As discussed in another blog post, mobile app development is booming worldwide. The number of Android users has already overtaken Windows users and it’s not stopping there. By 2020, the number of smart phone sales are estimated at 1.08 billion units per year, with Android making up 75% of the market share. To meet this demand for compelling apps, there are some key trends that developers should keep in mind when creating their next top-ranking masterpiece:
1) Utilizing APIs
APIs allow developers to create more efficient applications by working with backend services rather than coding them themselves. This means less time developing, which means more time testing….and let’s face it: we all know you spend most of your time testing. Some popular APIs that developers should check out and test the functionality of include: Google Maps API, Facebook API, Twilio Messaging API, and more
2) Getting More Social
According to Android App Developers expert’s, with an expanding user base (billions worldwide), social media is a core part of any business plan as well as integral for creating a successful app. Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter integration or selling through your own blog/website you need to be on top of this trend now. LinkedIn has already taken notice and implemented an Android app into its system (Facebook too). Get with it and get social- and if you can do both at once, it’s an app developer’s dream.
4) Location Based (GPS)
For obvious reasons, location-based applications are going to be a growing market. Whether it’s shopping, social networking, travelling or banking – your ultimate goal is to get the consumer to interact with you in real-time (the key phrase here is “in real time”). If you can do this successfully by providing information that is relevant and easily accessible when the customer needs it most then you will have an edge over your competitors. Google has already taken notice of this trend and recently redesigned its Maps app for iOS and Android.
5) Cloud Computing
It goes without saying: “everything” in computing is moving towards cloud storage and there should be no exception when creating mobile apps. Your application must be able to sync with the cloud, be it data or media. Users will expect your app to handle these tasks seamlessly, so it’s best to get with the trends now and start utilizing systems such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box.net etc.…to cover all possible needs of your users.
6) Social Sharing
Bringing back the social trend again – Apps must now include sharing buttons for Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn if they want to keep up with today’s demands. LinkedIn is testing out location-based apps that allow users to share their current destinations (such as airport lounges). These apps are growing in popularity because they allow users to interact socially AND at the same time provide information specific to their exact location (no more searching for a Starbucks, folks – it finds you).
7) Tablet Compatibility
The biggest growing market in the industry is tablets. Everyone and their mother seems to be creating an app specifically designed for these devices. If your product isn’t ready yet, that’s okay: just keep in mind you will need to create something that will work on both phones and tablets (expect this trend to continue into the future). Developers should test out apps on all devices possible before release- not only does this ensure compatibility across all platforms but it saves you money by fixing mistakes early.
Android users are always up for some fun! Android has had its share of popular games recently including Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds and Where’s My Perry have all been huge hits. These games have garnered a following of fans who frequent these applications daily checking for updates and new content to keep their experience fresh. Remember: the key is interactivity! Allow users to download upgrades, share scores with friends, receive notifications etc.…the options are endless so be creative.
9) Social Networking Integration
In addition to sharing buttons, don’t forget about social networking integration within your app. Myspace recently rolled out its own version of Facebook – it allows users to login via their existing account or create a new one (similar to Facebook Connect). This makes the entire process easier because users do not need to remember another of login credentials; they can keep their social media profiles connected and up-to-date.
HTML5 powered apps, GEO location-based apps, cloud-based storage solutions, social sharing options, tablet compatibility, gaming apps and social networking integration are the top 10 app development trends to watch out for in 2012!