The year 2018 draws to a close and 2019 looms on the horizon. Will the New Year bring something new and radical or will we be seeing just incremental advances in mobile app development? Here are a few mobile app development trends worth keeping on your radar.
Instant applications and progressive web apps to gain traction
It would not be an understatement to say that mobile users are fed up of installing apps, be disappointed and then trash it. 2019 holds something better for every android user. The concept is nothing new. It is being implemented but instant apps mobile app development could shift gears. Users can heave a sigh of relief. Now they can access apps in browsers and use it without downloading. Progressive apps make it even better. Once launched in the browser you can switch off the internet and they will still work. Progressive web apps are even better in that they will work with slow speed internet and low specced devices. However, instant apps are better for playing games so both will run on twin tracks. So what will mobile phone users do with all that whopping storage space that new mobiles are being equipped with by their makers? That is another story.
IoTistic mobile app development
It is here and it is growing in numbers. We already have Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home Brand as being symbolic of things to come in the Mobile- IoT combine. The possibilities of sensors driving mobile application development and mobile app developers fine honing IoT integration skills will make it a more connected world, possibly with Orwellian echoes.
Wearables will be on the rise, further deepening the Orwellian apprehensions and big brother always watching if governments should choose to use wearables tech to keep track of all citizens or employers outfit employees with trackable wearables. Anyway, the brighter side of wearables is that doctors can better monitor patient health and render timely assistance and service providers can know whereabouts of employees and optimize their movements, such as in courier or food delivery.
Google and Apple have always locked horns in the matter of safeguarding their app ecosystem much to the woe of users and enterprises that wish to build and deploy apps. They must build an app for iOS and another for Android or a hybrid one that has its own glitches. Would it not be nice if mobile app developers could come up with one app that works on both platforms? It is good and heartening to know that they are indeed going the cross-platform way. It is not because they have developed a sudden fondness for users. It is the insistence of companies that wish to retain fickle customers who keep jumping ship all the time. Whatever the reason, it is all to the good.
It is AR and not VR that is likely to forge ahead in 2019 and beyond given that augmented reality has practical uses. Apple has shown just how serious it is by releasing a new ARKit platform. Google has followed suit with its ARCore. AR makes shopping fun as IKEA has shown but it will many different real-world uses and that is what will spur mobile app developers to give AR a thrust, aided by AI and ML.
AI and ML
Smartphones are supposed to be smart but till now they are just not that smart enough to deserve the label. This could, hopefully, change as mobile app developers with expertise in machine learning and AI finds ways to make apps smarter. A phone, could, for example, since its owner’s mood or even health when it has a measure of AI. If it has that capability, then the phone naturally will have apps that recognize commands and carry out actions or are even smart enough to talk back and advise their owners.
Chatbots get smarter
AI will have a great influence and one area where it will show is in chatbots. We see them as nasty intrusions on websites. Ask them a question and you are likely to find out just how dumb it is. AI infusion into chatbots by capable mobile app developers will make them smarter and well, almost human in responses.
AMP it up
AMP has nothing to do with audio. In the mobile tech world, it means application performance management, integrated into Google search engines in 2016 and well up to speed. It should take off in 2019 to deliver faster and better user experience. Couple that with 5G becoming commonplace and one may expect instantaneous page loads. Let’s hope it is not a pipe dream.
2019 is an exciting time for mobile app developers with capabilities of advanced development incorporating IoT, AI, and ML. This is what companies will want and the right developers will prove immensely useful.
We’re covering the tech-side of mobile app development, as it shapes the way the apps are being built, be it a messaging, travel or shopping app.
Without further ado, let’s get to the 10 trends we found crucial for mobile app development in 2019
1. AR/VR shapes mobile strategies
Augmented reality apps have grown significantly over the recent year, with success of AR apps like Pokemon Go, AR filters enhancing experiences of various social networks, and apps for businesses like the one IKEA created with Apple.
This year, with ARKit on iOS and ARCore on Android, we will see further advancements in this technology. These frameworks allow programmers to use devices’ sensors to map the surroundings and place virtual objects in it. Hence, AR will likely be used more often to showcase and promote products.
A good example of marketing efforts using AR technology is the Welcome to Marwen app, which promoted Robert Zemeckis’ latest film before its release. It uses the abovementioned tools (ARKit and ARCore) to display a movie scene on any surface, so users can investigate it from different angles, learn more about the characters and the movie itself.
2. AI will change the tech
The advancements in AI change the way we interact with mobile apps. Virtual assistants like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant can now help us with gathering information, organize our schedules, book an appointment or optimize our productivity.
The developments in Natural Language Processing and machine learning make virtual assistants more contextually aware, making their responses better and more accurate. At the same time, big companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon invest in solutions based on machine learning to create better conversational interfaces.
We’ve already seen apps that used neural networks and AI to create what other through a simple filter could do. The effect was stunning and we can expect other app developers to experiment with similar solutions. Today, AI becomes more than just a virtual assistant, as it tries to simulate a human friend. The Replika.ai app is a great example of the latter.
3. Security remains developers’ top concern
In 2019 mobile app security remains one of the most important trends.
The general growth of the industry, billions of users, 3rd party SDKs and the vast number of user data being stored by the companies made a security a top concern for mobile app developers.
We’ve already seen a growing trend of encrypted messaging apps like Telegram, mobile browsers protecting users’ privacy and an industry shift towards protecting user data, including Apple’s App Transport Security (ATS) and Google’s efforts to improve app permissions. At the same time, both companies included automatic security updates for their OSes.
We’ll definitely see more improvements in mobile security in 2018, especially in mobile payments, data encryption and privacy protection.
4. On-demand apps will continue to grow
In 2018 users worldwide got used to using on-demand apps. And I don’t only mean the ride-hailing industry precursors like Uber and Lyft. On-demand apps are taking over other types of services like cleaning, delivery, laundry, shopping or making appointments.
The trend will continue to grow as users like the convenience, speed and payment methods offered via the on-demand apps. As they make everyday tasks way easier, we will see more and more industries trying to leverage the gig economy.
5. The growing popularity of mobile payments
Mobile payments and payment gateways are becoming increasingly significant, as the number of users purchasing online grows steadily every year. E-commerce, travel booking services, on-demand applications all depend on mobile transactions.
This increased growth of mobile payments will impact security even more, as brands will have to ensure secured encryption while implementing mobile wallets and payments in their apps.
6. Mobile cloud computing will continue to rise
According to the IDC, almost half of IT spendings in 2018 were cloud-based. In 2019, we will continue to see growing numbers of tools and services based on the cloud. The growth will include Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and Platform-as-a-Service.
With mobile cloud computing (MCC) solutions, the idea is to offer rich mobile apps and seamless user experience on a variety of devices. This will benefit companies that want to serve their users on mobile but require more computing power, which could slow down the experience on these devices. A good example is mobile healthcare apps that need to process information to provide a remote diagnostics as part of their services.
7. Accelerated Mobile Pages
Loading speed is still a crucial factor for mobile users.
In order to improve it, Google has introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an open source project aiming to improve the mobile browsing experience. You can easily recognize AMP-based website searching Google on mobile, as they are marked as such.
Web developers, businesses and publishers will need to consider this solution, as it not only improves the user experience on mobile but is also an
At the same time, it is cheaper to develop and maintain the AMP than building a native or hybrid mobile application.
AMP and PWA comparison. Source: Smashing Magazine
8. Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps (PWA) have been dubbed the next generation of mobile web apps. They are free from constraints of mobile websites like slow speed and the need for constant Internet connection.
PWAs bring a native-like feel with features including offline and full-screen modes, a home screen launcher, access to the camera and push notifications. Plus, they are faster and consume less data than mobile websites.
Progressive Web Apps don’t require downloading and installation, which is the answer to mobile fragmentation and multiple operating systems.
A good example of a global brand that decided to build a cross-platform Progressive Web App is AliExpress. The owners of this online marketplace noticed that their mobile commerce grows three times faster than e-commerce, and wanted to improve the experience on mobile. Implementing PWA resulted in 104% more users on mobile and an 82% increase in conversion rate on iOS alone.
9. Android Instant Apps
Considering the high number of mobile applications in the app stores, Google realized how daunting it is for the users to download and update new apps every now and then, for different purposes. That’s why the company introduced its Android Instant Apps.
With Android Instant Apps users can download only the most needed parts of the application, accessing the rest of the content instantly through the URL, saving space on the device. Android Instant Apps are being developed simultaneously with Google’s Progressive Web Apps.
Vimeo, a video-streaming platform, used Instant Apps to reduce their Android app weight from 15MB installation package to a 4MB feature module. The app got rid of some libraries and used smaller image caching library. As a result, the app offers a better experience on Android devices, and the company saw a 130% increase in video sessions.
10. Chatbots will become more common
Chatbots became an integral part of communication apps like Slack, Facebook Messenger or Telegram. Companies like Intercom offer them as a part of their services to help brands interact with their customers 24/7.
And it’s easier than ever to build one’s chatbot using chat builders, ranging from the likes of AWS Lex, which may require some programming knowledge, to more straightforward builders that use existing components.
With multiple integrations and simple and affordable chat builders, we will see more chatbots driving conversations between consumers and brands in 2019.