The Future of Mobile Apps

With tablets and smart phones becoming increasingly popular, app developers are challenged to deliver portable mobile solutions that target today's market-leading mobile devices. According to Gartner, the revenue being generated by smart phones, laptops/netbooks and tablets is increasing. Gartner predicts that the total will top $52 billion in 2015.

The mobile Web offers an attractive alternative to native platform tools and technologies, and mobile web applications can offer a user interface that closely rivals that of native applications. Spurring this growth is the dropping costs of creating and distributing mobile apps are dropping precipitously, with some companies allowing people and companies to create inexpensive iPhone and Android apps for a $499 set-up fee and a $29 monthly hosting fee.

Mobile apps are moving fast towards new ways of experiencing media content. From games to newspapers, apps are allowing content producers to reach consumers who might otherwise not purchase their content. App developers should consider building everything from location-based services to object recognition (OR) into their offerings, as business customers will expect more and more from apps over the coming years. OR will allow phone users to perform tasks such as Internet search by photographing items with their handset's camera. Future apps will also allow people to watch video on the move, thanks to larger screens on smart phones and easy-to-carry media tablets.

Mobile apps will increasingly define the user experience of high-end mobiles, and smart phone users will increasingly expect apps to offer location-based services that tailor content to the user's tastes and location. Location-based mobile marketing allows users to access location-specific deals and special offers. With apps able to use networks for anything from gaming to shopping, as well as to access multimedia content, social networks will provide an increasingly important platform for mobile apps.

Gartner predicts that by 2015, contactless payment using near field communications (NFC) technology will be possible through mobile devices. This means that mobile apps will offer customers the ability to check in to a store by taking the phone into the premises, allowing the retailer to offer promotions via mobile devices, and the ability to add items to a shopping cart by taking a photo of an item or barcode in the store.

Cloud Computing is another fast growing aspect of mobile technology. The main advantage of cloud computing for mobile apps is that users will be able to eliminate the mobile service provider from their mobile app transactions. They will be able to download apps by simply accessing the Internet. It has been predicted that cloud computing will be almost completely initiated in the major mobile platforms by the end of the year 2015. However, this revolution has its own hurdles, such as the speed of the Internet connection. 3G networks are available in the market but last mile connectivity is still a concern, especially in non-urban areas. Some advanced technologies like HTML5 might prove helpful in overcoming this problem.

Experts predict that by 2016, the number of mobile apps downloads will reach 44 billion and the worldwide online app market will grow from approximately $6.8 billion in 2010 to $25 billion by 2015. Mobile apps in the business sphere are the future. Decision makers now see that these tools increase productivity, reduce paperwork, and increase revenue in ways other devices simply cannot.

Improvements in mobile technology will also lead to new improved applications. Whatever the future of applications, we can be almost certain they will be around for a long time and they will be amazing us well into the future.


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