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12 Remarkable Mobile App Development Trends in 2021

The mobile app development industry is constantly changing with technology advancements, consumer demands and a number of factors. These factors do have a direct effect on mobile app development trends. Keeping up with the latest trends is undoubtedly one of the most important facets for success in this space. We are constantly looking for patterns in these development trends that will gain an edge in the coming future.

As it is, 2021 is supposed to be the year of mobile apps. This year, the mobile app development trends are more controversial than exciting. There is supposed to be a rise in augmented reality mobile commerce and 5G internet will make it possible for consumers to select insecure cloud services inside their devices. Apart from this, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies are going to take over lots of human jobs. Are you ready for mobile app development trends in 2021? We have created a well researched list to come up with this list of app development trends that will succeed in 2021.

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is not a new concept anymore, businesses have been working on it for years now. However, the increase in mobile penetration across a range of sectors has built new opportunities for the Internet of Things. People have now adapted to the growing use of technology to enhance the quality of life. The IoT is an evolving network of devices interconnected to the Internet offering convenience and automated control to users. For instance, Smart home is a perfect example of the enhancement in IoT and mobile application development. Mobile applications can be used to adjust the thermostat in a house, lock or unlock doors and connect to home security systems. Moreover, household appliances can also be linked to mobile devices.

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The Internet of Things industry is slated to reach $222 billion by the end of 2021. Now, $161 billion of the above amount is solely going to come from software, like mobile applications. This is a good 14% rise from 2019. As shown in the above graph, the IoT is poised for stable growth in the following years with mobile app development leading the way. In 2021, we expect to see more mobile application development with the IoT in mind. It is noteworthy to keep a close eye on automobile, healthcare and smart home devices. 

2. Application development for Foldable Devices

Smartphones have seen a remarkable growth and transformation in the last few years. Touch screen devices with a single or no button have taken over the market. However, foldable smartphones have started making a comeback which is a good sign for the market. In 2019, we saw some amazing foldable smartphones like Samsung Galaxy Gold, the Huawei Mate X and the improved Motorola Razr.

The devices fold to compress or expand the original screen size depending on the user preferences. For instance, a user might make a call with the phone closed but watch a movie on a larger screen by unfolding the phone. From an app development point of view, resellers and content creators too need to adapt to these devices.

The point is that an application should seamlessly adjust its display according to the screen size. As of now, foldable smartphones are just a fraction of the overall smartphone market but this can quickly change in the near future. Around 20% smartphone users are happy to buy a new smartphone with a foldable design. In essence, 2021 will be a major year for foldable smartphones which means mobile app developers should plan accordingly. 

3. Emergence of 5G Technology

The launch of 5G technology will have a major role on application development trends in 2021. For developers, this technology is expected to change the way applications are built and used. Take a closer look at the expected growth of 5G smartphone connections over the next few years.

In 2021, we will likely see upto 4 times more 5G connections than in 2020 and it will almost triple by 2022. What does this mean for mobile application development? There will be a major shift in speed and efficiency of smartphones. It is expected that 5G will deliver a ten times reduction in latency by boosting network efficiency and traffic capacity. When compared with 4G, 5G will be upto 100 times faster based on your mobile network provider. 

The expansion of 5G technology will definitely boost the functionality of mobile applications.This will enable developers to include new features to apps without impacting app performance. Mobile app developers must also use the 5G network during development and testing stages of an application.

4. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology has been widely accepted by a large number of sectors around the world. From retail to hospitality sectors, beacons can include an advanced functionality to any mobile app.The first use of beacon technology dates back to 2013. However, in the last few years, there has been a major shift in this technology.

For instance, if you are a mobile app reseller that develops applications for retailers. Your clients can install beacons in their outlets that connect with a user’s smartphone using Bluetooth if the app is downloaded on their device. When customers pass by a beacon, they can be notified regarding a sale or special offers in that outlet.

Beacons can also be used to track buyer behaviour in retail outlets. They can determine if a user is spending a significant amount of time in a specific aisle. The application can instantly send a push notification to attract users for a sale at a later date. The primary advantage of beacon technology is proximity marketing. In the end it enhances customer experience within a mobile app.

5. Mobile Commerce

The list of 2021 mobile app trends would be incomplete without mobile commerce. It has been a notable trend both in 2019 and 2020 too. Looks like businesses are leveraging mobile apps to increase revenue. From large retail outlets to individual content creators, everyone is looking to leverage mobile commerce. This is one of the best features for mobile application resellers to show during client pitches. It looks like every day a business is launching a new app to drive sales.

It is not certain but we are getting to an age where it is a must to have a mobile commerce app to stay alive in the market. Every single small business is directly or indirectly competing with a giant like Amazon. To keep up with that, you need to replicate what these brands are doing. By the end of 2021, it is estimated that more than 70% of ecommerce sales will be coming from mobile devices. Mobile applications play a crucial role in the existing and future success of mobile commerce. 

6. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming an integral part of mobile app development in the last few years. But these are still early days for these advanced technologies and it is just the tip of the iceberg. When you think about AI, the first thing that comes to mind is Alexa or Siri. But the actual use cases go way beyond this for mobile app development.

Examples of AI characteristics that can be included in a mobile app are:

  • Face detection
  • Image recognition
  • Text and image classification
  • Speech recognition
  • Predictive maintenance

Artificial intelligence can make applications faster, smarter and enhance the performance at every stage. From the backend development stage to the frontend user experience, AI will definitely improve the way how applications are developed in 2021. 

7. Chatbots

Chatbots have been around for a long time now. The first interaction with chatbots was in  AOL Instant Messenger. In the last few years, chatbots have improved a lot and become way more advanced. Chatbots have increased in popularity due to growing user demand. It is becoming the new standard of customer service. There are millions of applications in the world and only a small percentage of these applications use chatbots. This is going to change for good in 2021.

As chatbots are powered by AI technology, their responses have become like a human. We have already mentioned how AI will continue to grow in 2021 and this is one of the major reasons. It is estimated that around 25 percent of all customer service interactions were conducted by chatbots in 2020. For this trend to flourish, chatbots need to go deeper into the mobile app development industry. 

8. App Security

Anyone is vulnerable to cyber attacks starting from individual content creators to conglomerates. Malware attacks designed to harm mobile devices have increased by more than 52 percent. More than 60 percent of fraud happens from mobile devices. Out of that, about 80 percent comes from mobile applications. From a developer perspective, you cannot take any shortcuts when it comes to app security. 

App users know about these security issues. Hence going forward, users will not share their passwords or sensitive information with third parties like app developers. Mobile app developers will start including features like Sign in With Apple to mobile applications. Instead of forcing users to sign up with their name, email and password, they will be able to register using their Apple ID alone. As there is a two-step authentication process, Apple would not be able to track this information from the users. 

9. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality will continue to rise in popularity in 2021. Mobile applications can use augmented reality features for a number of reasons. Pokemon Go was one of the first apps to make use of augmented reality in mobile app gaming. However, now, the apps for AR have become more practical for real-time applications. For instance, users can now use AR technology to see different hairstyles and colors on the user. 

Google Maps launched a feature called “Live View” where users can see directions in real time on live locations. By pointing the camera direction at buildings and street signs, the application can figure out exactly where a user is. There are multiple applications of augmented reality. Like, businesses can use AR-based applications for employee training and development. You can make use of AR technology to be creative like Instagram and Snapchat do with their face filters.  

10. Mobile Wallets

We have already discussed the importance of mobile commerce for mobile app development in 2021. But the way people use their smartphones is changing too. Mobile wallets like Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are going upward. In 2019, there was more than $6 billion worth of transactions from mobile wallets which will increase and reach upto $14 billion by 2022. The mobile wallet market should effectively double in the next couple of years. 

Mobile wallets must be taken into account for mobile application development in 2021. Waller integration should become a standard feature for every application that processes transactions. At the moment, it is not the case. However, mobile wallet penetration rate in applications will grow substantially in the next few years. 

11. Cloud Computing 

While cloud computing is not new, it has not breached the mobile app industry to its full potential yet. Cloud computing has a wide number of possibilities for mobile development which will be further explored in 2021-22. Cloud storage technology can enhance the performance of mobile applications at the user end.Applications can store data and carry out complex tasks on the cloud instead of storing information on the user device. 

Along with streamlined development, cloud computing is a cost-efficient development solution. By the end of this year, more than 80 percent of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based. If you are developing business applications or workforce apps, you need to keep a close eye on cloud computing trends in 2021 and beyond. 

12. Instant Apps

Android introduced the concept of Instant Apps a few years ago. However, we are going to see a steep increase in its development and usage in 2021. Android studio enables developers to build instant app experiences to enhance their app discovery. Users can try the app without installing it by clicking on the “try now” button. There is a size restriction with instant apps so it won’t be a complete version of the app. Now, these limitations could change in the near future.

App users are looking for the ultimate user experience. Offering them an option to use an app without actually downloading it is a good way to provide that. If you are building Android apps for the Google Play Store in 2021, it is best to have an instant version as well. 

Wrapping Up:

Mobile app development is continuously evolving. If you are developing apps according to development trends of 2019 or 2020, it will be difficult for you to stay ahead of your competitors. Having said that, it is not compulsory to use each and every app trend to build your app. However, it is best to have a good understanding of how the market is changing so you can adjust accordingly. All these mobile app development trends have generated a lot of excitement in our team at Nimblechapps. Are you ready to embrace the change in mobile app development? Let us know about the challenges that you are facing during app development in the comments section below. 

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Keval Padia is the founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing mobile app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.