If you're in any way involved in technology or development, you'll know that the industry is constantly evolving. Almost too quickly for us to keep up. And, while it's important to look back and see what worked and what didn't - though, let's not look too carefully at 2020 - it's also useful to look forward. Cast your gaze to the future and see what trends and technologies are likely to be part of our lives in the months to come. With the ever-changing development world, this is always an interesting exercise. Here, we take a look at the top 7 mobile app development trends for 2021 - to see what the future has in store...
Top 7 app development trends for 2021
1). 5G technology
It started being rolled out last year - with a fair degree of controversy. But now it looks like 5G is here to stay. And, is likely to start influencing the mobile app development market in quite a big way. Apple has even adopted 5G for their latest releases of iPhones and Nokia claims to be 'the partner to choose for delivering 5G'. So, with these big companies jumping on the bandwagon, what does it mean for the future of mobile apps?
Well, one thing we know about 5G is that it offers a high speed and low latency connection - making it super fast. This will affect everything from streaming services to IoT devices. Some even claim it'll allow smartphones to hold battery for up to four weeks. In short, 5G could make more innovation possible in the world of mobile app development.
In 2020, we saw a huge move towards online shopping, with loads of retailers having to adapt and offer e-commerce services - as an alternative to brick and mortar stores. An offshoot of this was the rise of m-commerce - mobile commerce. Because, if we were going to be shopping online, we wanted to be doing it from the convenience of our smartphones. And, mobile shopping apps like Superbalist and Takealot became better and better to use - does anyone shop on their websites anymore? According to Statista, m-commerce is projected to make $3.5 trillion in 2021, accounting for almost 80% of global e-commerce sales. Time to get in on the m-commerce game.
3). Progressive Web Apps (PWA's)
Leading on from the m-commerce trend is the adoption of Progressive Web Apps. Because, if you're toying with the idea of skipping out developing a website and going straight for a mobile application, PWA's allow you to do both with relatively basic technology. A PWA is a responsive web page that can be installed on your phone as an app. So you don't need to build a website and separate mobile app using native or cross-platform technologies. And, if the capabilities of a PWA seems limited, it'll still manage to do everything required for an e-commerce or m-commerce app.
4). Blockchain-powered apps
We've got to the point where blockchain no longer only means Bitcoin, as companies in almost every industry - from banking to logistics - adapt to the distributed ledger technology. Because of its data immutability offering, a blockchain-powered application allows you to reduce costs, enhance transparency and offer more efficient and secure transactions. It's, therefore, a predicted trend for 2021 that small startups, large companies and even government start introducing blockchain-powered applications.
5). Wearables and apps
When you think 'wearables' you probably immediately think Apple Watch. But, after 2021, that might no longer be the case. These days, companies like Huawei, Samsung and Garmin are stepping up to give Apple a run for their money. And, as the Android and Android-dedicated market continues to improve, the race could get really tight. In the face of COVID-19, people changed their approach to exercise and wearables took off. This health trend shows no signs of slowing down, which means the demand for wearables and their supported apps will only increase.
6). Augmented Reality (AR)
This technology is moving faster than we can keep up and, thankfully, growing more practical and beneficial as it goes. It's no longer just about creating cool social media filters or trying on spectacles from home. This year, AR is predicted to get bigger and bigger, affecting industries like hospitality and marketing. And, of course, the healthcare field has already seen the benefits AR can have on things like consultations and medical training. Expect to be creating more AR-related apps and mobile apps if you're up for it.
We saw this trend make an impact in 2020 but, this year, it's likely to really take off. And, as we strive to create a smart and interconnected environment, there's more than enough room for mobile development to help make life even easier. This trend is expected to influence industries like home technology, automobiles and healthcare as we hope to lock a front door or check a patient's heart rate from our mobile phone.
And, if you hadn't quite had enough of making predictions and learning about upcoming trends in mobile development, there are a few that only just missed the list.
An exciting trend to come to the fore in 2021 is the rise of flip phones - yes, that's right. Companies like Samsung, Motorola and LG are all experimenting with fold- or flip-phones and this could cause quite the headache in mobile development. UX designers will have their work cut out for them creating visuals for multiple screens.
In 2021, we're also expecting to see growth in event streaming as we grow more accustomed to life during a pandemic. And cloud-based solutions are expected to account for 83% of enterprise workloads by the end of 2021. If you aren't already keeping an eye on cloud computing trends, you should be now. Here's to an exciting year for the mobile app development world!