The average time an average US consumer currently spends daily on mobile is around 3 hours (2 hours 42 minutes to be precise.) Out of this 86% of the time is spent only on apps. The number of apps already available on the different app stores are overwhelming, to say the least.
2014, A Year in review
Google has crunched some numbers and presented us with the hottest category this year. The health and fitness category topped the charts as the most emerging category. The category has a cumulative of around 100,000 apps on Google Play and the App Store, a figure that has doubled in the past year.
The year 2014 also saw an interesting approach by both Google and Facebook. While Facebook tried to enlarge as well as encroach at the same time, on the market developed by Flipboard, by launching Paper. Google launched Inbox and Calendar – two apps who are nothing but a better and more organized version of their predecessors.
Let us talk about Paper first. Paper was exclusively launched for iOS and on the launch day, it was No. 1 social networking app, and the No. 1 app in the U.S. Itunes Store. The numbers did fall gradually but those who use it, love it and those who do not use it, use ‘Flipboard’ anyways. Paper tried to harp on ‘social story telling’ which is vouched as one of the next big things. Medium.com, another big player in this domain, with blogging and social story telling at the heart, is still to launch an app. I guess the founders, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, who also happen to be the founders of Twitter, know the impact an app can have and they are just waiting for the right moment.
The Inbox and Calendar also gave us some food for thought. They are a more organized and personalized avatar of their predecessors (gmail in the case of Inbox.) The Inbox knows your priorities, your mental boxes, where you ‘bundle’ emails and the cherry on the cake is it can prioritize them for you, making your life simpler by the moment.
2014 saw a rapid development in wearable technology. Every giant in the space ran to win this race. Apple, Motorola, LG, Samsung. Everyone had to make a watch. Amongst these Goliaths, some Davids made an impact too – Fitbit, Pebble and Jawbone made the tech more personal than ever.
The trend is simple as well as interesting to observe. The apps in 2015 will be simpler and more personal than ever!
2015, The next generation of apps
With whatever limited knowledge and foresight I have gained through my tryst in the mobile app industry in the last 5 years, all I can say is every coming year surprises me with the advancement it brings on in the tech sphere.
Wearable tech was still a part of fantasies and sci-fi movies in the recent past. This year, we saw it became a jewel of many a hands.
Based on the trends that we as a mobile development company observe, the predictions for 2015 that I could come up with are enlisted below. I have tried to simplify things for you by dividing the small changes into five broad categories:
1. By Functionality: One of the major concerns that puzzled Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of the Facebook app was that the consumers didn’t use quite a few essential functionalities of the app.
This is not just one isolated case but a consumer behaviour trend. Mobile apps are more often than not, used just for the prime functionalities that the business has to offer.
Almost nobody would like to delve into the Facebook insights if offered in the app while it becomes an immensely important feature when marketers need to use the platform to sell.
Offering more features than the users demand or use makes your app bulky and slow and one of the first things that users hate about an app is the unnecessary memory you eat up.
The crux is – what you deem as ‘essential’, your users might not and understanding that is what will make your business sustainable.
2. By Personalization: I have already talked about how the apps are becoming more personal by the day. With a combination of your smart phone, NFCs and Wearable devices, a whole new ecosystem is created around you. They would become an active part of our life. By tracking and understanding our unique behaviours and habits, developers will be able to create apps that offer highly personalized recommendations and experiences.
We are looking at the emergence of not big but small data; a personalized gathering of data on an individual basis. This will be of immense value for the marketers. It will also give rise to Intelligent ads – Ads will appear at the right time, with relevant offers based on your interests, past buying behaviours and preferences.
3. By Design: If you are an android user, you wouldn’t have missed how Google Now puts cards to use. They can contain so much information in such small space.
Google has moved to cards on Android, same has been for Twitter and similar would have to be the path to be adopted by the apps to come and stay.
There are a few reasons why I say this:
• Cards are beautiful: Cards present a lot of data in a very structured, articulate and beautiful manner. Exhibit: see above.
• They help you multi-task: With uncountable apps installed on our phones, the one thing that we hate right now is switching between apps, just to catch the latest update. If we can have apps in the form of cards, imagine the ease it would have to check the Twitter feed on the Top, Gmail in the middle and Instagram on the bottom, all at once!
• You can do so much with them: Content consumption on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Line, you name it, is all built on the card design or can be easily morphed into it. Add a little creativity to them and I believe they’ll take over the future. Look at the image below and imagine how much we can do with cards:
4. By Location: GPS has been doing the rounds for past many years now and it was indeed a very big step towards locating the user but I am not hinting towards it. I am pointing towards the NFC devices with Apple’s iBeacon showing the way forward.
With Phillips and Motorola entering the market as well, we look at a world where your location will be available by the meter if not less.
More and more apps, especially those dealing with retail will try to bank on the technology as soon as possible. With seamless integration with Apple Pay and other online wallets, I believe NFC would change the way the whole retail industry functions.
5. By the level of interaction: You know why the chat became more popular than emails, because chats are real time. Can you guess why Google docs are so famous? The answer again is real time You know what is the future of application interactivity? The answer is the same –real time.
The level of interaction an app can have with its user has shot up astronomically. The lucid design and the seamless integration has led to the next level of interaction between the app and the user.
The recent success of QuizUp and Miniclip’s 8Ball are a testimony to the increasing importance of Ineractivity and Real time collaboration of an app.
The future will also bring threats along with the opportunities. Hackers love to exploit and expose vulnerabilities of a program and all apps are essentially programmes.
Conventionally the security measures will also be updated on the same lines and so will all the supporting architecture.
On that note, I wish you all a merry Christmas and a much technically advanced New Year!
The post was also published by Jayneel on LinkedIn