than iOS. iOS is severely limited as far as permissions go. If an enterprise customer wants an Android device with specific requirements — color, dimension, aspect ratio, etc., Android is more likely to provide those specifications than iOS. Another factor worth consideration is that other than IBM, which has partnered with Apple, there are other big organizations such as Dell which have big enterprise customer bases. Android can certainly tap into such customer bases. Android also tends to be more favored in the international market over iOS.
Whatever the result, the war between iOS and Android is a defining event. (For more on the battle between these two operating systems, see What Developers Should Know About Android Vs. iOS.)
5. Development of the Mobile Wallet
A number of mobile wallets have been developed so far, one of the most prominent being Apple Pay. Though it seemed that mobile wallets were the next big thing, the concept has not really gained wide acceptance yet. But the developers of mobile wallets are not giving up, and they are gearing up with a lot of initiatives. According to a report on payment industry trends in 2015 by the PWC,
“Consumer adoption of mobile wallets depends on a compelling commerce experience. Mobile wallets need to speed the checkout process and make a consumer’s life easier, or they must offer some reward. And despite the existence of numerous mobile wallets provided by merchants, banks and telecom providers — and most recently Apple — no single entity has gained significant traction in the marketplace. To break the competitive logjam and allow different players to build mobile payment applications more easily, we foresee more collaboration on open technology platforms.”
6. Google Algorithm-Wise Computing
Internet searches are almost wholly dominated by Google algorithms. And for the last few years Google has been rewarding websites which are mobile-device friendly and have responsive designs. Therefore, companies are investing a lot of resources into catering to Google algorithms and gaining traffic to their websites.
7. Mobile SEO Activities
Website Mobify describes mobile SEO as “the activity of doing search engine optimization to increase your website’s visibility in mobile searches.” Mobile SEO and traditional SEO are fundamentally different activities and require different skillsets. A lot of searches and transactions, as explained earlier in this article, have been taking place on mobile devices. So, companies are going all out to strengthen their mobile SEO practices to divert traffic to their mobile websites. (For more on SEO, see SEO's Not Dead, It's Just Changing.)
8. Ingress Protection for Mobile Phones
Many companies are trying to develop glass for their smartphones that complies with the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization. Due to this, many smartphones are being given protection in the following ways:
- Protection from solid objects or materials
- Protection from liquids such as water
- Protection against mechanical impact
9. Larger Displays on Smartphones
Larger displays on smartphones have been in demand because smartphones are no longer meant only to make or receive calls. Owners of smartphones now want to view videos or have a better experience reading e-books, browsing websites or playing games. Phablets are becoming more commonplace, and increasing numbers of phones are being manufactured with large screens.
10. Non-Removable Battery and Memory
Another development in the smartphone space has been the introduction of non-removable batteries in many models. In addition to that, many smartphones are doing away with the mounted SD card option. Non-removable batteries have been found to provide longer service life than removable batteries. Additionally, manufacturers are able to make phones slightly smaller by not needing to include access panels and/or mechanisms normally needed for removable batteries. However, for smartphones that hang because of a software malfunction, users are no longer able to restart the phone by removing the battery.
While it may be difficult to predict the path that smartphone development is going to take, the app market trends suggest that mobile app development for enterprise is going to be the next big thing. It also appears that mobile-oriented SEO and Google algorithm-oriented computing are going to define the business strategies of smartphone makers.