When Steve Jobs announced the original iPhone in 2007, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO at the time, was among the first few key people to denounce the device as a fad. The idea of a touch-only device with no keyboard was ahead of its time. A few who could understand its potential emerged as champions. Google was among the first few major firms to react. In the decades to follow, iPhone drove almost every other legacy device maker of the time out of business including Nokia, Blackberry, Palm, Alcatel, Motorola, and most recently, LG.
Microsoft was already late to the party when it came up with its own version of a touch-only device in 2010—the ill-fated Windows Phone. The Windows Phone was then discontinued for five years and cost them close to $10 billion and Ballmer his job. Bill Gates in an interview with CNBC called losing the mobile bandwagon a billion-dollar mistake.
Meanwhile, Google upped their ante in the mobile market becoming a leading mobile developer on iOS, and eventually overtaking iOS and dominating the mobile OS market with Android. By the turn of the decade, the buzzword was mobile apps. ‘App’ was voted the word of the year in 2010, triggering the app race. By 2015, there was an app for everything: matchmaking, booking flights, doctor appointments, restaurant reservations, instant messaging, fitness, catapulting birds on pigs, outrunning monsters, flapping birds, or patronizing people with low vocabulary. Early developers were becoming millionaires by selling fart sounds and virtual pets. For mobile app developers stuck in a day job, their rags-to-riches story was just around the corner. For established organizations, having a presence in the app market was a steppingstone towards their modernization efforts. During Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2015, Tim Cook stunned an audience of 5,000 attendees when he announced Apple had handed over $14 billion to its mobile app developers.
The mobile app development market has come a long way since then. In 2020 alone, the earnings of mobile app developers from Apple’s App Store were $45 billion, three times what it was five years ago. App development trends look a lot different than they were five years ago and since the pandemic, the saturated app development market looks a lot more segmented. Also, mobile app development technologies have reached a stage of maturity and are much more approachable today. For example, mobile technologies such as React Native and Flutter make it easy to cross-compile native apps on various platforms and save the time of developers and reduces cost.
The state of mobile application development in 2022
As already mentioned, the saturated mobile app development market has gone a little more segmented since the Covid-19 pandemic as there are a few subcategories that have encountered phenomenal growth. For example, it’s more rewarding than ever to build an ecommerce app. According to Statista, mobile commerce will control 73% of the global ecommerce market share by 2022, up from 59% back in 2017. In the first half of 2021 alone, 79% of mobile commerce consumers made an online purchase using an app on their mobile device.
The growing adoption of ecommerce apps has led to enormous growth in the mobile payment market. The use of mobile payments will continue its relentless growth of 26.93% in 2022 and is expected to reach $4.574 billion by 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.8%. Worldpay’s 2018 Global Payment Report indicates mobile app payments will overtake credit cards as the second most popular mode of payment after debit cards.
mHealth, an abbreviation for mobile health, is another set of mobile apps that’s experiencing unprecedented growth in the post-pandemic era. The number of mHealth apps have doubled since 2015, and in 2022 the number of mHealth listed apps for Android and iOS will exceed 400,000 million. At the height of the pandemic, over 80 million Americans used an mHealth app and that number is expected to approach 100 million in 2022. According to estimates from Pew Research, mHealth apps, including fitness apps, will remain a more popular app category than banking, job search, and EdTech apps in 2022.
In addition to users, mHealth apps are also a hit with healthcare providers. During the pandemic, over 90% of American physicians used a mobile app to cut through their demanding schedules and speed up access to patient information such as electronic medical records of incoming patients. It’s expected that the rise of mHealth apps for healthcare providers will continue in 2022. According to a survey by Accenture healthcare, two thirds of the largest US hospitals are either developing or already have a mobile app that supports their staff and doctors. The market of mobile app development in healthcare domain is expected to reach $70 billion in 2022.
During the lockdown period, the market for video conferencing apps witnessed growth rates that had never been heard of or seen before. In the space of a year, the market reached $7.87 billion in 2020 from $3.85 billion in 2019. Although the market has shrunk since lockdowns have been lifted. In 2022, the market is expected to drop below the $6 billion mark and will grow at a CAGR of 11.45% in a post-pandemic world.
Overall, mobile app development remained a thriving market and the revenue from mobile apps is expected to reach a trillion in 2023. The consumption of digital media via mobile apps is also on the rise. 69% of all US digital media comes from mobile apps. Also, mobile app developers tend to generate more revenue from their iOS apps than their Android apps.
Key mobile app development trends in 2022
As the mobile app market becomes more mature and competitive, mobile app developers are getting more innovative than ever. They’re bringing the latest technology in to ensure their app stands out. More apps on the App Store and Play Store are bringing AI features to their apps so that they can bring an even more personalized experience. Let’s take a look at what some of the key trends in mobile app development will be in 2022:
Internet of Things (IoT)
At the crossroad of IoT and mobile apps lies an untapped market of smart homes, smart automobiles, and even smart cities. A utopian world where everything is connected and instantly accessible. Cars driving themselves, payment happening with a single tap, and virtual worlds realer than reality sound like a distant dream. With modern mobile apps, we’re already living a part of the dream. We’ve gone from controlling our tv with mobile apps to summoning our car, regulating the temperature in our home, and monitoring our home security from anywhere.
The global Internet of Things market is expected to reach $252 billion in 2022, with $181 billion of that estimate coming from mobile apps. According to Statista, the revenue from technology associated with the Internet of Things will exceed 1.6 trillion by 2025.
During the Google I/O in 2019, the audience was dumbfounded when Sundar Pichai asked the Pixel device to book a salon appointment. The inbuilt virtual assistant called the salon, talked to the receptionist, and convinced her to make an appointment at 8. The best part was the receptionist didn’t realize she was talking to a bot, not a human. This was the first time a smartphone passed the Turing test.
Today, AI has made its way into most mainstream apps that we interact with. It’s AI that enables our camera apps to take visible photos in total darkness, allows our virtual assistants to understand natural languages and respond to it, suggests an app based on our usage, tracks our workout sessions, and much more.
In 2022, more apps will integrate AI workflow into their application so that they can improve the user experience.
According to a report by eMarketer, the number of 5G connections which was 50 million in 2020 will grow tenfold to exceed 500 million. One of the biggest boosts 5G will bring is in terms of connection latency. 5G pundits expect real-world 5G connections to deliver ten times lower latency at a time 5G is already considerably faster than 4G LTE.
Forget playing FPS games with all your friends at the same time without lag and delay and think about the thousands of people collaborating on the same project in real-time in a shared virtual world and using their cognitive senses to interact.
2022 will be the year when mobile app developers will understand how 5G can enhance their app’s experience.
Augmented reality isn’t exactly a new technology and has been around for as long as mobile phones. AR was destined to build rich experiences that would put any screen-based experience to shame. But the earlier iterations of technology were limited by the hardware. Not only was the hardware capability limited at that time, but AR devices were beyond the affordability range of most consumers.
That changed when smartphones with high resolution cameras came around. However, mobile platforms lacked basic toolkits to integrate AR workflows in mobile apps for developers. Today, both Android app and iOS app developers can use sophisticated SDKs to integrate AR workflows in their apps.
One example is the IKEA app which allows iOS users to put virtual furniture in their home space before purchasing. L’Oréal also has an app that lets a buyer put on virtual makeup.
2022 will be an exciting year for mobile app developers to extend their apps with relevant AR experiences.
The underlying technology that powers Bitcoin and Ethereum has immense potential to disrupt the conventional software architecture around clients and server. Blockchain technology will replace the server model with decentralized, distributed nodes. According to an article on The Verge, Twitter is already gearing up towards a decentralized future.
Blockchain technology works on a network of connected device called nodes. Each node contains a copy of the current state of the blockchain with the number of blocks and information they’re carrying.
Bringing blockchain technology to your app has certain unique benefits. Since the block information is cryptographically encrypted, such apps offer the highest level of privacy. Also, the information is immutable. Since every node has a copy of the blockchain, it’s impossible for an intruder to mess with the information in a block, get it propagated to the blockchain network and added as a new block.
For privacy focused apps in hostile countries, blockchain offers the ultimate solution. In 2022, we’ll see more apps adopt blockchain technology in order to improve privacy and safety of user generated content.
What does it mean for your business?
2021 is already turning out to be an exciting year to extend your service offering as a digital experience. 2022 will be the year when mobile developers integrate more exciting technologies which will make their app experience even more robust and will improve the customer’s experience. Despite reaching a point of saturation, the revenue from mobile apps is rising and is expected to reach $200 billion in 2022.
Read on: 10 Essential Tips For Choosing The Best Mobile App Development Company
At Rare Crew, we believe in developing innovative mobile applications that’ll give your apps a great advantage over your competitors.