Every year the number of people who own smartphones is growing. Mobile use has grown 58% year over year (comparing 2014 and 2015). Time spent with phones and tablets grew 2.9 times. Mobile app trends are developing even when you read this.
As of now (April of 2016) we got over 10 billion mobile devices that are connected to the Internet – twice as much as the number of PCs. With such a huge amount of devices the mobile apps industry is simply forced to grow and develop taking huge steps.
However, mobile apps trends the way they are today have some issues. Sooner or later mobile applications as we know them are very likely to disappear. Big companies already started developing all kinds of solutions to eliminate the concept of an app we’re used to.
In this article we describe two most probable outcomes of mobile apps. They are not really optimistic for mobile apps but why should they? Are you ready for some prophecies spiced with really cool new trends in mobile technology? Let’s get it started!
Future version 1.0: mobile apps are gonna die out
When Apple first opened App Store they were probably expecting to have a few thousands apps so users would be able to find what they want easily. Right now there are millions of apps on both App Store and Google Play – the stores have grown beyond a healthy size.
Regarding modern mobile apps issues the list can be narrowed down to the biggest two. First of all, people are pretty picky when it comes to choosing apps. Secondly, the idea of a modern app is “anti-Internet”, nowadays mobile apps are kind of closed-off little boxes.
Maybe back then when the very first apps appeared on the stores people were screaming bloody murder to get them all. “Give me more apps! Wanna try this one … and that one!”. If only they could see the nearest future of mobile apps…
Nowadays the situation seems to be quite the opposite. You should try really hard if you want to get the craved for space for your icon on a user’s home screen. People will think twice before installing an app, especially if it’s not free!
We all love apps because of all the upsides they grant us. They are really convenient things with some neat interface. Mobile apps let you do that thing you want from them inside of a fenced-off little world. This is a virtue and a curse of mobile app design trends at the same time.
There are so many apps that are not searchable or viewable on your browser. Hence you can only do stuff inside of the app. It means that you are forced to install an app even if you need to take a brief look at some casual content.
However, there are some solutions for this issue. Let’s take a closer look at them.
App linking and indexing
In a nutshell app linking is the thing that happens every time you click on a link and your smartphone opens an application that can do the best job for your request. If it’s a Youtube link a Youtube app is gonna be open, the same thing with Facebook links and so on.
So what do we call indexing then? Google App Indexing lets user click on the Google search results and sends them right into an app on their Android or iOS smartphones.
Facebook and Bing also have their own ways of linking and indexing.
You might think “app linking and indexing” has been the force for good! And you will be right. Yet wrong at the same time. Suppose there’s an app that doesn’t support indexing or linking? What do you do then?
And what if you simply don’t want to install an app to view some content? But they redirected you right to the store where you can must install the app. Probably happened to you sometime. You must’ve hated that, right?
Recently Google has come up with a pretty neat idea called “Google App Streaming”. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Instead of installing an application Google is streaming the needed parts of the app to your device.
This is really convenient since you don’t need to bother going to the store and then install the app.
Apple has been developing their own way of making users lives easier. It’s called On-Demand Resources (ODR).
Basically it’s a technology released with iOS 9 that only downloads a lightweight core of an application on installation. All the other extra parts can be downloaded additionally on request. This service is very likely to become an installation-free future of mobile apps.
What’s web apps? They’re applications you don’t need to install. You simply run them in your browser. Plus they are easily indexed by search engines. Sounds like a perfect alternative for mobile apps, doesn’t it?
This concept was first suggested by Steve Jobs back when he was introducing the first iPhone. However, as we all know, Apple joined the dark side and went on creating App Store and the Empire of Apps we got today.
Do apps have future?
As we all know right now native apps pretty much dominate the market. However, in order to target as many people as possible you have to create a few native apps for different platforms, which is pretty labor-intensive and time-consuming.
What we really need is a solution that would allow developers to target all platforms at once and let users from all kinds of devices access itself. That’s where technologies like App Streaming and Web Apps come into play.
Eventually we should come to a point where app installation isn’t needed anymore. You would either stream an app to your device or just open it in your browser.
Going back to the initial question: “Do apps have future?”. We got the answer: “Unfortunately for mobile apps in a perfect world there’s simply no place for them.”
Future version 2.0: Less apps, more integration!
As we already mentioned it’s getting harder and harder to get your app into a user’s home screen. We have already discussed possible solutions like app streaming and web applications. However, there’s another one that doesn’t necessarily mean total extinction of apps.
Actually Uber company has been applying this new approach for a while now. They don’t want to be yet another app floating around on the stores.
Uber developers have chosen the way of deep app integration into the most often used apps. And they’re doing a pretty good job. Their business couldn’t do better!
Integrate and rule!
As we already mentioned guys from Uber have chosen the way of a superior app: deep integration. One of the apps they’ve chosen to integrate into is CityMapper. Now you don’t need an Uber app in order to see the estimates for the time to get from point A to point B.
All the results are displayed in the CityMapper app in real-time! Although you still need to have an Uber app installed in order to go on with your booking, but in the nearest future this feature is definitely gonna be available right through the CityMapper app.
By the way, CityMapper is not the only navigating app Uber has grown its roots into. Now you can see driving time estimates for Uber in Google Maps as well! No doubt, eventually Uber is gonna get into all kinds of navigating apps you can think of.
Why not integrate into messaging apps?
Uber developers are leveling up by coworking with Facebook. They figured out a way to book an Uber trip from a conversation in the Facebook Messenger app. With the help of a basic bot Uber opened up new horizons of more than 800 million Messenger users.
There’s absolutely no need to install the Uber app in this case. The bot itself is the app! It creates an account automatically for new users in the background. Everything is updated in real-time automatically as well via that little bot. Pretty cool, huh?
So what’s the future of mobile apps?
Our future version 2.0 preaches that the future of mobile applications is by far in deep integration. With this kind of solution we’ll tend to have less apps yet we’ll get a much more elaborate network of those apps. Each app will pretty much be connected with all the others.
Welcome to the next level of convenience and awesome user experience! Welcome to the future of deep integration!
No one knows what’s gonna happen to mobile apps and no one knows whether such a thing as an app will be around in ten years. We can’t accurately predict the future. However, we tried to describe two most probable ways mobile apps might develop in the article.
Statistics on current trends of mobile app development show that popularity of apps is growing exponentially. However, nothing can grow forever. The good thing is – the latest trends bring up some good ideas that seem to solve the issues of modern mobile apps.
If you have any questions regarding your future project, feel free to contact us. We kick asses when it comes to developing apps with smart custom design!