5 Mobile Technology Trends To Watch In 2020

The world has already gone mobile with smartphones becoming ubiquitous and easily accessible to everyone. Whether you are an experienced mobile app developer, a first-time app entrepreneur or simply an app enthusiast interested to see in which direction mobile technology is headed, having a finger on the pulse of mobile technology trends helps you be adequately prepared for the imminent future. 

The technological transformations are taking place at an unprecedented rate never witnessed before. As the year draws to an end, the last few weeks aren’t just a time for thoughtful reflection and contemplation but also is an opportunity for preparation so that you can truly kickstart the next year. 

Here are our top mobile technology predictions that are going to propel the app industry forward in 2020 and beyond. 

1. mHealth and development of healthcare-focused apps

Focus on healthcare mobile applications is nothing new. From health and fitness conscious individuals to healthcare professionals and organizations, everyone is making the move towards healthcare. As of now, there are upwards of 318,000 health and fitness focused apps on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. 

Apple CEO, Tim Cook was quoted in an interview, “If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, ‘What was Apple’s greatest contribution to mankind,’ it will be about health.This statement goes on to show the focus tech companies have put on the healthcare sector and the advancements we are to witness in the arena. 

As both Apple and Google continue to put emphasis on health apps, this segment is poised to see rapid advancement in the coming years as well. Rise in individual awareness and propulsion of healthcare organizations to include technology in the care plans has the potential to skyrocket the patient engagement in their health regimen and improve the overall outcomes. 

Mobile apps are perfectly poised to assist healthcare delivery at every stage from preventive, diagnostic, treatment stage and even in the post-treatment phase by assisting in telemedicine. From AI-based apps that leverage machine learning to facilitate diagnosis to medical chatbots and virtual medical and nursing assistants, the range of medical applications is limitless and has a tremendous amount of unrealized potential that will prove to be a game-changer in the years to come.

2. IoT and apps for smart devices

The IoT industry is currently booming as we see a surge in the number of interconnected devices available for the consumers. From smart wearables like watches and bands to smart home appliances, the network of devices connected together under the internet of things is only going to rise further in the coming year. 

With Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in November this year, the company’s focus on wearable technology and development of mobile apps that integrate with other smart devices is clearly evident. We would likely see an increase in android and iOS apps being developed and integrated with wearable devices.

Apple, at its recent WWDC also announced its recent watchOS update under which a companion iOS app would no longer be necessary for watchOS apps making the smartwatch a truly independent identity. Mobile app developers now have access to a new platform they can develop apps for while focusing on providing an exemplary user experience on wearable devices. 

3. Artificial intelligence in mobile apps on the rise

Artificial intelligence and its various subsets like machine learning, deep learning, and natural language processing are rapidly gaining acceptance in the mobile world and we are currently witnessing a wide-ranging impact on the mobile app industry with more and more app developers looking to integrate AI into their apps. 

The versatile nature of AI has opened up multiple avenues of innovation in the world of mobile app development. Apple also unveiled Core ML 3 at its WWDC event which is the latest machine learning model framework intended for iOS developers looking to embed AI into their applications and making development of AI-based mobile apps easier than ever.

We would also see a surge in mobile applications with chatbots and those running on voice UI in addition to graphic UI. According to a business insider report, 80 percent of enterprises are looking to incorporate chatbots in their mobile apps and websites by the end of 2020 to streamline customer interactions. Since users are constantly driven towards a 24×7 availability of service, the integration of AI-driven chatbots is going to be the new norm within the mobile applications. 

The voice user-interface provides users a truly hands-free experience through the use of voice-based virtual assistants. The use of VUI in combination with the conventional GUI in mobile apps is going to turn into a powerful tool for the users. Add gesture control ability like the recently launched Google Pixel 4 and mobile app developers can successfully take the user experience up several notches.   

4. Developing apps for foldable devices 

The era of foldable phones is definitely upon us. The change has already begun with the introduction of Samsung Galaxy Fold but there are a number of devices slated for their release in 2020. Google has long been gearing up for this change and it officially announced its screen continuity API for foldable support on Android phones at the Android developer’s summit in 2018. 

Apple isn’t far behind when it comes to adopting this new trend and is supposedly working on a foldable device with the patents already secured. The folding phone from Apple could be coming to the market soon. 

The larger display is a boon for app developers as it promises a highly immersive experience for its users. This is particularly true in the case of gaming and eCommerce apps as the display size would directly relate to the user experience and let app designers and developers plan better for the extra app real estate available to them. 

The multi-window interface that foldable devices promise can let users multitask and run several applications simultaneously at the same time. So designing and developing mobile applications that run seamlessly on foldable mobile phones with a wide range of screen sizes is something that the developers need to keep on their radar in the future. 

5. Augmented reality for an enhanced customer experience

If you thought AR was only for gaming enthusiasts or developers engaged in building them, you may be running a little behind time. Augmented reality has already gone mainstream with both Google and Apple investing heavily in this technology. Your imagination is the only limit when it comes to thinking of the possible applications of the technology and it is already being utilized across a range of industries, right from healthcare to eCommerce. 

IKEA was among the forerunners when it comes to the adoption of AR into their mobile app when it gave users a snapshot of how their furniture would look in the exact spot they were planning to buy it for. eCommerce apps like Wannakicks took it further earlier this year by letting users visualize what the sneakers would look like on their feet before they actually went on to order it. 

Apple and Google themselves are pioneering innovation when it comes to developing AR-powered applications. Google, for example, is working on introducing the AR feature in Maps which would leverage the phone’s camera to give real-time directions for the user to navigate to their destination. 

Apple also unveiled its latest update to its augmented reality platform with ARKit 3 which has some interesting features like motion capture, people occlusion, multiple face tracking, use of front and back cameras simultaneously and so on. The AR experience is all set to become more realistic for the users and the process of developing an AR-based app is going to become more streamlined than ever for the developers. 

With so much happening on the mobile tech horizon, 2020 is surely going to be an interesting year for app developers. Which mobile technology trend sounds most promising to you? What are you more excited about in the coming year? 

Vinati Kamani
 

Dr Vinati Kamani writes about emerging technology and its application across industries for Arkenea. She is an avid reader and self proclaimed bibliophile. When Vinati is not at her desk penning down articles or reading up on the recent trends, she can be found travelling to remote places and soaking up different cultural experiences.