Mobile Application Development, though an emerging market has witnessed major changes in the past year. The year 2012 has been a watershed year for the mobile market in multiple ways with the number of smart phone shipments increasing at a very rapid pace during the year. Following are some of the leading mobile application development trends of 2012.
Emergence of Mobile Only Applications
As more and more applications designed for PC use, were transferred to mobile phones, many problems related to the use and functionality of such solutions emerged. At that point, many developers and users suggested the introduction of mobile-only solutions, however most companies did not aggressively pursue the issue due to limited commercial opportunities of the segment during the early years of mobility. Fast forward to 2012 and a completely different situation emerges in which Software Development Companies are vying with each other to develop the best applications for smart phones. In 2012, apart from witnessing a significant increase in mobile-only development, the market also witnessed the following trends, which will continue to affect the software development market well into the year 2013 and beyond.
Mobile Instant Messaging
Mobile users have often felt cheated by their carriers due to charges levied on messages sent from their phones. Even the highly secure and globally used BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) required a subscription charge for use. In case of PCs, users had Skype, which also worked on many smart phones, but the new generation of users wanted something even better. Due to the need for such applications, 2012 witnessed the introduction of numerous mobile instant messaging apps among which, WhatsApp emerged as the most popular. These apps allowed smart phone users to communicate with each other irrespective of the operating platform (Android or iOS/iPhone) and at minimum costs.
Online companies have often created a separate mobile website to ensure that they woo the users of mobile internet adequately. This in itself provides an opportunity to serve a targeted audience by displaying advertisements specifically for mobile users. In 2012, many mobile application development resources were focused on developing apps, which aided the process of mobile advertising. Additionally, these apps also provide key consumer data to the company engaged in deploying the application to run advertisements on its mobile website.
Mobile Health Monitoring
These apps range from relatively simple smart phone apps, which provide you with information such as your BMR and calorie intake information to much more complex apps that continuously monitor heart rate, blood oxygen level etc. These apps are an emerging market with significant potential to develop further in the recent future. The primary target of these apps is expected to include health care workers apart from casual users of smart phones. Currently available applications are relatively less accurate and usually provide only approximate values. From 2013 onwards, users can look forward to a range of mobile health monitoring apps, which are more accurate and user friendly.
Location Based Services
This is definitely one area in which, smart phones have completely revolutionized our existence. Maps and related applications are now a staple for all smart phones – a definite necessity for mobile users who travel a lot as well as those who navigate within cities for work or pleasure. Currently available location based services provide a wide range of information such as addresses/map locations of nearby hospitals, diners, small businesses as well as much more. However, not all companies get it right the first time as we saw in case of Apple Maps. Google is still the undisputed leader in this field and other Mobile Software Development companies will continue to try and improve their current offerings in 2013.
Mobile payments such mobile banking through SMS or dedicated mobile apps witnessed a significant increase in 2012 even though many users were disappointed by the lack of Near Field Communication (NFC) payment systems, which were expected to be available during the year. Even then, the year was important for the industry in terms of attracting more and more users engaged in using mobile payment systems. As soon as the residual problems related to presence of malware on smart phones is sorted out, users can expect further expansion of this market as well as the introduction of more advanced applications, which enable new ways of paying safely through mobile phones.
Like any other technology market, the Mobile Apps Development industry is evolving and by 2013, the current market is expected to move towards new directions. That said, one thing is certain – mobile phones are definitely the future of the IT industry and it does not matter if the industry is driven by BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or CoIT. Some other development trends expected to catch on and contribute significantly to the mobile apps space in the recent future are: Mobile Music, Mobile Search and Mobile Browsing. From an enterprise point of view, 2012 was another key step towards the development of an all pervasive company-wide and secure enterprise mobility solution capable of supporting multiple platforms while ensuring adequate data security.