Top Mobile App Development Trends for 2021

Every year, new technology trends emerge to drive mobile app development.

We believe these are the top trends that will shape mobile app development in 2021

1| Artificial intelligence: chatbots and voice assistants.

AI in our portable devices has been around for a few years now, with automated assistants like Apple’s Siri that can perform tasks and interact with real humans. These assistants have improved over the years, learning user behavior and providing a more accurate and personalized experience.

For example, Google recently launched an AI project called Google Duplex, which allows users to ask Google Assistant to make appointments over the phone by simulating a human voice and having a fluent conversation with the caller.

2| Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR) technology is not new. Still, each year it gets better and better. It is spreading at an unprecedented rate: mobile games like Pokémon have popularised the phenomenon, and thanks to AR, thousands of people have been able to see virtual objects on their screens that do not exist, but thanks to AR, thousands of people are interacting with virtual things and creatures that do not exist but appear on their screens. But the application of this technology goes much further and can be used in mission-critical areas such as safety, health, training, and industrial maintenance.

A building model displayed on an iPad using AR technology.

For example, police officers in China have started using smart glasses to identify suspects with facial recognition systems and detect criminals in crowds. However, we are still experimenting with AR in criminal investigations — an exciting example of how it can be used in society and undoubtedly become increasingly important in the future. According to Statista, for example, around 22.8 million AR glasses will be shipped worldwide by 2022.

Apple recently introduced ARKit 4, which enhances the augmented reality experience in custom apps based on the front and rear cameras (which are even better thanks to LiDAR). iOS developers can add the camera display elements as if they exist in the real world on the camera display. The technology has applications in games and enterprise information systems, where it can add real-time animated metadata to real-world objects such as business cards.

3| The Internet of Things

These days, almost any device or gadget you can think of made to be connected to the internet. Not only can you pull up the score of the latest Red Sox game on your microwave’s screen while you’re heating waffles, but you can also connect to other homes and devices to create a unified system that you can manage from your smartphone.

The so-called “smart home” is starting to grow, and it’s a groundbreaking topic for mobile development.

Drawing a “Smart Home” on the iPad

That’s because there’s no better way to control your home than with your smartphone. Imagine being able to open doors, open windows, and turn on lights with a single touch when you enter (or leave) your home. These things are possible now, and they are getting better as devices can perform more complex tasks when controlled by mobile apps like Apple’s “Home.” In fact, according to IDC, IoT investment is expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2022, and the development of mobile apps for it is closely linked.

In this context, Apple has introduced the HomeKit library in the iOS SDK, bridging the gap between mobile developers and the sea of IoT protocols, gadgets, and devices.

4| Mobile wallets

There was a chance if we had to pay for everything in cash. Credit and debit cards came along, so we didn’t have to carry many notes in our wallets anymore. But there is a simple denominator here, the wallet. What we usually take in our pockets has not changed until today. The prospect’s wallet will be your mobile phone, and that future is starting to become the present. Mobile payment systems like Apple Pay are becoming commonplace: according to eMarketer, around 36% of mobile phone users worldwide will be using mobile payment apps by the end of the year. One of the most challenging markets in this direction is China, where the upper and middle classes use mobile wallets for everyday purchases. In contrast, some beggars reportedly use the popular WeChat app to ask for money.

So mobile software developers need to be ready to add mobile payment features to their toolbox, and while there is Apple Pay, it is just one of the growing markets for mobile payment gateways. As with everything, as it becomes more popular, the features and capabilities that come with it become more critical. For example, mobile app developers should consider factors such as biometric and multi-factor user authentication in apps.

5| Biometric authentication in mobile devices

Using your body to prove your identity is a common feature of new mobile devices. According to various research papers, over 60% of smartphones shipped have fingerprint authentication capabilities, and this number is growing. Authentication technology advances year with faster and more accurate scanners, so they are now integrated into the bottom of the screen.

Biometric authentication on mobile devices is now commonplace. They use sensitive digital areas where data is expected to be protected, such as unlocking a mobile phone or logging into a bank account. Of course, like any security measure in the mobile world, there are vulnerabilities, but the combination of biometrics and traditional authentication methods makes it at the forefront of authentication security. Mobile developers should be prepared to integrate technologies such as FaceID and TouchID into their mobile applications.

6| AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and PWA (Progressive Web Applications)

Creating a fast, user-friendly website and works well on any device, especially mobile, is one of the main goals of developers. People will move away from websites that take a long time to load, but so will applications, and AMP and PWAs offer a new way to solve an age-old problem.

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open-source library that offers a way to improve website performance and load times. It introduces a few years ago and has gained popularity among web developers due to its efficiency. On the other hand, Progressive web apps are web apps that behave exactly like native mobile apps, offering a reliable, fast, and engaging experience. This technology’s advantage is that its development is less expensive than traditional native app development but gives closer results.

Can integrate AMP and PWA to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Since most full web browsing is done on mobile devices, mobile developers are working on both of them, increasing user engagement on your website and improving your search engines’ visibility, thus bringing you more traffic. Therefore, these two technologies are an essential trend in mobile app development in 2021 that cannot overlook.

Latest thoughts

The list of trends in this article is based on research and opinions from our mobile team but is not exhaustive. Other trends, such as instant apps and mobile blockchain, didn’t make the cut, but what do you think? What do you think of this year’s trends? Let us know in the comments section below!

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