Ten Mobile App Development Trends to Watch in 2019

Let’s start our overview of the mobile app development trends in 2019 with the most important trend, the trend that lays the foundation for all others – the number of mobile device users is growing steadily. The statistics show that in 2018, there were 3 billion smartphone users in the world, and this number is predicted to reach 3.3 billion in 2019, and even as many as 3.8 billion in 2020.
If we consider these figures together with the fact that the entire global population is about 7.7 billion, this means that almost half of us use a smartphone, young and old alike. Impressive, isn’t it? 

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Image credit: Gameindustry.biz
This popularity of mobile devices can be credited to the evolution of hardware as well as the related technology. Smartphones are getting larger memories and better cameras, they come equipped with all sorts of advanced features – high-resolution displays, superb graphics, location sensors, accelerometers, gyroscopes, proximity sensors, and a lot more. Their capabilities make them perfect for all sorts of sophisticated applications leveraging the advantages of the hardware.

With advanced security mechanisms, such as fingerprint scanners and face ID, mobile devices can now be trusted with the most sensitive information, which is difficult to compromise even if you lose the device. Losing your phone will hurt from a financial point of view, but your secrets will remain secure.
Communication technology has not remained idle either. We are now living in the age of the 5G standard, which ensures high data rates, energy-effectiveness and overall better connectivity. This means that our mobile devices now connect faster, communicate better, exchange data more effectively, and get wider coverage.
These factors determine other mobile industry trends, particularly, the trends in app development. Let’s see what is waiting for us in this sector in 2019.

#1. Internet-of-Things

The connected devices industry is enjoying its boom. When we think we have seen everything, it still surprises us by connecting impossible things to the Internet. We are already used to smart TVs, smart watches, and smart refrigerators, but the human imagination literally has no boundaries. At CES 2018, we saw whole collections of the strangest possible connected devices presented at the exhibition. Our winners are the talking toilet and the breathing robotic pillow, but do check out all of them!
Joking aside, IoT is getting an increasingly important share in our lives, both for each individual and for society. Smart devices, smart homes, smart cities, smart vehicles – all these solutions sit on top of profound research and advanced technology aimed at making our lives more comfortable and secure. 
Moreover, with the growing use of mobile devices, most connected solutions tend to include a mobile app, or even apply a mobile-first approach. It is incredibly convenient to have control over your home from your smartphone, so the mobile app, in this case, is a must-have.
Since the IoT is going to continue its upward climb in 2019, the development of IoT mobile apps will be among the top trends, too.

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#2. Wearable devices

As part of the general trend of the increasing popularity of IoT, we should note the growing number of wearable connected devices. While the most widely used ones are smart watches and wristbands, the technology is gradually spreading to other items, such as smart glasses, clothes, and footwear. According to the statistics, the global market of wearable shipments is going to grow by about 50% between 2018 and 2020.

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Image credit: Statista

This upward trend includes both the number of devices used to maintain a healthy lifestyle – fitness trackers and smart watches – and those designed to monitor vitals for chronic patients – blood sugar, cholesterol, and heart rate meters. Another class of wearables includes smart glasses and headsets used mostly in AR and VR applications.
All wearable devices are to be synchronized with applications running on smartphones or desktops. For fitness and health apps, it is natural to want to have all your data within easy reach – on a smartphone. Therefore, many wearable gadgets come with a mobile app, which indicates that the demand for mobile application development for wearables is going to grow in 2019 and beyond.

#3. Augmented and virtual reality

Mobile applications actively leverage the sophisticated features of flagship devices, such as their superior cameras. The cameras become windows into a fully virtual world or a world where the real and the virtual merge. 
Augmented reality and virtual reality have stepped out of the realm of games and are becoming training platforms, eCommerce tools, designer showrooms, and meeting spaces. With AR, a surgeon can project the patient’s x-ray right over their body during the operation, so that it is always in front of their eyes. With VR, visitors can test-drive a new car or shop in a virtual mall, and a multi-national team can hold a meeting in a virtual space. Augmented and virtual reality is being applied in almost all industries, which, naturally, creates a high demand for the development of mobile AR and VR apps.
Mobile platforms are also readying for increased usage in AR and VR. Both Apple and Google released AR and VR development kits – ARKit for iOS in 2017 and ARCore for Android in 2018. Both use hardware features heavily, allowing developers to create great user experiences.

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#4. Mobile payments

With so much of our lives in our smartphones, we are gradually turning them into our wallets, too. Online shopping is getting bigger than its brick-and-mortar counterpart, and online payments are becoming easier and more secure. Any mobile application that involves a checkout transaction should support a number of possible payment methods – the major credit cards as well as a couple of popular payment gateways, such as PayPal or Stripe.
In addition, more and more users prefer universal mobile payment platforms, such as Google Pay or Apple Pay, that allow secure payments from websites and applications. Mobile apps are now being developed with the support of these payment methods in addition to other options.

#5. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and chatbots

Most of us have, most likely, tried FaceApp or other similar applications coloring our hair or showing what we would look like with a different gender. While seemingly funny and casual, these apps, in fact, use powerful technologies like neural networks and artificial intelligence.
The implementations of AI in mobile apps are much wider. Virtual assistants – Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana – not only help us organize our lives better by managing our schedules, regular payments, pizza orders, and workout playlists, but can also become a friendly voice to chat with.
Speaking of AI, we should mention the increasing popularity of chatbots that form our channels of personalized communication with online stores, travel platforms, government services, and medical assistants. Either messenger-based or native, chatbots are becoming an essential component of most customer-facing applications providing human-like service. 
In 2018, Facebook alone recorded as many as 300,000 active bots in its Messenger. With conversational commerce developing as it is, we may see truly amazing figures next year.

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#6. Instant apps

This trend has so far been implemented only by Google for Android devices. Google found a way to overcome users’ unwillingness to install new apps in addition to the dozens that are already on their smartphones. For whatever reason – not wanting to update the app, wanting to save memory – users are becoming reluctant to download additional apps. Well, with instant apps they no longer need to.
An instant app downloads only a tiny bit of its data while the rest is available via a URL. It is a superb solution for users, as instant apps dramatically reduce downloadable data volume. One of the best-known examples of an instant app is Vimeo, a video-streaming and sharing app. Its creators managed to reduce its size from 15 MB to just 4MB.
Instant apps are getting user appreciation for their memory-saving capabilities and usability, so we believe that this trend is going to continue in 2019. Who knows, we may see Apple roll out something similar too.

#7. Progressive Web Apps

In the context of products that require no smartphone installation, we cannot omit Progressive Web Apps. They are, in fact, websites that behave like native apps. When you add a PWA to your screen, it creates an icon and presents a UI that is as responsive and navigable as any other mobile app.
The trick is that it is not an app, it is still a website that works outside the browser and can even perform offline due to an effective caching function. Other advantages include faster page loading, and higher customer acquisition and conversion rates. In addition, PWAs are better suited for SEO and return better results in this respect than native apps. 
Today, you can find PWAs under names like Forbes, Uber, and Pinterest, and we may very well see a further increase in their number in 2019 too. 

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#8. Blockchain

Now, this may be one of the most controversial trends, as, despite blockchain’s triumphant march across all industry sectors, there are still those who do not believe in it and consider it a big bubble. However, once we look at it from the point of view of a technology capable of creating more effective, less costly, more secure business environments, rather than from the point of view of cryptocurrency platforms only, we will see its true potential.
We can find a positive forecast for blockchain in research by Gartner. Gartner predicts that by 2025, blockchain will create as much as $176 billion in business value. The same report estimates that in 2020, the blockchain technology will peak in growth.

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Image credit: Four Quadrant
Therefore, we can say that the development of mobile blockchain applications is entering its prime. Private enterprise apps, blockchain-based healthcare, insurance, logistics apps, marketplace platforms, mobile cryptocurrency wallets, exchange apps – we are going to see more of these, and quite soon.

#9. Cloud integration

In an attempt to reduce the memory an app uses on the smartphone, mobile app developers are increasingly turning to cloud storage. Storing important data in the cloud also strengthens security and allows data sharing between users.
For example, an email client, such as Gmail, installed on a smartphone does not actually store all your messages on your device. Your email is in the cloud, where it is safely protected and accessible from anywhere. 
With the evolution of cloud technologies, the trend of using them in mobile apps is going to continue too. Mobile apps integrated with cloud are faster and more lightweight, and their advantages are quite obvious.

#10. Security

The last but definitely not the least in our research of the upcoming mobile trends, app security remains one of the major concerns. Our smartphones are accumulating too much sensitive data – mobile banking apps, smart home apps, mobile wallets, payment gateways, plus lots of identity information in social networks and other personalized products. Facebook already admitted the loss of its users’ data, and LinkedIn became the target of a phishing attack where users’ credentials were stolen.
The situation gets even more complicated with lots of apps created using open-source code, third-party libraries, components, and APIs. In such challenging circumstances, mobile app developers place security measures right at the top of their priority list.
A lot of attention is going to be paid to protecting users’ data by applying encryption mechanisms and permission systems as well as by releasing security updates as often as is necessary. At the same time, governments are issuing security regulations and requiring app providers to comply. With legal pressure on one side and users’ expectations on the other, mobile app developers will need to use the most effective security mechanisms in their products.
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Our summary of the app development trends in the coming year shows that the market of mobile apps is expanding and gaining more ground with every passing day. In 2019, any business will benefit from a mobile app. Bring your app idea to us, and we will do the rest to make it a reality.

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