10 Head-Turning Mobile App Trends
A Proliferation of IoT Apps
The concept of IoT, Internet of Things, is not new; the idea that multiple devices can connect via the internet is about as old as the internet itself. But AI-powered IoT devices have gone mainstream; smart home devices are now commonplace and we're soon to see self-driving cars. IoT in healthcare is perhaps where we're finding the greatest strides, with IoT sensors streaming our health data such as blood pressure and glucose levels to healthcare providers in real-time.
5G is a Game Changer
While the 5G rollout has been slow across America, it is rolling out and will have a huge effect on mobile apps. We're talking about speeds of up to 100 times faster than 4G. With 5G connections, driverless cars are a real possibility, cloud computing will be the norm, and streaming 4K video can be a bufferless experience no matter where you are. Plus, augmented reality and virtual reality 3D will come to the average smartphone.
Chatbots Are Here to Help
Virtual and augmented reality has come a long way since Pokémon Go first grabbed our attention in 2018. And while VR has focused on immersive gaming experiences, it's certain to branch out into lots of other areas. Online shopping is increasingly offering augmented reality. Live music concerts will have increased VR audiences, attending a college class might mean strapping on some VR goggles, and Zoom meetings will probably get replaced by eerily realistic virtual get-togethers.
Mobile Wallets Go Mainstream
What are mobile wallets? They store your credit and debit card information on your mobile devices—popular mobile wallet apps include Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal. Millions of Americans make mobile payments now and that trend is expected to rise, on track to hit 100 million users in the United States this year. Online shopping, transferring money via smartphones, and more, will all be done through mobile wallets.
Hand in glove with mobile wallets, m-commerce covers the massive range of financial transactions we make with mobile devices. During coronavirus lockdowns, droves of retailers shifted focus to online sales and that trend shows no sign of slowing. We're going to see much more one-click ordering, voice shopping, and seamless connections between apps and brick-and-mortar stores.
Increased Biometric Authentication
Users of iPhones are familiar with Face ID for biometric authentication. More of this type of verification is coming. We'll be saying goodbye to entering passwords, typing in PINs, and swiping patterns to unlock our devices and access our favorite apps. A fingerprint scan will allow entry into banking apps, iris scans and voice recognition will confirm identities for a host of applications.
Beacon Tech on the Rise
Beacon technology has been with us for nearly a decade; a wireless Bluetooth device sends information to other devices. But its integration with apps has been increasing exponentially; your mobile device is now apt to come across a Bluetooth signal in lots of everyday situations. From product-availability notifications when you're near a store, to hotel information when you hit the lobby and so much more, beacon signals are coming to your mobile devices.
Blockchain to Battle Cyber Crimes
A household word for its use with cryptocurrencies, blockchain is a database, a way of storing information (in "blocks" along a "chain") that makes the info virtually impenetrable to hackers. But its use goes way beyond cryptocurrency. Media companies are protecting content with blockchain, governments are using it to secure elections, any digital asset that's bought or sold will likely fall under blockchain protection.
More Virtual Events on the Way
From work meetings to all-star concerts, events went viral with COVID and lots of folks liked the online experiences. Live-streaming apps may have gained some of the biggest benefits from the pandemic. Expect these virtual gatherings to get more prevalent and more sophisticated, allowing participants from across the globe to engage in ways that seemed impossible just a few years ago.
Nobody can predict with certainty where app development will go. But we can be sure that mobile apps will be an integral, and amazing, part of our everyday lives.Written by William McCleary for Knockaround.