Mobile apps in 2019 – 10 trends worth to be highlighted
A year ago, studies by We are social and Hootsuite revealed that the number of internet users worldwide exceeded 4 billion and the number of mobile phone users exceeded 5 billion. The average internet user was supposed to spend six hours a day using devices connected to the Internet – a quarter of his or her life. To sum it up, it would mean that in 2018 humanity spent one billion man-years on the Internet. And there is no evidence that this trend is slowing down. More and more accessible mobile Internet, better and better smartphones make us believe that in 2019 we will be even more actively integrating the Internet into our lives. This will be primarily caused by mobile applications.
While a few years ago there was a lot of talk about mobile Web, HTML5 standards, mobile browsers, today it is becoming more and more obvious that this is not the right way to go. Applications have won the users’ hearts, providing more convenient access to information, entertainment, and various practical functionalities.
Mobile web became at best just an addition to the applications. Websites viewed on mobile browsers are first and foremost encourage users to install mobile apps. YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, Pornhub, Allegro… Although they still work in the browser, they only show their full potential on the smartphone through their client applications. The same applies to every online shop – it’s great to have a mobile website, but the conversion rate from it is far lower than from a desktop site. Even small e-shops are commissioning mobile apps in the hope that they will find a new home on the smartphone’s start screen.
However, it is not only the convenience of the users that have influenced this situation. Another factor was the reduction in the cost of entering the market with a new mobile application. In 2018 only two mobile platforms remained on the market – iOS and Android. Mobile Windows, BlackBerry, Tizen or Firefox OS ceased to have any relevance. So there is no need to worry about them, no need to bear the additional costs of software development. Furthermore, React Native technology has reached maturity, thanks to which it is easy to build a mobile application that will work as well on Android as on iOS. It’s true, React Native has its limitations, but in the case of a typical enterprise or retail apps they’re not noticeable.
And on the horizon, you can see one more solution. Wherever the budget is not sufficient even for creating a React Native application, it becomes possible to use Progressive Web Apps. This kind of software is installed directly from websites, without the involvement of app stores. In many cases, Progressive Web Apps can provide users with more or less the same experience as the native app. And most importantly, these apps work well enough not only on Android but also on iOS.
With these factors in mind, it is not surprising that revenues from the global mobile apps market (the value of sales in stores and ads emission) are expected to reach almost 190 billion dollars in 2020.
So what to expect from mobile apps in 2019? Here are the ten most important trends that we focus on in Matsuu:
Nowadays more and more users prefer the self-service – this is especially visible in the B2B industry, but also individual customers like independence. Chatbots, acting as virtual assistants in sales applications, turn out to be the solution that will allow the customer to fully automate the contact with the store. According to Statista, the value of the chatbots market is expected to increase by more than a billion dollars in the coming years. They will become part of the normal user experience, their absence will be considered as something bizarre.
On the one hand, it is the result of the arrival on the market the generation accustomed to communicators, on the other hand, the development of programming tools that allow the quick integration of chatbots with the existing applications. And due to the progress in artificial intelligence, with each subsequent interaction with the user, mobile apps will provide better and better responses through their chats.
2. Machine learning
If we are talking about Artificial Intelligence, we must remember that it affects the progress of not only chatbots but also many other smartphone functionalities. Above all, this means machine learning, which allows the analysis of vast amounts of data to provide the users with a more personalized experience, and the publishers of applications with a better insight into the users’ needs.
Speech recognition, image recognition, decision support, searching for the best offers – such solutions will be eagerly used in the new generation of mobile applications in the coming year. Gartner predicts that it will be the most important element of digital business in the coming years, whose value by 2022 will reach 3.9 trillion dollars.
3. Multiplatform development
It is true the fact that only Android and iOS remained on the market has significantly reduced the cost of software development, but still, the need for separate software development for two systems constitutes a serious financial barrier for many customers. Fortunately, in the last two years, it became possible to meet the needs of those who do not have at their disposal large budgets thanks to React Native. However, it is obvious that this Facebook-made technology is not sufficient for all kinds of applications.
Flutter, Google’s new framework for building visually spectacular multiplatform mobile apps, has no such limitations. With the release of its first stable version in December 2018, a new wave of beautiful and powerful apps is coming, and they can be immediately published on Google Play and App Store. For now, the challenge is to find programmers who are experienced enough with the still little-known Dart language. In this language, the Flutter apps are created and they use a number of its more advanced features.
4. Augmented reality
All these virtual reality goggles remain so far a curiosity for the gamers. They are simply too uncomfortable, too impractical to be used anywhere except for some types of games and perhaps a few specialized applications. However, 2019 will, in our opinion, be the year in which mobile applications will be eagerly upgraded with the technology that has grown up on the basis of VR, i.e. Augmented Reality (AR).
Pokémon Go was not just a one-time fad. Thanks to the increasing performance of smartphones, it will be possible to create breathtaking mobile apps that supplement reality with additional layers of information on the fly. More and more companies will use AR to improve sales and customer communication.
More and more applications will also follow Instagram and Snapchat and will be enhanced with interactive AR components, supported by Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore technologies. This impresses users and is ideal for use in advertising and loyalty campaigns in social media.
5. Mobile payments and wallets
Year after year, our shopping habits are changing. We replaced cash with plastic credit cards, and then start replacing them with mobile wallets and cryptocurrencies. This is because easy payments are what customers require from all sales applications.
And as mobile shopping has become the primary way for an increasing number of users to buy non-food items, solutions such as Google Pay are improving, allowing us to spend our hard-earned money quickly and safely. Thanks to them, smartphones are turning into our wallets. Now just wait for the digitalization of ID cards… In any case, according to BI Intelligence, by 2020, the value of payments made via mobile devices is expected to amount to 503 billion dollars.
6. Escape from ecosystems
Apple has done everything it could to convince users to their FaceTime, even though it does not allow them to communicate with Android users. Building such closed “ecosystems” of software has become a trademark of Cupertino company, even though it has not brought the desired results. iMessage has no chance in terms of popularity with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp available on every major platform.
In this war between Apple and Google, users will increasingly choose multiplatform applications that allow for easy data transfer between systems. The main reason for this change is the desire of the younger generation to try something new from time to time. Who knows, maybe, in the end, iMessage will appear on Android, like Google Duo was released on iPhone?
7. Instant Apps
In 2017, Google introduced Instant Apps technology into Google Play – allowing users to try apps from the store immediately without the need to install them. Of course, not every application can be tested in this way, in most cases, these are equivalent to the websites. Google also allows you to easily share them with your friends.
As users become more and more impatient, demanding shorter loading times, and 5G networks are still a distant future, apps will be offered more and more often in an instant form, thus eliminating the time needed to download them and install. The effects can be felt immediately – Vimeo has extended its average session time by 130 percent after being released in an instant app form!
8. Serverless backends
Serverless infrastructure is a booming pattern of software architecture, which eliminates the need to create and manage your own backends from scratch. Of course, this does not mean that mobile applications will not need servers. The service provider simply becomes responsible for all the essential resources involved in delivering and scaling the application runtime environment.
Thanks to such solutions as Google Firebase, we can simply build new software faster and cheaper, and these apps can scale almost without limitations. There is, of course, a side effect here: the software is dependent on Google infrastructure and we’re no longer in full control of application development. But if self-reliance is important, one can always choose the open source serverless solution Parse. In any case, we are going in the direction of API management rather than management of servers.
9. Data in the cloud
Internet speed is increasing faster than the amount of memory available in smartphones, especially those more affordable. We can still find devices with 16GB of built-in storage, especially in emerging markets. Meanwhile, more and more applications are storing large amounts of data, taking up space and causing the user to not be able to install further applications anymore.
This means that the need to integrate applications with cloud data storage services will increase. Ultimately, we believe that applications will store more and more data, including multimedia data, not locally, but in the clouds. It will also increase the ease of exchanging smartphones for new ones and increase data security. Whatever you say, an ordinary user cannot take care of them as well as a specialized service provider.
10. Motion and localization
Bluetooth beacon technology appeared prematurely and failed to make a big impact on the market, but this does not mean that there is no need for this type of solutions. In 2019 an important trend in mobile applications will be motion detection and location. For this purpose, all possible techniques will be used to transmit accurate location data. Gyroscope, accelerometers, magnetometers, and GPS will be complemented with data from Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 5G, allowing precise modelling of user movement in space, also in enclosed facilities.
Motion and location detection apps can be used to pinpoint colleagues, save energy, protect against theft, and are suitable for games (including AR games), fitness, geotagging and navigation applications.
These ten trends certainly do not cover the whole issue. In our industry, there are new breakthroughs occurring constantly. Smartphones and their software are solving more and more human problems, changing people’s everyday lives on a scale we could not have imagined in the previous century.
We are already carrying out many of the most important tasks with the help of the apps. Shopping, travel, banking, dating, entertainment, news, sports, education, and even health check-ups have all been transformed by the software. What will be the next area of human life that can be changed with mobile applications? We believe that some surprises in this area are inevitable.