What technologies should app developers consider in 2017

When “Digital Trends” wrote about the future of AR some two years ago and earlier, this technology was considered immature and still in need to be developed. At the same time, voice commanded bots failed to complete the simplest tasks and foldable displays worked only in science fiction movies. And nobody even thought of distant-charging smartphones.

Today, all this technologies already exists and are doing well. Just think of Samsung’s and Lenovo’s foldable phones and tablets or the use of induction in Samsung Wireless Charging Pad. Or maybe you ware at VR & AR World event this October? You could see a lot of areas, in which these technologies help, already existing or to arise very soon. Also many other newest inventions were presented during the numerous conferences and brand events this year, unavoidably changing the mobile market.

So it is time to ask yourself a question: do I want to remain on the cutting edge of what’s possible in the mobile space? If your answer is yes, consider adjusting to several technologies described below. They are the future of mobile in 2017.

VIRTUAL REALITY

First and foremost, Virtual Reality (VR) is going to face a huge boom in the next few years. The market size of VR hardware will rise by almost 50% in 2017 and till 2020 it will reach $15,5 billions. That makes a smashing 384% in just four years.

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VR hardware market size worldwide (in billion U.S. dollars)
Data source: Statista.

These numbers are already a good forecast for software houses and a reason to get interested in this new technology, but in fact, the growth of VR software market is even more significant. Only think of the rise of VR software market size by 240% in 2017 and reaching $24,5 billions in 2020.

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VR software market size worldwide (in billion U.S. dollars)
Data source: Statista.

So why is VR expected to grow so quickly? Mainly because it is something new and exciting for the mainstream public. Users got prepared for VR technology through science fiction movies for the last few decades and when they’re finally given an opportunity to try it out, they will definitely take a chance.

For mobile app developers, it means that those who invest in VR can not only have a great number of eager testers of their apps but also that whatever they do in this new field, can go down in history and set trends in the whole industry. Financial benefits included.

AUGMENTED REALITY

Often confused with Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR) is in fact not a whole new, imagined world in which a user immerse for example by wearing special glasses as in case of VR, but a real time integration of digital information with live video and the user’s environment. In AR, a user can see his surroundings and project generated content onto that view, or a live camera feed of the surroundings is presented with an overlay of processor generated objects.

AR has demanded mobile app developers’ attention with the great success of Pokemon GO game and the appealing technique of Snapchat stickers and layers, copied also by such giants as Facebook or Google. And this technology is predicted to become a huge success by the best-known people in the IT industry.

 

Tim Cook

“AR, I think, is going to become really big. VR, I think, is not gonna be that big, compared to AR. It gonna take a little while, because there are some really hard technology challenges there. But it will happen. It will happen in a big way.”

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO

 

So why not to take up the challenge and invest in Augmented Reality? From m-commerce to educational resources and from digital marketing to industrial, military and medical applications, there are plenty of opportunities to choose from. Pick one for yourself and you can soon be a leader in this new technology.

VOICE COMMANDS

Voice control of smartphones and other devices is there for a while and it’s still far from perfection. But with all the giants of IT industry trying hard to invent better and better assistant devices, this trend is sure to keep growing.

Although not perfect yet, digital assistants like Cortana, Siri, Alexa and Google Now will face a significant growth in number of users in the next few years. Only in 2017 this number is predicted to grow by 40% and reach almost $2 billions in 2021.

Infographic: Digital Assistants - Always at Your Service | Statista

How can mobile developers use this trend? For now, mobile bots seem to be the future, taking some space mobile apps previously had. The most common way to communicate with them is still writing but voice-controlled bots seem to be the next step.

Mobile app developers are not left behind though. A great number of voice-commanded mobile apps and smartwatch apps arise. Branches which develop this technology include for example smart home, alarm clocks, or apps used while driving.

FOLDABLE DISPLAYS

Foldable and flexible display concept is here for some time but until now it seemed to need many improvements. Different technologies were tested with the best example of OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) screens that are very flexible, extremely thin and can display the picture even when some part of the screen is missing.

The biggest news for the mobile industry is that foldable displays are finally implemented in mobile phones. In April 2016, Samsung was reported to have filled a patent application for a foldable smartphone with the Korean Intellectual Property Office. The company is planning too produce both smartphones and tablets with bendable OLED screens this or next year.

What it means for mobile app developers? If you want to remain on the cutting edge of the mobile industry, you have to consider that smartphone screens will look very different soon. Graphics, user experience and possible functions of foldable phones may vary greatly for the ones we know today. So be prepared!

WIRELESS CHARGING

To make these futuristic visions complete, let’s consider wireless charging. This technology, that experienced a boost in popularity this year, uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy between two objects through electromagnetic induction. That’s why users don’t need to plug in any wires to charge their phone battery.

Is it a fad or a permanent solution? The technology is so intuitive and makes life much easier and that is why it can stay with us for a long time. What’s more, judging from many great science fiction movies and real technology changes, the whole technology world is going in the “wireless” direction.

For mobile app developers it means that a lot of new software for wireless charging will be needed. If you want to use the potential of wireless technologies, you should also keep an eye on other potential wireless solutions in case not to miss anything groundbreaking.

KEY TAKEAWAY

New technologies will change significantly the whole mobile world in the next few years. And the revolution is already beginning in 2016 and 2017.

Virtual Reality is already used in games and education and VR market size is going to grow significantly in the next few years. AR has even bigger chances, being already used in many industries and conquering mobile applications world with Pokemon GO as the greatest example. Voice commands technology is growing, too, being more smart and human-like than ever. Even foldable displays and wireless charging has already become reality and they are to tempting for users to be forgotten soon.

All these technologies definitely changes the mobile industry, modifying the circumstances and giving developers new opportunities. Keep in mind these 5 groundbreaking technologies and try to make use of the new possibilities they offer and you will remain on the cutting edge of the mobile industry.

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