The new year is just a few months away, but already experts are looking forward to the trends that will take shape in nearly every industry. These trends can be quite impactful, shifting the way those in the sector carry out their responsibilities and work processes.
Just one of these areas is mobile app development. This industry sees considerable changes on a frequent basis – not only because of new techniques and strategies for development, but in response to new devices and changing user needs.
Mobile use by the numbers According to statistics from UAB Collat and Tech In Asia, nearly every adult in the U.S. – 91 percent – owns a cell phone, and of these, 61 percent are smartphones. However, there is still more growth in store for the industry. Next year, an additional 1 billion smartphones will be sold, which is double the estimated amount of PCs that will be sold.
What’s more is that this growth isn’t only taking place within the United States. The world’s population is forecasted to reach 7.3 billion by 2016, and with the 10 billion mobile devices in use across the globe, this translates to 1.4 devices for each individual on the planet.
Researchers found that apps will continue to rule the mobile world, with users preferring these over responsive websites accessed via mobile Web browsers. Currently, 51 percent of users utilize at least five apps each week, and 31 percent use six or more apps. In addition, 24 percent use these apps for more than a half an hour every day.
Now that so many users are leveraging their mobile apps to connect with applications on a weekly, if not daily, basis, developers must ensure that they are paying special attention to users’ experiences and their needs. Let’s take a look at the trends that will dominate the industry next year:
Rising demands lead to faster development These statistics show the importance apps play in users’ daily lives. In fact, demands for new and improved mobile apps have risen sharply in recent years, changing the way developers create these platforms. According to InfoQ, not only do developers have to deal with increasing demands from users, but companies have also become highly competitive, hoping to be the first on the market to release an app or service.
All of these conditions will result in even faster mobile app development, where developers work to release new apps as quickly as possible.
“The main objective for mobile app developers would be to reduce the duration of the development lifecycles and cutting down the time gap that lies between ideation and launch,” InfoQ contributor Katie Stanfield wrote.
Besides rising use of rap app development tools, DevOps and agile development methods will be increasingly leveraged to keep up with the industry’s pace.
High focus on security Unfortunately, in addition to being utilized more frequently, mobile apps have also become attractive targets for hackers. Cyber-criminals use a number of strategies here, including creating fraudulent versions of popular apps to trick users and steal their authentication credentials, as well as creating apps with the capability to download additional malware. In fact, Gartner predicted that 75 percent of current apps would not be capable of passing even the most basic of security tests.
Compounding this issue is the fact that users now leverage their mobile apps for an array of different purposes, including personal and business.
In response to this recent threat environment, developers are putting a higher priority on mobile app security, according to TechCo contributor Nasrullah Patel. However, there is a delicate balance that must be achieved with higher security apps.
“No one would want a game to access and spread personal or financial information,” Patel wrote. “But on the other side, no user will appreciate an app so secured that won’t function with free public Wi-Fi or that will encrypt files so that they cannot be exported into the PC.”
In this way, apps have to be secure enough so that they keep users’ sensitive details protected, but are still usable and provide value. One way to work towards this balance is to adjust app permissions so users clearly understand what information the app accesses and what it uses this data for. In addition, using two-factor authentication and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access will also become increasingly popular.
Location and beacon technology While location-based services are nothing new for many users – location is tracked for GPS and social networking apps – it will become even more popular next year, and be utilized in new ways. For instance, beacons are being installed in retail locations to help track shopping patterns and help users find what they’re looking for.
Stanfield also pointed out that beacons deployed in large buildings can be used for mapping or in emergency situations. For instance, beacons can help first responders see where an event took place and where people in need of rescue are located in the building, and temperature sensors can help show dangerous zones in the event of a fire.
Mobile payment equipped In the coming months, users can expect to have more opportunities to make purchases with their mobile devices, either through new Buy buttons on applications or increasing integration of digital wallets.
Currently, nearly 20 percent of commercial sales are coming from mobile devices, and companies are looking to boost this number through more mobile commerce solutions.
“Transferring money or purchasing goods using a mobile phone is becoming as common as using credit or debit cards,” Stanfield wrote. “This implies that developers can develop the mobile apps that can process transactions without needing cash or any physical cards.”
Data and analytics for user experience In the coming months, developers will also place a higher importance on the user experience. Through the use of big data and analytics, developers will be better equipped to see current trends and predict future needs. This will result in numerous improvements to the overall UX, both of current applications as well as those being developed.
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