The mobile industry is a very exciting space to be a part of nowadays. Despite its young age, the app arena is exploding and breaking new records every day. Another exciting characteristic of the mobile app ecosystem is watching new trends form every day. Some of the trends we have witnessed over the past year include photo sharing apps, location-based apps, and many more.
The following are 8 upcoming trends we can expect to see in the world of mobile apps in the coming years:
Right now, the amount of app stores out there across all mobile platforms is borderline ridiculous.. Between each platform’s own store like the App Store, App Market, App World, Marketplace etc. and the independent app stores such as Getjar, Mobango and many others, it is getting seriously overwhelming. The CMO of GetJar predicts in this interview that the app ecosystem will undergo some sort of consolidation over the next few years and the big players such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and others, will swallow up the smaller players by way of acquisition. In five years down the line, we can expect to see one or maximum two app stores per platform.
Among the many new types of mobile technology out there, augmented reality has to be the most futuristic and coolest. Qualcomm recently introduced its platform for augmented reality development that enables a developer to create an augmented reality app in a matter of minutes. There is no doubt that augmented reality technology will become more mainstream over the next few years and apps from all categories including games, utilities, entertainment, and tools will most likely utilize this new and exciting technology.
A trend we have seen a lot of lately is app developers creating an app that serves as a platform for other apps to connect to. Apps that stand alone and do not offer their own API are so 2009. Whether it is Instagram, Dropbox, Instapaper or many other super popular apps, this is a trend we can expect to increase over the next few years. After all, why limit your audience to just the people who actually download your app when you can offer your functionality via many other apps?
Integrated Social Features
I feel like it was just yesterday when the first “Tweet this” appeared in a mobile app and yet today, if you can’t tweet from your app, it is considered lacking a basic functionality. Whether you have a news reader, a photo sharing app, or a game, the ability to share information with your various social graphs is an absolute must. This functionality will only become more of a necessity in the coming years with social media showing no signs of slowing down and some might say even replacing traditional media in various industries.
While one year ago, it was enough to have an iPhone app, in today’s app ecosystem, cross platform availability will guarantee further distribution, increased monetization, and true scalability. Of course, with the ridiculous growth Android, iPhone, and even other platforms like Windows Phone 7 are experiencing, the need to port your app onto other platforms is pretty much a given and will only increase in the coming years.
In yesterday’s Distimo report, the company analyzed the app consumer market in Asia and to summarize the report, it is safe to say that Asia, when it comes to mobile apps, is a monster. It ranks second place after the US in terms of downloads. However, when it comes to monetizing apps in Asia, only one model seems to work and that is in-app advertising. In-app purchases are a complete failure and the ability to incorporate ads in your app and offer it for free has taken off in Asia and other places for both developers and consumers. Based on various predictions, the mobile advertising industry will surpass $50 billion by 2015. We can expect to see a whole lot more ads in apps over the next few years.
Near Field Communication is a new technology that seems to be replacing barcodes, which never really took off. Using NFC, you can interact with real life objects such as billboards with integrated NFC, or as Google is pushing hard for, pay for your groceries by placing your phone’s NFC chip close to the NFC scanner. All in all, this is a relatively brand new technology, but based on initial predictions, NFC will be reaching the mainstream in no time (it already has in many parts of Asia). Developers are sure to start developing apps to take advantage of NFC technology by the hundreds and thousands.
Chances are, you have not been exposed to this trend yet, but there are already countless apps that use voice activation technology. In fact, Apple actually acquired a voice activated search company, Siri, and voice search is integrated into both Android as well as Google on the Web (as of last week). We can expect to see many games show their faces over the coming years that are controlled by your voice and other app categories are going to being adopting voice integration as well.
There are many other trends we can expect to see and of course, there are many new technologies being worked on now that we are not aware of. Whatever the case may be, mobile technology is a super exciting space to be operating in right now.
Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter. I am @hilzfuld.
If you liked the post, you might find these interesting too:
- Nokia and LG to have phones with augmented reality features
- Google Search by voice available for S60, in Chinese too
- First handsets running Symbian Foundation’s open-source OS out in 2010
- LG Opens Developer Network
- Sony Ericsson offering mobile apps through PlayNow arena