Much has been said lately about the speed at which mobile applications are reshaping the business landscape. Today, mobile apps have become an integral part of businesses around the world and in some ways mobile technology has left the traditional business world behind.
Given the rapid evolution of mobile what should we expect to see in the near future? Without a doubt, there will be a shift in the mobile platform for businesses – in term of devices as well as applications. Based on existing trends here are a few features of smartphones and apps that may become key to mobile development in the near future.
1. No need to fill smartphone home screen with app icons
Apps are clearly going to be around in the future, but not necessarily in their current form. There has never been, and will never be enough mobile homepage space for each of the million plus apps that are available for download. Apps will still exist in the future but may serve as notification systems that push content as necessary – no more bulky app icons that consume prime homepage space on our devices. Notifications are increasingly getting interactive as well, allowing you to text someone back or take an action without completely launching the app.
The main feature here is cards. Cards let users see information and take action straight from a popup. For instance, you will be able post to Facebook or send an email without unlocking your device. Why open the Facebook app when you can get the content as a notification and take action? Cards are a powerful designfeature and they have been around for a long time. To understand better, we need to look at two factors:
• Design systems, not destinations
We need to design systems, not destinations. Mobile apps should be considered one part of a system and not a final destination in themselves. An app is not necessarily a closed system that only provides value when a user makes a decision to launch.
For example, it would be safe to say that Facebook is not a website, but a system of connected things, things which exist individually and grouped in many different ways. The Timeline, Pages and Newsfeeds are all just a group of independent posts. If I post a photo, it appears on my timeline as well as in my friend’s Newsfeeds. If I post something on my friend’s Timeline, it appears on the Newsfeeds of some of his or her friends as well. This means the feed on Facebook is card-based. It is not a set of screens in an app or webpages. You can use cards much the same way.
• Interactive notification
Notifications are rapidly becoming a key part of the mobile landscape. With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop, notifications not only offer quick actions but they are incredibly dynamic. With iOS 8 and above, Apple now let mobile app developers define actions within apps that users can take within a notification – without even unlocking their phone. You can like a piece of news right from the Notification Center or accept an invitation right from the lock screen. This increases convenience for your users.
2. No need to open apps
Won’t it be great if you can create content on the lock screen and take necessary actions on it, without unlocking the phone? A lot has been said about the iOS 8 feature that allows you to reply to messages, Tweets, or take action on reminders, emails, and so forth. One of the best parts of iOS 8 is its app suggestion feature. This feature uses your current location to determine if there is a business or venue who has an iOS app in the App Store. If it finds an app is relevant based on your current location, it will recommend it on your lock screen. No need to open the app. You can perform action directly from the lock screen itself.
Also with “Google Now”, for example, is an intelligent personal assistant that competes against Apple’s Siri. You can search, get directions, make notes, set alarms, and more – with just your voice. You do not even need to unlock your phone to take an action.
3. New ways to monetize apps
Once you’ve spent the time and money developing your business app, you will probably want to make some of that money back, and hopefully turn your app into something of an earner for your business. The monetization methods out there are numerous. In-app advertising and in-app purchases have been the effective ways for many to monetize their iOS and Android apps. This strategy works right now. However, it might not be here to stay. There will be several new app monetization methods devised in the near future. Mobile ads are going to evolve and perhaps become part of the notification system itself.
4. Future smartphone sizes
The days of tiny smartphones are over. When iPhones with touchscreens first appeared in 2007, they came with 3.5-inch screens and everyone was excited about their size. That, however, did not last for long as smartphone size grew pretty fast. Smartphones keep getting bigger and bigger, and that is becoming more apparent than ever in 2015. We see major manufacturers like Samsung offering smartphones with screen sizes up to a 6.3-inch display. We also expect to see some other cool innovations with screens in the near future. One report hints that a fully foldable smartphone could be ready by 2016.
You’ve likely heard this said many times before. Yes, timing is everything. A successful launch starts with great timing. Good timing can turn a mediocre product into a breakthrough success. Being too early or too late can be just the same as failing. Regardless of whether or not the idea itself is correct, bad timing could spell disaster. Concentrate on features that are likely to gain greater adoption andmake sure you understand the market landscape.