Cloud Topics

10 Trends Shaping the Future of Mobile App Development & Usage

By Nicole Lim / September 7, 2020

Mobile phone representing the 10 trends shaping the future of mobile app development and usage

Apple first launched its App Store in 2008, with just 500 apps on offer. Since then, app markets for mobile and enterprise applications have evolved and flourished. Companies now focus their development efforts on this space, and organizations of all sizes rely increasingly on subscription commerce companies to fulfill essential operations and build modern efficiencies into their routine functions.

Experts predict that mobile app downloads will soon rise to 258 billion from 178 billion in 2017. 81% of all Americans currently own a smartphone, and that number will only rise as smartphone ownership becomes even more necessary for daily activities. Likewise, the software as a service (SaaS) market was valued at over $134 billion in 2018 and continues to grow as more companies turn to the cloud marketplace to replace outdated tech and legacy systems.

With these overwhelming numbers, it is clear that developers and companies need to understand what trends will influence mobile app development in the coming years. Those who don't keep up with new trends and practices are in danger of getting left behind or operating at a competitive disadvantage.

Here are 10 trends that you need to understand if you want your mobile apps to be on the cutting edge.

Voice-Enabled Technologies

Voice-enabled technologies allow users to communicate with their apps without touching their phones. At this point, it is still not possible to have complete conversations with voice assistants. However, phone owners can use voice controls to get their apps to perform specific functions. While the technology is imperfect, it is improving rapidly.

The use of voice-enabled technology can offer the option of hands-free app use to anyone. This option is something that all smartphone users may soon come to expect from their apps.

5G Technology

Why is there so much buzz about 5G? 5G technology may radically change the way people use mobile apps. It will reduce latency and increase data-sharing speeds for mobile phones. The environment will encourage the exchange of massive amounts of data between apps and services, and make the benefits of cloud computing even more accessible for all kinds of devices. This development could open up new app markets.

Not only will developers need to create apps that can keep up with this amount of data, but they will be racing to be the first to develop apps that can take advantage of real-time data to create new and more useful apps.


With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of devices with embedded computer hardware is increasing by the day. The IoT covers a vast array of systems.

Many users may already be familiar with home internet-connected systems — smart home technology — that control lights and heating. The IoT also connects medical device monitors, auto information centers, smart refrigerators, and automated manufacturing equipment controls.

More and more consumers will expect to monitor their devices from mobile phones and get operational data and warnings of malfunctions. Healthcare and manufacturing are two industries that will expect apps that can monitor patients and production, respectively.

Mobile Commerce

Payments via mobile wallets, such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay, continue to grow in popularity. Companies want to offer consumers the option of cashless and cardless payments, and the trend toward mobile commerce, in general, is leading to new app development.

Existing companies, including those with brick-and-mortar locations, want to offer mobile payment and shopping options, and newer businesses can start with lower overhead by using mobile commerce solutions.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Virtual and augmented reality technologies have been around for quite a while. VR is still in need of development, but developers have made great strides, and they now rely on virtual and augmented reality to drive engagement.

The viral Pokemon Go app was an early example of the possibilities of augmented reality. Both Google and Apple have augmented reality frameworks for app developers to use.

In addition to games and entertainment, VR and AR can help in training and education, engineering, and healthcare settings. In short, there are many possibilities for this technology, and the frameworks are readily available for developers.

Cloud-Based Apps

Developers have helped drive the cloud migration movement to store massive amounts of data. This extra information allows them to develop apps that aren't limited to smartphones' internal storage capabilities.

Cloud-based data can help with user experience because the app runs faster and doesn't take up as much memory on the phone. Also, users can access app features on the cloud regardless of the hardware specs of their phones.

From a developer's perspective, the cloud can speed up design processes. The cloud allows developers to create a single solution that can work on multiple platforms regardless of an operating system. They can also make their app accessible from different devices without having to do additional testing or coding.

Instant Apps

Instant apps are apps that you don't have to download to your phone. They are also known as “progressive apps.” You can access instant apps via your browser, but you can also install a button on your phone so that they work exactly like a standard app.

They’re a relatively new idea, but they are an exciting option for developers because they can offer an app-like experience without requiring a user to download a full app. This option can be attractive to users who want to conserve mobile data but still access the app while not connected to Wi-Fi.

Motion Sensing and Location Services

Motion sensing services allow users to monitor their homes, businesses, and operations remotely.

Apps can also use location-based services. These can help tailor user experiences, create personalized offers and ads, and offer users directions to specific goods or services. Location services can work for end-users, but developers can also use them to create app features that collect user data for the company.

Wearable Devices

Trends like 5G and the IoT will drive the development of and demand for wearable devices. Developers will try to integrate wearables into the development of standard apps or develop apps specifically for watches and other tools that people attach to themselves.

Some companies offer access to APIs and frameworks that make it easier for developers to build apps specifically for wearable devices. Cloud computing plays a role because it allows wearables with small hardware systems to collect and transmit data without using too much storage.

Both users and companies may expect to integrate an app with their wearable device or download a version of the app specifically for a smartwatch.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analysis can help developers and companies foresee how an individual will use an app based on past data about the user. Predictive analytics already helps apps decide on user-specific ads or offers.

Users can also benefit from this technology as it develops. Predictive analysis can help users automatically customize their apps without requiring them to alter their settings continually. When it comes to embedded systems, being able to forecast conditions, settings, and other factors can help increase efficiency.