Technology

Mobile App Development Trends to Watch in 2018 and Beyond

Tech is always evolving, but here's what you can expect this year.
Mobile App Development Trends to Watch in 2018 and Beyond
Image credit: Tim Robberts | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Chief Executive Officer of Newpath WEB
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Smartphones have become an extension of our very being in recent years. From Steve Jobs saying he'd put an iPod in a phone to what we have now, usage stats prove just how much our reliance on these small devices has soared.

We use them for music, alarms, clocks, messaging across multiple platforms such as good old SMS, to Viber, WhatsApp and FB messenger, catching up on news, watching YouTube videos, checking email, corporate apps for time management, project management and many other tasks. Current records show approximately 3 billion people worldwide own a smartphone. Delve a little deeper and we see that those of us aged 25 and over use our smartphones around 265 times a day. As you would expect, those in the 15 to 24 age bracket hit their phones even more -- around 390 times daily. Break that down and we are all connected to our phones in one way or another every couple of minutes while awake.

It's this usage that helps drive innovation, new ideas and exciting development trends to meet a growing demand on how we engage with our devices and the apps on them. Here are some of the most exciting and important trends and tech ideas to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.

Related: 15 Useful Tech Tools for Your Business

Augmented reality and virtual reality

Most of us have now encountered augmented reality (think of when the Olympics broadcast overlays the country flags in each lane of the pool during swimming events) and virtual reality (instead of watching a screen in front of you -- you are immersed in an artificial, three-dimensional world with the use of a headset). Both of these technologies have revolutionised gaming and entertainment (think Pokemon Go for Augmented Reality or the Samsung Gear VR or Oculus Rift for Virtual Reality).

I'm expecting some seriously exciting times ahead for both augmented reality and virtual reality.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI is set to offer business users some very mouth-watering insights via advanced analytics, cognitive interfaces to complex systems and machine learning tech.

With Microsoft Pix, SwiftKey AI and Hound, we are seeing just how powerful AI is proving to be in the mobile app space.

Related: Marketing Your Business on Craigslist

Cloud-based apps

Cloud computing has earned its buzzword status in recent years. For apps, it's all about reducing the impact on a mobile devices' internal memory. Think of Dropbox or Google Cloud.

Mobile payments

Global mobile payments exceeded $700 billion in 2017, a rise of nearly $500 billion over the past four years.

Earlier in 2018, Google introduced simplified mobile payments with its Pay service. Pay is an app -- an app including Android Pay and Google Wallet under a single umbrella. And of course we have Apple Pay.

Instead of using credit or debit cards, a substantial part of the market are making use of pay based apps on their phones for payments, giving a push to m-commerce.

Related: The 25 Best U.S. Cities for Tech Startups

Wearable apps

This market is diversifying and is set for substantial growth over the coming years.

The market is focused on offering greater availability of cost effective fitness apps, supporting an ever-increasing rise in the total number of lifestyle diseases, which is being boosted by a drop in the cost of wearable devices, and the growing demand from the market for sports and fitness based apps.

There is a now huge range of wearable devices available, from smart sneakers to analyse your walking pattern, smartwatches to count your calories, wristbands to assess your sleep quality and smart gloves to help you with your golf swing. Expect this to only get bigger.

Blockchain

Blockchain is so much more than just the technology behind cryptocurrencies.

The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.

Block chain can add value in so many ways to the way in which we currently go about our lives and do business. Expect to see this technology become more and more prevalent in everyday life and business.

Personalization

Personalisation is huge, and the demand for it from business has grown exponentially.

Examples of personalisation that many of us will understand are from Airbnb and Netflix. They monitor your preferences -- the trips you take, the movies you watch and the searches you perform on their platforms, and then they tailor content to your behavior -- to offer you a far more personalized, targeted experience.

Related: 8 Online Careers You Can Start Today From Home

Android Instant App

An evolution in app sharing and app discovery, Android Instant App gives the power to Android users to view Android apps and view content without actually installing the app. This offers the ability to modularize an app so that users load only the portion of the instant app that they need, when they need it.

As an example, The New York Times offers their crossword to users, without the need to install their full app.

Greater focus on app security

It has been predicted that as many as 75 percent of the apps in the market wouldn't pass a basic security test. With the amount of personal data and confidential information many apps are required to deal with, security is becoming a major frontier for mobile app developers.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is a network of physical objects (the "things") embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity. These elements enable objects to collect and exchange data without a need for human interaction. Each of these technologies relies on the IoT in a different way, providing a competitive advantage or differentiator.

Predictions for IoT growth are explosive. This is game-changing tech and an incredibly exciting space.

Related: A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Mobile App

Beacons and location-based services

Application for this tech is vast across hotels, museums, sports and event venues, restaurants, retail outlets, healthcare and much more.

Helping people and business with relevant location-based information is only going to rise.

Conclusion

The next big thing is always coming in this industry. Tech moves at warp speed, but offers much more than innovation and excitement. It can solve big problems and change everyday lives on a grand scale.

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