Mobile apps are part of our daily lives — we cannot even think without our smartphones and apps.
Because of this ubiquity, mobile apps are evolving rapidly. With the integration of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing, mobile apps are more powerful now.
Here are 12 mobile computing trends to watch:
1. IoT Mobile Apps
The Internet of Things (IoT) has become very popular in industries like oil and gas, manufacturing, health care and agriculture. Essentially, the IoT is a network of internet-connected objects capable of exchanging data. All these interconnected objects/devices have a unique identity to communicate with each other.
The IoT revolution has led to the development of IoT-enabled mobile apps, which can connect and control devices like air conditioning, refrigerators, home security devices and many more. These IoT apps are also capable of managing wearable devices, gas networks, traffic sensors and autonomous cars.
IoT-enabled mobile apps are growing rapidly and making our lives increasingly connected.
2. AI Mobile Apps
Implementation of artificial intelligence in mobile apps have been around since 2017. Plus, Apple's voice assistant Siri has been integrated with multiple mobile apps.
Popular use cases for AI/ML in mobile apps include:
- Voice recognition.
- Virtual assistants.
- Surveillance systems.
- Recommendation engines.
- Medical diagnoses.
The mobile computing industry is focusing more on AI- and ML-based apps to get ahead of competition. (Also read: How Recommender Systems Are Changing E-Commerce.)
3. Mobile Cloud Computing
Advanced mobile apps are very complex and often integrated with AI/ML and IoT technologies. So, they require lots of computing resources and storage space. However, mobile devices cannot be built to accommodate large amounts of memory — they're too small and it would cost too much.
The solution? Cloud-based mobile apps. These advanced apps can use the cloud resources and storage remotely over the internet. The benefits of cloud-based mobile apps are:
- Cost-effectiveness. (Also read: 5 Economic Benefits of Cloud Computing.)
- Reliability and high performance.
- Ability to work with large volumes of data.
- High processing power.
- Ability to leverage AI/ML and IoT technology.
4. Mobile Edge Computing
Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is also known as "mobile edge computing." In simple terms, MEC can be defined as an intersection where the mobile network (wireless edge) and internet (infrastructure edge) meet and transfer traffic.
With the introduction provided by 5G, MEC apps will grow rapidly and deliver superior experience to the end users. MEC can be applied in use cases like:
- Augmented, virtual and mixed reality applications.
- Autonomous vehicles.
- Gaming applications.
- Drone monitoring and detection.
- Real-time analytics.
5. 5G Network Connectivity
The fifth-generation network (5G) is spreading rapidly across the world. It has enabled mobile apps to work with advanced technologies like AI/ML and IoT. The enhanced speed of 5G networks, which run up to 100 times faster than 4G networks, have also revolutionized cloud-based mobile computing. (Also read: 5 Industries Facing Game-Changing 5G Transformation.)
The 5G network has the following advantages:
- High-speed wireless connectivity.
- Real-time stream data processing.
- Low latency.
- Enhanced bandwidth.
- Support for AI/ML-, IoT- and cloud-based mobile apps.
6. AR/VR Mobile Apps
Augmented reality (AR)-based mobile apps are basically the integration of digital visual components with real-world entities. On the other side, virtual reality (VR) can be defined as an artificial world which seems to be real to the end users.
The mobile app industry is focusing more on AR/VR-enabled apps to enhance user experience. In the past, these technologies were mainly used for developing mobile games. But, now AR/VR apps are used for practical and real-world use cases, such as:
- Architectural/interior design.
- User manual and guideline preparation.
- Software navigation.
- 3D design.
- Educational course design.
7. Mobile Payments & Mobile Commerce
Mobile e-commerce (M-commerce) and mobile payments are two rapidly growing trends in the technology world.
M-commerce apps are popular for online marketing and transaction processing. With the increase of mobile shopping, e-commerce and m-commerce, payment-based mobile apps are also increasing in demand.
Apple Pay and Google Pay are two common payment-based mobile apps. They are capable of secure transaction management from anywhere in the world.
8. Mobile App Security & Biometrics
Mobile app security is one of the critical areas for app development. It is even more important when apps are used for financial transactions, like Apple Pay.
Mobile security is equally important for both consumers and app providers — and any single flaw in security can cause a disaster. That's because hackers are always alert to find security loopholes and hack smartphones; there are multiple instances of mobile hacking and financial losses. So, many app developers are now considering security their highest priority before they release an app to consumers. As we are moving towards mobile app-based living, it is very important to take care of the security aspects in advance. (Also read: 5 Things to Know About BYOD Security.)
In the context of mobile app security, biometrics are also gaining popularity. The most popular biometrics used in mobile apps are face recognition, fingerprint scanning and voice recognition.
9. Logistics and Transportation Apps
Logistics and transportation are areas in which mobile apps have tremendous potential. That's because mobile apps are very useful for transportation management and tracking.
Logistics and transportation-oriented mobile apps are of various types. Some are consumer-facing, like car rental apps, traffic monitoring apps and route optimization apps. Others focus on the business side, like apps for fuel monitoring, vehicle tracking and fleet management. (Also read: How Machine Learning Can Improve Supply Chain Efficiency.)
Logistics management apps will grow in future and help the transportation industry.
10. Cross-Platform Mobile Apps
Cross-platform mobile apps are very popular nowadays. Android and iOS apps, by contrast, are native mobile apps — which means they're platform-specific. Because it is expensive to create separate mobile apps for each operating system, the most cost-effective solution is to develop cross-platform mobile apps, which can run on any platform.
Some of the most popular cross-platform app development frameworks are ionic, React-native, PhoneGap, Sencha and Xamarin.
11. Apps for Foldable Devices
Foldable devices, including smartphones, tablets and other smart devices, are gaining popularity everyday.
The basic advantage of a foldable device is — as its name suggests — that it can be unfolded, increasing the screen size display by as much as 200% and making it easy to take on-the-go.
Due to the trend towards foldable devices, the mobile app market is evolving to make the apps compatible with them. This is a great opportunity for developers to make more innovative apps for larger displays and flexibility.
12. Apps for Wearable Devices
The wearable device industry is growing rapidly. Popular models include things like smart watches, fitness trackers, body sensors, Google Glass and smart wristbands.
By consequence, the development of various apps suitable for wearable devices is also ramping up in volume. Apps for wearable devices need concise user interfaces compatible with smaller screen sizes and the ability to exchange data captured through sensors with network devices.
Useful for performing tasks like health monitoring, location tracking and fitness checking, it's clear wearable devices aren't going anywhere and developers will need to keep them in mind.
Today, mobile apps are more powerful with the integration of technologies like AI/ML, IoT and cloud computing — allowing them to deliver better experiences to end users. And as more and more of our lives can be managed through our smartphones and tablets, these mobile computing trends will have an increasing impact on our day-to-day lives.