9 Mobile Development Trends to Watch in 2019

Originally published January 23, 2018, updated January 29, 2019.

Mobile development is one of the most innovative and fastest growing sectors of the tech industry.

The average American spends over three hours a day on their smartphones (not including calls) and companies are pushing to gain a share of that time.

As mobile continues to work its way into daily life, the technologies rising to the top are ones that make that constant usage easier and more enjoyable.

It should come as no surprise that practicality, good user experiences, and convenience are the keys to winning public support in 2019.

Consumers expect their smartphones to do more than take calls and check email. They want more connectivity with the world around them, and they want that connection to be as safe as it is convenient.

To that end, here are the trends driving mobile developers in 2019:

1. Mobile Application Security

Users share more personal data with apps than ever before.

Mobile wallets have banking information, social media and habit trackers store details about personality and routines, and navigation apps keep records of everywhere a user goes.

At the same time, there’s enormous pressure to put apps out fast enough to keep up with consumer demand. Data breaches can be caused when companies rush development – and the risks are only rising.

The average cost of a breach was $3.62 million in 2017. Last year saw a 6.4% increase to $3.86 million.

In 2018 experts began tracking so-called “mega breaches”. These are cases where between 1-50 million records are breached, and they’re becoming more common as the Internet of Things (IoT) makes more user data available.

Alarmingly, 10 out of 11 of this type of breach are caused by malicious actors as opposed to technical errors. That shifts the focus from passively securing connections to actively preventing criminal intrusions.

In 2019, look for developers to emphasize security from the beginning of projects, with encryption throughout and automated testing at regular intervals. Artificial intelligence will also be on the rise for mobile security applications.

2. 5G Wireless Connectivity

2019 will bring the first major wave of 5G phones and wireless networks to urban areas. AT&T, which switched on their 5G wireless network in 12 cities last year, will add at least 7 more during 2019.

Sprint announced a 9-city 5G presence in the first half of the year with potential for wider coverage depending on how fast they can build out their infrastructure.

There were some test programs and small-scale rollouts from Verizon and AT&T last year, but without the right devices to handle it those haven’t done much more than raise excitement.

Now Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, OnePlus, and LG have all announced 5g-ready smartphones to be released this year.

Why is 5G so exciting? For one thing, it’s fast. 5G is at least 10 times faster than 4G.

Users will be able to download movies and apps in seconds rather than minutes, and streaming mobile video will be as fluid as watching at home.  C

arriers are warning that it’s only a little faster than 4G outside cities, but it’s still a major improvement considering how well it handles high-resolution media.

Latency is another major draw. 5G’s incredibly low latency- under one millisecond- will let multiple devices communicate quickly enough to respond to the real world.

Experts are primarily thinking of self-driving cars and drones, but the technology will also take mobile gaming to a whole new level of user experience.

5G is about more than smartphones, though. The technology is part of an overall shift towards improving the wireless infrastructure to support the growing Internet of Things.

5G could mean major advances for smart cars, self-driving vehicles, smart homes, Augmented Reality devices, wearables, and other mobile connected devices.

3. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

AMP is a set of protocols focused around HTML, JS, and a Google Cache that boosts the performance of mobile pages.

AMP-compliant pages load twice as fast as normal pages and perform well across a variety of devices and signal ranges.

With their higher availability and faster loading times, pages that use AMP have lower bounce rates and longer average session times.

Users also find AMP pages easier since Google places them in a special carousel at the top of search results.

That’s very tempting for companies looking to increase their site traffic (and who isn’t?).

There are some functionality limitations to AMP, but for basic pages those limits are outweighed by the speed and SEO preference.

Look for companies to continuing moving some of their customer-facing content to AMP throughout 2019.

4. Instant Apps

The barrier to adoption for a lot of apps is the download requirement.

People only have so much memory on their smartphones, and they hesitate to download apps that could just sit unused on their phones.

That’s not an unrealistic fear: only 20% of apps are opened again after the first use.

Surveys show that 75% of consumers feel more comfortable using apps with helpful reviews or screenshots, but Instant Apps take that a step farther.

Users can access them directly from the Google Play store without downloading.

Companies don’t need to build separate instant apps to take advantage of the trend, either.

Since they’re effectively features of an existing app (for example, the map section of a store app) which are used independently via a website, they use the same APIs and source code.

Developers only need to update their existing apps for Instant App functionality.

Instant apps offer some enticing benefits:

  • Instant apps open in seconds while the supporting website loads behind, giving the customer-facing impression of instant access.
  • Consumers can use just the feature they need or test-drive apps before downloading them.
  • Businesses can offload more functions (returns, coupons, and the like) to their app since customers can access them without having to go through the download process first.
  • Instant apps can be shared via links, which friends can view without downloading anything.

Early adopters have seen significant increases in full app downloads and engagement.

Updating for Instant App compatibility can take as little as a single day.

Instant Apps have become available on over 500 million devices worldwide since launching.

With satisfied customers including Vimeo, The New York Times, and the Wal-Mart owned shopping service Jet, it’s a sure bet that they will continue to rise in popularity.

5. Mobile Payments

Digital payment options are seeing a slow but steady transition to the real world. 2.1 billion consumers worldwide will use mobile wallets to make payments in 2019, a 30% increase from 2017.

Mobile payment has already become commonplace in China and India, where some stores accept nothing else.

Outside those markets mobile payments have been slower to grow, though they’re still gaining ground. In 2018 20% of Americans were using mobile wallets and payment options.

Experts predict that number to rise nearly 40% over the next year as mobile security improves enough to lend consumers confidence in the technology.

The leading general-purpose mobile payment systems in America are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. At least half of US retailers accept these, which makes it easier for consumers to leave their wallets at home.

Look for more brick and mortar businesses to begin accepting mobile payments. There’s also a trend towards loyalty programs with integrated mobile wallets that bears watching.

The Starbucks app’s mobile payment option saw over a million more users than Apple Pay in 2018, and over twice the number of Google Pay users. It will be interesting to see how this develops in 2019.

6. Mobile AI

Mobile AI is being fueled by edge computing and the rising demand for on-device processing.

A variety of mobile applications which were once unreliable are now maturing into enterprise readiness.

  • Conversational interfaces have improved along with advances in Natural Language Processing. Chatbots are leading the pack. In fact, 80% of businesses plan to release some kind of chatbot by 2020. Expect to see more chatbots and personal assistant AIs this year (especially on social media).
  • Recommendation engines are the power behind upsells at online checklists, but they’re also used in evolving applications like smart travel planners and health care apps.
  • Enterprise AI is a core component of digital transformation. Insights gained through enterprise analytics and predictive marketing will continue driving business in 2019 and beyond.

7. Wearable Devices

Technology has become a constant, reliable presence in daily life, and nowhere is that more obvious than with wearable devices. Users enjoy having increased control and persistent access to their data.

Most wearable devices on the market are smartwatches, with fitness trackers close behind. The category is broad, though.

New applications are constantly under development: wearable cameras, augmented or virtual reality headsets, and even smart clothing.

As a whole, the category is growing faster than predicted last year. It’s expanded from 84 million units in 2015 to an estimated 245 million units this year.

With companies like Apple offering products for a wide range of consumers and Google rumored to be working on a new wearable, this is definitely something to watch in 2019.

8. Augmented Reality apps

Although Augmented Reality has been tossed around for years, it’s coming into its own as a mainstream feature.

Both Google and Apple have released toolkits (Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit) that make it possible for more businesses to take advantage of AR features.

The enterprise applications of AR are as varied as businesses themselves. One exciting use-case is the IKEA Place App.

IKEA has 411 stores in 49 countries, but for many people visiting a showroom still requires a road trip and significant planning. Enter IKEA Place, an Augmented Reality application that displays furniture at scale over a live camera image.

Users can then see how catalogue items will look in their home and whether larger furniture will fit. AR is seeing a rise in usage in fields like healthcare, engineering, and real estate as well.

Industry analysts predict that the AR market will reach $108 billion in revenue by 2020.

9. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology isn’t new. It’s been drifting around for a while in highly niche use cases, but it’s beginning to find its place as mobile technology becomes more advanced.

The idea of beacons is simple. A Bluetooth transmitter emits a signal visible only to compatible devices within a limited range. Smartphones with the right app can pick up that signal to receive timely, location-specific information.

Beacon locations are much more accurate than other locational data, which creates opportunities for more tailored interactions. Some examples:

  • Unlocking a hotel room as the registered guest approaches their door
  • Sending seat directions, game updates, and important alerts to fans within a sports stadium
  • Alerting loyalty club members passing a store of current sales

Since the technology has been around, what will expand in 2019 is the number of beacon-oriented apps for smartphones, wearables, and other connected devices.

Best Mobile App Development Company in Orlando

Concepta maintains their position as one of Orlando’s best mobile development agencies by creating dynamic technology solutions for modern business challenges.

Right now, that means staying on top of mobile trends.

Mobile development is one of the biggest enterprise priorities of 2019.

Companies need to be where customers are, when customers need them, and that means going mobile.

With that in mind, Concepta recommends investing in a right-sized mobile presence.  

It takes some planning, but sound mobile development is a solid path to winning new customers and improving the overall customer experience.

In the long run, that’s a competitive edge that pays off.

Interested in how these trends can help grow your business in 2019? Get a free consultation with Concepta’s experienced developers to explore your options!

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How Will AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Affect Your Business?

Accelerated-Mobile-Pages

It’s been more than two years since Google introduced their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. Designed to capture the trend towards mobile search traffic, the new algorithm caused a seismic shift in website design and SEO practices.

One technology that rose in response to the change is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a large step forward in providing simple mobile pages faster.

In addition to the SEO boost, businesses that take advantage of AMP can increase both their engagement and foot traffic.

AMP Basics

Accelerated Mobile Pages, commonly called AMP, is an open source project backed by Google. Its goal is to allow pages to display near-instantly when clicked, eliminating the lag users otherwise experience when waiting on mobile pages to load.

AMP does this by using a simplified code designed with a “mobile first” philosophy to create AMP-compliant versions of existing sites that are cached, then produced on demand..

The AMP structure consists of three components:

  • AMP-HTML: AMP uses a simplified version of HTML with specific tags designed to load more quickly.
  • AMP Cache: The Google AMP Cache stores AMP content and prioritizes it above slower mobile search results.
  • AMP JS: This JavaScript engine uses asynchronous loading so no single part of a page prevents the rest from loading, ensuring HTML pages render faster.

Lightning-fast Load Times

Load times make a huge difference when it comes to holding the public’s attention. 53% of mobile users will abandon a page after 3 seconds if it doesn’t start loading, yet 75% of mobile pages take at least 10 seconds to display.

Between a simplified code, lazy loading, and the cache, AMP pages are incredibly fast. Most AMP pages load in less than a second, compared to the 22 seconds needed for an average web page to load on mobile. Even mobile pages can’t match AMP; they load four times slower.

Business Benefits

AMP pages offer several benefits to businesses, most notably the SEO boost. Google’s algorithm ranks AMP pages very highly. In fact, AMP versions marked by the distinctive lightning bolt icon appear first in search results.

As most C-level executives are keenly aware, SEO can make or break a business.

A business must be noticed in order to have a chance at winning customers, and that means breaking into the top search results for relevant terms.

Appearing in the first five results, which garner 67% of clicks, is ideal. Failing that it’s necessary to hit the first page at least. Only 5% of traffic reaches the second page of results. Creating an AMP page can be a shortcut to the top of the first page.

SEO isn’t the only advantage to AMP pages. Companies can also expect:

Richer engagement

90% of companies see higher clickthrough rates on their AMP pages than their previous mobile sites.

Visitors spend 35% more time on AMP pages, and when they do leave 63% of them will come back at least once within a month. For comparison, typical mobile pages have around a 63% return user rate.

Greater ad revenue

Because they load faster, AMP pages have lower bounce rates than other mobile sites. That means more potential adviews and clicks. Google reported that pages which load within 5 seconds earn twice as much ad revenue as those that take 19 or more seconds.

Increased foot traffic and sales

AMP greatly increases the chances of a business appearing to those looking for local products or services.

This is mainly a benefit for branches of a franchise and small to medium businesses, but it’s a significant competitive edge. 56% of mobile searches have local intent, and 78% of those result in a visit or purchase within 24 hours.

It’s worth noting that failing to optimize for mobile at all is more harmful than just missing out on an advantage. Mobile performance is a huge part of customer experience. 52% of customers lose faith in a company if the mobile site is bad.

Is there a downside to AMP?

There are some disadvantages to using AMP pages. It’s extremely hard to implement even with the new tools that are being developed. The “HTML light” conventions are also very restrictive and block many popular third party tools.

One limitation in particular may be the most concerning for analytics-oriented executives. In order to get the prioritized ranking the AMP pages must be hosted on Google’s AMP Cache servers.

That means direct shares of AMP pages will point back to Google, not the company. Businesses can get around this by including their own links for sharing, but it is something to consider.

Final Assessment

As one of the most renowned mobile app development agencies in Orlando, Concepta’s client list covers everything from national organizations like FEMA to local companies such as Kingdom Strollers.

Such a diverse group of industries has an equally wide variety of challenges, and Concepta needs to be ready to help clients grow sales, improve their processes, and break down any obstacles holding them back from growth.

To meet this challenge, they keep a close eye on new tools that might fit a client’s specific needs.

AMP is something Concepta’s team finds highly effective for those interested in targeting mobile traffic.

There may be some limitations, and it’s not the best tool for every purpose, but it will deliver fast, attractive content fast enough to satisfy mobile users.

Are you having trouble reaching the first page of mobile search results? Set up a free consultation with Concepta’s experienced developers to explore whether an AMP page could be the answer to your mobile problems.

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