Mitty Visotcky Head of Android/iOS

    Trends In Mobile App Development That Will Dominate The Future

    The mobile app development industry constantly evolves and is being directly affected by technology advancements and shifts in consumer preferences. Following the current trends in mobile app development allows companies to win more customers and make them more loyal to a product in thе challenging period of the pandemic.

    However, despite all challenges brought by the COVID-19 spread, the mobile app development market continues to soar, with the global revenue estimated to hit $44.3 trillion by 2027. The main reason behind this is that widespread lockdowns have shifted the general focus in app industry trends towards mobile-first, contactless, and connected services.

    In this article, we are going to figure out what are the most useful and practical mobile app trends for the near future and demonstrate why you shouldn’t pass up on opportunities to innovate while developing your own product. 

    Apps for foldables

    What is it? 

    Foldable devices mark one of the main new trends in mobile app development, and user interest continues to pick up despite the higher-than-average prices for such devices. The key advantage of foldable smartphones is their improved UX: they can be used as a phone, as a tablet, or in a more compact format, when folded in. In other words, foldables could deliver a desktop experience from a mobile phone and vice versa.

    Brands that present foldable devices include the industry giants, such as Samsung with their Galaxy Z Fold model, Huawei and Motorola. 

    How can it change the mobile app development landscape?

    This latest mobile app development trend presents a technological challenge for app developers. The demand for foldables is high and apparently will grow further, and the main task for developers is to tailor their apps to fit all kinds of screens, including folding displays.

    However, there is also a serious challenge for Android developers: switching from a single screen to an expanded screen in foldable phones should be as seamless as possible. The transition stage from a single to fully expanded screen should be uninterrupted and go without a flick. In other words, an app for a foldable phone should be able to adapt itself according to the screen size, which is complicated by the fact that there are various types of foldable options supported by smartphone makers. The solution for this issue is to adjust the display according to the measurement of the screen size.

    As we are talking about apps for foldables as one of the most noticeable app industry trends, let’s look at the most prominent product ideas for foldable screens:  

    • Browsing apps. This type of apps (and also news apps and social media) adapted for the foldable format will be in high demand. Particular attention should be paid to multitaskers that allow users to use multiple tabs simultaneously: for example, watch videos while messaging people online, post on social media and listen to music. 
    • Development environments and testing software that make it more comfortable to keep track of code itself, see the output, and access development tools. Thus, development environments, frameworks, and testing software should be among the first adopters of the foldable technology.
    • Productivity apps. Multitaskers will become even more functional, as there is more working space thanks to the dynamically changing size of the screen. Team and task management platforms should be adapted to foldable displays which means enabling multi-tab and full-screen interaction on mobile apps. 

    Voice-enabled user interfaces

    What is it?

    A few years ago voice technology had been perceived as just an additional function in devices and apps aimed at attracting more users. However, it has recently become the top mobile app development trend, and now the voice tech is no longer limited to Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri that people ask for their own queries: we are witnessing the rapid adoption of various voice-assisted devices in the workspace and at home, from voice-enabled car apps to virtual assistant technologies like Alexa by Amazon. The rapid development of voice tech is changing the way people are finding and using different software, and it is time for app developers to leverage this technology. 

    How can it change the mobile app development landscape?

    Below are several examples of the use of voice technologies:

    • Voice search.

    According to the PwC research, 65% of people aged 25-49 speak to their voice-enabled devices at least once a day. Compared to typing, voice search provides a quick and hands-free experience that makes browsing more comfortable and effective for users. The top three categories in which consumers use voice-activated searches to make purchases are groceries, entertainment, and electronics.

    • A voice user interface (VUI).

    VUI is an innovative approach in UI design, which combines voice recognition with predictive machine learning and enables users to interact with the app via their voice. This app market trend ensures a high level of personalization that positively affects customer conversion and retention. Siri and Alexa virtual assistants have brought VUI into the mainstream, and such corporate giants like Google and Sonos are following their lead. In fact, VUI allows to create more complex algorithms and software adapted to real human behavior for both at the workplace and at home: 

    • VUI for business.

    The most illustrative example here is Alexa for Business that was presented by Amazon in 2017. This VUI service is a kind of virtual secretary and is designed to assist employees in managing their schedules, keeping track of their to-do lists, dialing into conference calls, and making voice calls on their behalf. Alexa for Business also provides the opportunity for meeting attendees to control the equipment in their conference room using just their voice, notify specialist about broken hardware, and recall the latest sales data or inventory levels. 

    • VUI for smart houses.

    Compatibility between smart home devices is gradually leading to a completely interconnected household. For example, with Google Home, users can control every Google device in their home via their Android smartphones. Google Assistant can manage more than 1,000 smart home products including kettles, microwaves, robotic vacuums, and thermostats. 

    • Voice shopping consultants

    The pandemic has given a rise to e-commerce companies that now work to make shopping experiences work exactly as digital and futuristic as possible: these voice solutions guide buyers through online marketplaces, suggesting items, answering questions, and notifying users about current discounts or sales.

    Low-code and no-code platforms

    What is it?

    Another trending mobile app development technology is low-code and no-code (or zero-code) development approaches. In simple words, low-code and no-code tools are those that allow you to create apps or automate workflows almost without dealing with a code. Under the low-code approach, you should be familiar with the documentation and have at least a basic understanding of the code syntax. Meanwhile, the no-code approach is about a user interface and an intuitive design, so you don’t have to understand the syntax at all.

    According to Gartner, 80% of programming tasks will be delivered without coding by 2024. So, why are low-code and no-code tools on the rise now? There are two core factors behind this:

    • The logical evolution of technology.

    ​​First, there was machine code, then assembler, C/C++, Java, visual programming and more appeared. Programmers have always been looking for a higher level of abstraction to speed up development processes. Taking into account a widespread lack of engineers, this kind of approach can change the whole development scene. 

    • The pandemic effects. 

    The pandemic forced businesses from different industries to change their mindset and ways of doing business. This has resulted in the situation when businesses start embracing the low-code approach to simplify the process of development and make it faster than ever. We can expect to see new hybrid teams emerge, with businesses and professional developers creating apps together with low-code tools built on cloud-native platforms.

    Briefly, the advantages of the use of low-code and no-code platforms can bе summarized in the following way: 

    How can it change the mobile app development landscape?

    This looming app market trend creates new opportunities and products for the industry:

    • Mobile app builders. Glide, Draftbit or AppSheet builders allow users to develop apps using a visual editor and to connect UIs to various data sources. This is a good option for simple apps with a low budget. Note that most of these tools are still in their early stages, so you might need to hire a mobile developer to submit such apps to an app store. 
    • Backend. The app industry trend of using low-code and no-code platforms has led to the appearance of the opportunity to create data structures and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without coding. The best-known products facilitating this are Backendless and Xano. If your main business is mobile games or utilities and you want to save and manage some user settings in the cloud, such products could be a good fit for you. 
    • E2E no-code platforms. Mendix, OutSystems and Betty Blocks allow users to build web and mobile apps that include UI and backend business logic. This is the right solution if you need another web or mobile app to support client relationships or internal operations but would like to eliminate the need for staffing development teams.

    Cloud integration

    What is it? 

    Cloud computing, as the top mobile app development trend that has been present on the market for several years now, changes the way businesses and developers perceive the building of mobile apps. Cloud technologies use the internet to store and share data across many devices via protected online channels so that users have the assurance of data backup in case of any damage or loss. Gartner predicts that end-user spending on public cloud services is expected to increase by 23.1% to $332.3 billion in 2021, up from $270 billion in 2020.

    How can it change the mobile app development landscape?

    The main factor behind the widespread use of cloud computing technologies is their scalability: as per the business demands, the available capacity of the software should be adjusted. Plus, thanks to cloud technologies like Dropbox, AWS, SlideRocket, and others, it’s now possible to create influential apps that operate directly on the cloud. This means more powerful apps with minimum storage requirements will appear in the future.

    Cloud app development offers several other unique advantages that can provide significant value to businesses and customers: 

    • Reducing costs. Using this trending mobile app development technology, you can save costs on purchasing the data centers and physical servers to develop and run your app. 
    • Agility. The resources you need to develop and test the app’s functionality are available at your fingertips. You can quickly develop new software or features in response to user requests or changing customer requirements. This flexibility is extremely valuable in today’s fast-paced business environment.
    • More opportunities to innovate. Since you don’t need to manage the complex storage infrastructure to support the app, you can devote more resources to innovating, quality testing, and developing new features.
    • Faster value delivery. If you use cloud computing technologies, you can benefit from reduced deployment time so that users can test new features right away instead of waiting for infrequent batch updates.

    5G technology

    What is it? 

    5G is the 5th generation mobile network, a new global wireless standard after 4G networks. Generally, 5G provides so fast connection so it facilitates connecting virtually everyone and everything together including machines, objects, and devices in almost real-time.

    5G is meant to deliver higher multi-Gbps (Gigabits per second) peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, more reliability, massive network capacity, and increased availability. Higher performance and improved efficiency empower new user experiences and connect new industries.

    According to a GSA report, 58 countries had 5G networks as of June 2021, up from 38 about a year ago. A dozen more have had 5G mobile technology deployed in part. South Korea leads this competition, as it was the first country to deploy a 5G network and is expected to stay in the lead as far as technology development goes. 

    How can it change the mobile app industry landscape? 

    In the last decade, 4G wireless technology has become the standard for mobile app users around the world: 4G technology has provided reliable connectivity for apps like Instagram and other social media platforms, transportation apps like Uber and so on. 

    Meanwhile, according to some estimations, 5G is between 1.6 and 15.7 times faster than 4G. Together with the improved security and increased number of possible connections per square kilometer that 5G enables, the support of this new networking standard is on the verge of becoming one of the critical 2021-2022 mobile app trends. Generally, 5G technology brings three following improvements to the mobile world: 

    • Higher speed enabling transferring more data per unit of time
    • Lower latency and better responsiveness
    • The ability to connect more devices at once 

    How exactly will the spread of 5G affect the mobile app development industry? Below are several examples of how this technology will change the current state of affairs: 

    • The new level of video apps and streaming.

    5G technology will make users forget about lagging, as even apps running on relatively fast 4G, lagging can still be a big problem. Speed is one of the most important factors contributing to the loyalty of your app users: when the app’s streaming speed doesn’t hold up, many people jump ship after trying to use it. This app development trend also determines the basics of the industry: the next generation of video formats will likely be much more data-intensive than current standards such as HDR (High Dynamic Range), 4K, and high frame rates of 90fps.

    • Extremely fast file transfer.

    Such app industry trends as the spread of the 5G network will definitely influence the category of mobile apps based on the transfer of files, data, or money from one account to another.

    The 5G revolution is going to give these apps a major boost in functionality and capability.

    New apps with more storage and the ability to send larger files will appear on the market. 

    • Improved Internet of things (IoT) experience.

    IoT disrupted the market of technology innovations a couple of years ago. 5G technology can help to make this concept of a ‘smart home’ more reliable and functional: all appliances, electronics, and devices can be voice-controlled and interconnected in their functionalities. Another possible IoT advancement with 5G is the development of true digital assistants that have their hand in everything a user does. 

    • More realistic AR/VR apps. 

    5G also paves the way for creating more sophisticated and realistic AR/VR apps. The AR/VR experience will become more life-like, reliable, while apps will show much stronger and accurate performance. 

    Cross-platform frameworks

    What is it? 

    Cross-platform mobile development is the approach in app development envisaging the common code base for different operating systems (OS). Thanks to this app industry trend, businesses get the opportunity to create an app that will be compatible with Android, iOS, and other OS users without high development costs, while native mobile app development takes a lot of time and money. Plus, apps are updated internally — you don’t have  to add a new version to the AppStore and GooglePlay from scratch. 

    The most popular cross-platform mobile frameworks to build apps are React Native and Flutter. The latter is increasingly used in the fintech industry, as it proved to be even safer than native solutions due to the possibility to use reverse engineering to restore the source code. Surf has anticipated this trend and now has many Flutter projects in its portfolio. Most recently, the Surf team successfully developed the first Flutter banking app in Europe

    First Flutter banking app in Europe for Rosbank developed by Surf

    How can it change the mobile app industry landscape? 

    With Flutter, developers are able to produce high-quality apps that feel like native ones on different platforms. Below are the main advantages of using Flutter in mobile app development that can help you to deliver a better product faster than your competitors: 

    • Mobile UI-centered framework
    • Reusable custom widgets
    • Apt for animations of different complexity
    • Fast code development time
    • High performance
    • Hot reload to view changes immediately
    • Single code-base for iOS and Android
    • Light learning curve
    • Offers user experience similar to native
    • Great documentation
    • Rapidly growing community

    Besides, Flutter is an excellent choice for making a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Flutter MVP architecture is fully performant and not different from a native app. If you need to create a mobile app for investors as soon as possible, then Flutter is a good fit. It is much cheaper since you don’t need to create two mobile apps for iOS and Android simultaneously.

    Bottom line

    Mobile app development trends of today greatly affect the way apps are developed, perceived, and used. If you’re creating apps today using outdated information from two or three years ago, it will be really difficult to stay competitive in the market. Sure, app market trends can make or break the success of your project, but there’s no need to implement every single trend into every app you develop. But it’s important to have a general understanding of how the market is shifting, so you can adapt accordingly. 

    We at Surf always keep up with the latest trends in the industry and are ready to integrate innovations into your project. You can always contact us and discuss your project ideas.