2020 marks the end of an era in which we’ve witnessed a drastic transformation of the mobile landscape. At the beginning of this decade, many of us still had flip phones with limited capabilities. Today, we’ve come full circle — not only do we have smartphones capable of doing an array of digital tasks, but some of us are even splurging for foldable smartphones!
Mobile app development undoubtedly reached new heights this decade, and experts forecast that by 2020, annual mobile app downloads will reach almost 258 billion. That is a 45% increase from 178 billion downloads in 2017. The number of mobile users globally will swell to 7 billion by 2021. During this time, users can expect better app experiences, the latest technology, and automatic syncing to their other connected devices.
With the popularity of technologies like AI and AR growing, many developers are now wondering what new technology will actually be worth investing in during the new decade? The short answer is: Every emerging technology offers vast potential, but some are worth investing in earlier than others. Let’s take a look at the biggest mobile app development trends coming your way in 2020.
5G promises faster and more reliable internet and mobile browsing speeds. With this cellular technology, we can send bigger packets of data back to the cloud, analyze more dimensions and across more variables, and deliver almost-instant insights to users. Users will be able to video chat each other from across the world with no lag, connection drops, or poor quality.
This type of speed and reliability (up to 10x over the current mobile landscape) will completely change how people use apps. Over time, it will even open up avenues for developers to design and develop new mobile app features.
Businesses will be able to automate, analyze, and optimize their data and organization more than ever before. It’s unlikely that 5G will reach mass adoption by the end of 2020 due to infrastructure issues that many organizations are currently working on solving. But it will be much more readily accessible than it is now.
2. Personalized Experiences
2020 will be the year that brings personalized experiences for every user. To deliver a truly personalized app or experience, many developers will turn to AI, machine learning, and voice technology. Combinations of these three technologies will offer more interactive and intuitive apps.
AI and machine learning algorithms will constantly update their datasets with new information taken from the user’s previous actions, set preferences, and usage patterns. Automatically detecting that a user opens one app and then immediately opens a second app most of the time is one example of a pattern that can be quickly recognized by AI. These patterns can then be automated to save the user time and effort.
Voice-enabled technology will continue to improve, and even though we can’t have a real conversation with our voice assistants yet, we’re going to get one step closer to that vision in 2020. Voice assistants will better understand context and natural language cues, and the result will be more convenience for users.
3. Virtual and Augmented Reality
VR and AR offer more personalized and immersive user experiences, and apps for retail, healthcare, education, and meditation are prime app candidates for this technology.
Many companies are working on improving virtual and augmented reality technology, and the road has been bumpy from the start. The userbase for AR and VR applications is low, but the market penetration is expected to grow annually. Some companies haven’t reached their projected sales goal, while others have been acquired by tech giants like Facebook.
Google and Apple are leading in many of the new 2020 mobile technologies, including in AR. The two San Francisco-based tech companies have released software development kits named ARKit (Apple) and ARCore (Google) to help developers integrate AR into their apps. This extended code will benefit Apple and Android users across the world.
4. Cloud-Based Apps
Cloud-based apps store data in the cloud for use later on.
Using phone memory can slow down your mobile apps and require weekly maintenance in the form of deleting photos or unused apps. Instead, by utilizing the cloud to store the app’s data (including initialization code), we can access and run apps without using much of our phone’s internal memory.
5. Instant Apps
Google already premiered instant apps in 2016; these apps don’t need to be downloaded to work on your mobile phone. Instant apps are great for trialing apps, saving space on your smartphone, and getting a faster browsing experience.
Many experts say that instant apps walk a fine line between being a true mobile app and a true progressive web app since they don’t need to be downloaded and installed to be used. But for users, that fine line often doesn’t matter because it saves them more data and loading time.
A New Decade of Mobile App Development
Smartphones have become a highly personal connected device for almost everyone in the world. And although the new mobile technologies we covered will require investment in the form of time, money, and effort, we have no doubt that they will pay off in spades by improving mobile app experiences for users everywhere.
As we progress through this next decade, we will see mobile app development continue to transform and evolve. Mobile apps in 2021 will be a big step above current apps in the features and user experience they offer.
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