10 Trends in Mobile Computing - dummies

By Rajiv Ramnath

Here are ten global trends in mobile computing that you ought to take advantage of if you’re thinking about developing an app for commercial use.

  • Devices and data plans will cost less. As devices and bandwidth are becoming commodities, companies are competing on the basis of price, lowering prices so that more people can afford them, even as devices themselves are growing more powerful and available data bandwidth is increasing.

    Your strategy as an app developer should be to take advantage of better devices and increased bandwidth to create richer apps with greater functionality.

  • Create niche applications. The competition for business in established market segments is rabid — for example among professionals and young adults. Therefore, companies are trying to penetrate and establish themselves in new market segments — for instance, older people and other late adopters of technology.

    For business success, create innovative apps targeted at niche markets.

  • Even though new devices will cost less, the rate at which users replace devices will slow down. Moore’s Law may no longer apply to devices because a new device may provide only a little boost in terms of capability. That coupled with the slow worldwide economy means that consumers will hang on to their devices longer. Even Apple, which has been known to make its older devices obsolete, will pay more than lip service to backward compatibility.

    This means that you should engineer your app to be compatible with a range of devices.

  • Mobile was first and will stay first in the hearts and habits of its users. Starting in 2011, mobile devices became the primary personal device for most demographics of consumers (except for consumers older than 65).

    So, if you’re thinking about developing mobile apps, your potential customer range is wide — from apps that help people in their workplace; to apps that help them buy, trade, and sell; to apps that entertain; to social apps that connect people.

  • The Internet of Things is here. Internet-based technology is being baked into everyday things — from small appliances (and, yes, beyond toasters) to large appliances; to music systems; to cars; to TVs and digital displays in public and private spaces. Plus, wearables, like Google Glass, are the up-and-coming devices.

    Think of your mobile app as a mobile-device-enabled portal to a range of ubiquitous, networked, Internet-connected devices.

  • Personalization is key! Apps that give one-size-fits-all experiences are fast becoming extinct because consumers expect their interactions to be customized to them and their context.

    Create apps that understand the user and make use of her data and her interactions to create tailored experiences for her.

  • Globalization is here to stay. You’re operating in a global, connected marketplace. Your potential users are no longer tied to your part of the world. Using the Internet, you can reach them anywhere, and they can find you from anywhere.

    From the get-go, create apps that support multiple languages and multiple cultural norms.

  • Dealing with privacy and security is an increasingly nuanced proposition. Consumers are okay with sharing data, as long as they can control what they share. Corporate users are protective of their data, except that corporations want you to use your own device.

    When you design your app, think carefully about what you share and how you protect the app.

  • Users suffer from app overload! The average number of apps on a device is now about 50. A few apps on your device are used a lot, and many apps are used very, very little. Some apps simply sit around and occupy space.

    If you want your app to be used, integrate it into the app ecosystem of your device. Design your app to use as many other apps as it can, instead of rolling out its own functionality. Open up your app’s functionality and data so that other apps can use it. That way, your app will become essential — and indispensable.

  • By-the-drink pricing is becoming the vogue. Given the culture where no one wants to pay an upfront price for apps, usage-based pricing is the way to make money.

    Make use of the in-app purchasing features available in all mobile application development frameworks.