Mobile apps are no longer, well, mobile apps. They've amalgamated with technology that's vying to get closer to you. I'm not talking about the air-conditioned tie or the iPod toilet dock. Although, the edible rice cracker iPhone 5 case could help with hunger pangs during long working hours.
Wearable technology, which makes it sound a lot cooler than saying, "I've got a computer chip in my glasses," is not the only thing that's pushing the envelope on the mobile app ecosystem. There are app-enabled medical devices, innovation in home automation and even car technology catching consumers' attention.
But no one knows what tomorrow holds including market research firms that predict the market for all wearable technology will more than double to $18.8 billion in 2016 from $9.3 billion this year.
What we do know is that consumers are opening up to the fact that their eyeglasses are no longer a simple frame and glass, but pack in a complex computer system; that their watches are no longer about the precision dial, but more about how well they can emulate their mobile phone.
Just look under the "Technology" tab on Kickstarter.com and you'll get a sense of how technology and apps are integrating with our daily lives. Let's take a look at what's driving the app economy forward and how that will affect app technology in the future.
Popularized by Google Glass and the Pebble Watch, wearable technology seems to be the next big thing, with the likes of Samsung and Intel joining the bandwagon. Wearable technology simply means clothing and accessories incorporating computer and advanced electronic technologies.
Some of the most popular accessories are smartwatches, with Samsung launching its latest range called Galaxy Gear and Qualcomm introducing Toq. Intel too has announced a new range of processors aimed at wearable devices. And Nissan isn't far behind with its Nismo brand.
Not only has wearable technology opened doors for entrepreneurs developing new products, it has also benefited app developers by providing a new platform for developing and selling their apps, such as for the Google Glass.
Some examples of apps developed for Google Glass are Glass Stocks which allows you to check stock prices right on your glasses and GlassFit, which keeps track of your fitness routines.
Wearable fitness devices in particular, have seen considerable traction. Case in point is the Adidas' miCoach that monitors athletic performance and has sensors that measure speed, pace and distance.
Apps like RunKeeper combine the health and fitness industries and also provide an ecosystem for fitness and health-related devices.
Keeping with the growth in the wearable health tech space, Qualcomm Life and California health system Palomar recently launched an incubator called Glassomics to support consumer and clinical applications for health-related wearable technology.
All that said, huge challenges such as credibility of diagnosis and privacy pertaining to user data still need to be overcome when it comes to wearable health devices.
But strides are being made. Big players from across industries such as Intel, Qualcomm and Nissan are investing huge amount of resources in wearable technology thus impacting smart phones, which are beginning to integrate sensors and apps that help foster the wearable tech ecosystem.
And as wearable technology continues to innovate and improve, the mobile app industry is more and more ripe for big-data reporting, analysis and implementation. What lies ahead remains to be seen, but the challenges and opportunities are beginning to show up for entrepreneurs and businesses.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.