The year 2020 has changed and redefined our daily life. As states try to keep the epidemic from spreading, telecommuting, social distancing, and travel restrictions have become the new normal. Consumers forced to stay at home turned to mobile to stay connected, entertained, and informed.
During the past year, mobile devices have been a central part of our lives and everything indicates that this trend will continue to be strong in 2021. There are many reasons to expect that 2021 will be a great year for mobile developments. In the 12 years that have elapsed since the arrival of smartphones, with the launch of the iPhone, the development of mobile applications has not stopped mutating at the pace imposed by technological evolution.
The breakneck speed at which mobile technology is expanding will put, according to a study by App Annie, more than 6 trillion smart devices operating worldwide by 2022.
Given this data, and with 2021 just days away, it is inevitable to wonder what will be the trends that will mark the future of Apps. These are some of the novelties that can be expected:
Foldable Android Devices
The appeal of foldable phones is clear: You get the power of a large screen that can be folded for maximum portability. Samsung, LG, Lenovo's Motorola, and others have been working hard to make flexible display products. However, it will be 2021 when we start to see reasonably priced folding devices. The foldable phone industry is still very young, so we can expect to see many more phones on the market this year. There are signs that foldable Android devices could be much more popular in 2021 and Microsoft also has plans to launch a foldable phone soon.
The main thing about Augmented Reality (AR) is the superposition of virtual objects and information on a real-world environment, to make the user experience more immersive. The use of augmented reality is expected to increase in the coming years and companies such as Google and Apple have already developed tools like ARCore and ARKit to make it easier for developers to create AR applications. Apple plans to launch its first augmented reality headsets and other products during the second quarter of 2021. They are also working with third-party brands on the development of augmented reality glasses.
The possibility of incorporating virtual elements into the reality that surrounds the individual, through augmented reality, is opening a new spectrum of application development.
From games that have broken records for downloads in a day, such as the popular Mario Kart Tour or Pokémon Go, to projects that aim to function as bridges to present historical data augmented reality will continue to expand its domains towards applications.
Progressive Web Applications
Progressive Web Applications, or PWA for its acronym in English, are the combination of mobile applications and traditional web pages. These do not require to be installed on the smartphone and consume fewer resources than a traditional application; This gives them the advantage of being compatible even with low-end equipment.
Another of its characteristics is that part of its functionality does not depend on a permanent internet connection, offering its users greater autonomy. And the benefits for developers? The costs of this type of application are considerably lower than those of standard applications.
Android Instant Apps
Following a bit, the same line as the Progressive Web Applications, this set of mobile applications offers users the possibility of testing -with a demo- an application without having to install anything.
Although these instant applications have not gained the relevance that was expected, many organizations are still willing to continue offering this possibility.
One of the markets that could benefit from this format is mobile games, as they tend to be larger downloads, and trying them before committing can translate into larger final purchases.
Internet of things
Connectivity between various devices, the so-called "Internet of things", is increasingly present. With the promise of the arrival of 5G and the reduction in latency times that this technology brings, the market for mobile applications dedicated to exploiting the possibilities of interconnectivity is expanding.
Artificial Intelligence and personalization
One of the sectors of mobile applications that will surely have an important boom, not only for 2020 but in the following years, is that of Artificial Intelligence.
With all these mobile development trends, the industry will continue to expand at a very rapid rate. Competition between developers and manufacturers of mobile applications will be more intense than ever in 2021 and it is essential that consumers fully understand how these trends work before starting to work with them.
The development of mobile applications is projected, at the beginning of a new decade, towards functionality through browsers, interconnectivity, and the use of artificial intelligence.
Given the growing need for users to receive fully personalized experiences, AI, together with machine learning and voice-activated interaction, seem to be the way to offer the desired unique and individual experience.
Although these trends are just the tip of the iceberg, 2021 will be a key year on the roadmap for the future of mobile application development. These will continue to be essential in all areas: academic, work, and personal.