Back when mobile first exploded onto the tech scene, few could predict its far-reaching consequences, or indeed what a prolific (and profitable) industry it would become. The tech industry already moves pretty fast, but if mobile’s meteoric rise is anything to go by, this is a sector you can’t take your eyes off for one second.
But before we get into some of the trends Dropsource highlighted for devs to watch out for, let’s have a look at the mobile application landscape. In 2016, comScore published its Mobile App Report and revealed that mobile now makes up more than 65% of all digital media time. That was last year and for mobile, the only way is up.
But it is not just mobile’s pervasiveness that should impress developers; by 2020, apps are pegged to produce a huge $189 billion in revenue through app store sales and in-app advertising (it is currently worth $88.3bn). To put this into context, if apps were a country, they would rank at number 50 globally – above both Romania and New Zealand.
Statista reports that there were 149.3bn app downloads in 2016 and we don’t know about you, but we want a piece of that pie. So what are some of the trends that are set to shake up the sector ever further?
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Sci-fi predictions aside, AI is already making waves. Tech giants like Google, Facebook and Apple are all gobbling up AI start-ups, which is usually a very good indication of what’s to come. As machine learning algorithms improve, mobile devs can expect to see apps that are able to quickly detect faces or process natural language.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR have been attracting lots of attention and amusement in recent years, yet this tech has more potential than just having a “wow” factor. The success of mobile games like Pokémon Go and devices like the Oculus Rift signify significant gains in the gaming industry, but there isn’t an industry or endeavour that can’t be aided by the tech. Travel tech companies could release an app that offers virtual walk throughs of destinations, while recruiters are already using the tech to give applicants a glimpse into office life.
Apple’s very own programming language is also set to have a big impact this year. It has long been the language on developers’ lips but as it is updated and matures, it will become ever more suited to the tech landscape of today.
Being mobile ready is a given for app developers, but are you wearable ready? According to IDC’s latest report, wearables should see a composite annual growth rate of 20.3% before 2020. Devices that are leading the pack are Apple Watch, Samsung Gear and the Pebble 2, and their success implies that wearables will continue on its upwards trajectory. It’s no longer uncommon to build apps specifically for Apple Watch or Android Watches, and so it bodes well to adapt current apps to fit the new medium.