The Future of Mobile Apps

Smartphone in Hand

The pandemic has once again changed our relationship with the digital world, and much of what has changed in a short period of time is not going away anytime soon. Online education, home office, social distancing, or remote work and the limited possibility to travel have strongly influenced the development of digital “networks” and related apps. One thing is certain: mobile apps have been and continue to be one of the big winners. We spend more time in apps than ever before. The growth seems to know no bounds (some figures can be found on our blog here).

The pandemic is (hopefully) coming to an end and in the following we want to look a little bit into the future: More precisely at 5 trends that will be particularly exciting as drivers of new innovations in the next few years.

High-speed Internet on the move

The new generation in mobile communications, 5G has actually been on the market since 2019. But, as always, technical penetration is taking a bit longer. In the next few years, 5G will become the new standard for everyone. It creates the basis for new customer experiences such as augmented reality games or the networking of machines in industry and smart devices.

Worldwide 5G Smartphone Connections
Wachstum der 5G smartphone connections weltweit (Quelle: emarketer, 2021)

The technology will drive the digitalization of many areas of life with the smartphone and its mobile Internet access. Whether we surf the Internet on a mobile basis or via a fixed line will no longer play a role – on the contrary: mobile Internet is becoming increasingly faster.

Mobile payment and authentication

Good old cash has often been predicted to die. Now, however, even the biggest skeptics can’t deny that mobile payment is on the rise in all kinds of life situations and circumstances. Mobile cashless payment systems that enable us to make contactless payments have been fueled not least by the Corona crisis. However, the trend is not just about payment, but authentication in general. The smartphone is replacing not only the wallet, but soon also the ID card. In the next few years, corresponding apps will thus become even more firmly anchored in our everyday lives. And: completely new possibilities will arise in terms of convenience, user experience and use cases.

Artificial intelligence in your pocket

It’s hard to imagine a world without automation and artificial intelligence. Even if we don’t always realize it, most systems are programmed to recognize and work on problems relatively independently. In fact, we are already surrounded by artificial intelligence.

While such systems have so far mainly operated in the background, the number of mobile apps that derive direct customer benefit from them is growing rapidly. Apps are also becoming increasingly “intelligent.” One example is voice assistants (e.g., an app that recognizes a Corona infection by its speech), but also many image editing programs. There will also be exciting new innovations in the area of games, communication and knowledge transfer, and health.

Regulation of the app stores

A topic that is generally on the rise, not only in Europe: the regulation of the large platform providers! After the initiation of two EU antitrust proceedings against Apple, the tone is also getting rougher in the iPhone company’s home market (see here). Of course, the focus is particularly on the App Store, because this is also an instrument of power for Apple and also for Google. It is no longer just about commissions for app sales (Apple has already accommodated some developers and customers here…). It is generally about how apps get onto the smartphone and who sets the rules here.

In general, it is not expected that this will break the supremacy of apps – on the contrary. Users prefer native apps for many reasons. The so-called “sideloading” of apps that do not come from the App Store would not change this much. Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see where the journey will take us.

On Demand Apps

So-called on-demand apps are the digital helpers and butlers of the present. They save precious time and make life easier in many ways. Whether they take care of our daily shopping and have food delivered to our doorstep in a matter of minutes, or the personal trainer, doctor or stylist doesn’t have to come to us instead of us having to fight our way through traffic ourselves. According to the motto “time is money”, this frees us up to use other services from the areas of entertainment, music and communication. Apps make our lives easier. A trend that has of course also been multiplied by Corona.