Mobile phones have become so ubiquitous that it is impossible to not have our’s in our person always. There is even a psychological condition called Nomophobia, it is the fear of being detached from mobile connectivity. The number of smartphone users in the world is estimated to exceed 3.8 billion users in 2021. With technology evolving at a rapid pace, and everyone you know carrying a phone on their purse, businesses are using mobile apps to offer their services and products directly to consumers.
With the corona virus becoming a mainstay in our lives, businesses are forced to create their presence online. Because of this, businesses that never bothered about the online world are creating websites and mobile apps on a war footing just to stay relevant. It is a great time for mobile app developers to embrace the newest technologies on the fore to build applications that will serve their clients and end-users in a better way.
A variety of factors deeply impact the mobile applications world and here is a glimpse of what is in store for us in 2021.
#1 5G Technology:
The connectivity speeds in 5G networks is expected to reach 20 gigabits per second during peak time. It is going to change the way mobile apps are made for consumers. 5G networks are expected to improve the overall network performance, capacity for traffic, and are even touted to offer a tenfold decrease in latency. You can expect increased functionality and multiple use-cases for mobile apps.
Developers will easily be able to integrate more features without worrying about affecting the quality and performance of the app. It will result in improved content, video-based experiences, 4K video streaming, and can even have the necessary bandwidth to handle VR and AR 3D objects.
#2 Augmented Reality:
AR isn’t a new technology that has only reached mobile applications, but its potency and abilities keep increasing each year. Remember the Pokemon game? Hundreds of thousands of people were able to interact with virtual objects that were displayed over the screen. The number of mobile AR devices and smart glasses is expected to exceed two and a half billion units by 2023.
Harley Davidson, the motorcycle brand has developed an AR app using which shoppers can view a motorcycle they might be interested in buying, customize it with colors, features, and so on. The immersive experience that AR offers provides a superior gaming experience to users, which makes it one of the most sought-after technologies by gaming companies.
#3 Mobile Wallets:
Most people living in urban cities rarely get their transactions done in cash. These days, when buying anything on the internet, online payments are the most used, but even when purchasing from a physical shop, people prefer making payments through mobile wallets. There’ll come a time when debit and credits will be passé. In the immediate future, your money will be in your mobile phones.
The global mobile payment market is expected to be worth $3,081 billion by 2024. Alibaba, which is the world’s biggest mobile payment platform, has more than 1.2 plus billion daily active users. Beat that!
#4 Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and Progressive Web Applications (PWA):
PWA is a technology that lets you use a website as if it were a native app. They are a highly responsive and shareable solution which works even when offline. Twitter, Pinterest, Alibaba, The Home Depot, etc., are some of the websites that have used this technology.
PWAs are great for websites that require user interaction, like social media, e-commerce websites, and online educational platforms. AMPs are suitable for online magazines and newspapers.
#5 IoT will become bigger:
The Internet of Things will play an even bigger role than earlier. IoT refers to a network of connected objects which collect and exchange data with the help of embedded sensors. The IoT marketplace is expected to grow over $2.4 trillion by 2027. From healthcare, wearable devices, smart home devices, edge computing to AI and Big Data, IoT-based mobile applications are going to become extremely significant.
IoT technology is going to be one of the biggest driving forces in mobile application development. It has the power to change the way businesses work and consumers behave. With IoT, you can literally turn your smart home on- appliances, security systems, cameras, control devices, etc, you name it.
#6 Foldable phones:
Since phones with foldable displays are gaining significance with the advancement of technology, mobile apps will be built exclusively for them. Users can enjoy the functionality of the foldable phone by compressing or expanding it based on their liking. While these phones are quite new to the market, you will see a major adoption of them which will result in more apps developed for them in 2021. DSCC (Digital Supply Chain Consultants) expects Samsung to capture more than 80 percent of the foldable smartphone market, which would amount to at least 4 million devices.
#7 Beacon Technology:
Beacons are small, wireless transmitters that send signals to smart devices nearby with the help of Bluetooth. By connecting and sending information to smart devices that are in its vicinity, Beacon technology makes location-based searching and interaction pretty easy. This technology can solve many problems for users, especially for businesses that serve customers in the field of transportation, retail, news, technology, etc. There are different types of Bluetooth beacons in the market, the most popular ones are iBeacon by Apple and Eddystone by Google. Retailers like Target and American Eagle use Beacon technology to inform their shoppers about deals, discounts, product recommendations, and so on.
The hospitality industry uses this technology to offer a faster check-in process for customers. Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic uses the Beacon technology in the Heathrow airport to inform premium passengers about their boarding passes and the in-flight entertainment that awaits them inside the flight. The use-cases are plenty as businesses can find exciting ways to communicate in a strategic way.
#8 Personalized shopping in retail:
There was a time when retail customers wanted to touch and feel the product before buying them. Thanks to the ubiquity of eCommerce sites, that attitude has long dissipated. Retail stores can still use such technologies to bring in customers for their physical stores. This is where personalization comes in. While the shift to a personalized retail experience has already become a reality, the extent to which it happens has only increased.
2021 will be about building mobile apps using advanced tools and technologies which make the end consumer extremely happy. IKEA offers Augmented Reality (AR) where prospective customers can virtually see and experience the products that they sell. The Home Depot allows its customers to use their mobile app to locate a product within the store thereby helping them save time. It even offers QR codes and barcodes to customers who can use it to learn about the products while shopping.
#9 Blockchain technology:
One of the most important technologies in the Industry 4.0 world, Blockchain has the potential to change humanity in so many ways. The industry is expected to grow to 39.7 billion USD by 2025, that too at an annual CAGR of 67.3% during 2020-2025. Blockchain technology maintains transparency, secures data, and has wide-ranging applications in many industries.
In areas where people might have smartphones but live in rural areas, it will allow these individuals to participate in eCommerce transactions without even being charged service fees by banks or any financial institution. If you want to build an app that uses a transactional interface, requires payment gateways, and has data that needs safeguarding, then Blockchain is the right choice for you.
#10 Machine Learning and AI:
Machine Learning in the mobile app development world is all about simplifying business processes and creating delightful experiences for consumers. From Netflix’s recommendation engine to Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly,’ every one of us in the civilized world have been benefactors of machine learning technology in one way or the other.
If you have used Snapchat, you will find a feature that enables you to add elements like glasses, hats, dog ears, etc, Tinder uses ML for its ‘Smart Photos’ feature which increases the chances of finding the perfect match. eBay’s ShopBot, a chatbot that recommends products for its customers with the help of its ML algorithm.
We are living in exciting times, the latest mobile applications you will see will completely outshine our expectations. Every update of mobile apps results in sleeker apps that use advanced technologies. Just to give you a simple example of how far we have come, none of us would have imagined that it was possible to hail a cab with the help of your mobile phones. Uber happened in 2009 and the rest is history. There are many more companies that have revolutionised the way that we live our lives- all because of a business idea and a mobile application.