Smartphone ownership is rapidly increasing across the world, making it critical for a business to work with a mobile app development company. Just like it’s now unimaginable for a business to not have a phone number, it will soon be unimaginable for a business to not have an app.

Pew Research Center reports that in 2011, only 35 percent of Americans had smartphones, while in 2015, 68 percent of Americans had smartphones. Four years from 2015, smartphones will be ubiquitous.

The smartphone app industry, though still in its infancy, is beginning to develop distinct trends which future app development teams need to be aware of. For those looking to get into the app development industry, here are the top mobile app development trends for 2017.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

We’re starting this list off with an item that was easy to guess for anyone who was watching mobile apps in 2016. Last year will forever be remembered as the year when the world finally accepted AR and VR.

Virtual reality is any system (such as the Oculus Rift headset) that takes over the user’s sense of sight and sound. Augmented reality takes over those senses, too, but also tweaks them, like “Pokemon Go.” This game uses your camera to see the real word, but augments it to let you throw a pokeball at a Charizard jumping on your friend’s head. 

35% of Americans had smartphones, while in 2015, 68% of Americans had smartphones.Click To Tweet

No one could have predicted the wild success that “Pokemon Go” had with AR, but the AR door is now wide open. Any way an app designer can work AR into an app is sure to be met with success, if only through curiosity alone.

Similarly, VR got off to a surprisingly successful start. No one was sure if it would work in the market, but it has and it’s expanded. Now there are numerous VR platforms, and VR capability is the current benchmark for a successful smartphone launch.

Major companies like New York Times and Wall Street Journal have already jumped on the VR wagon, introducing ways to interact with their business through VR. The trend is still in its early stages, which makes it particularly exciting for mobile app development companies. You could be the one who sets the bar for an entire future industry.

Location-based Services

As smartphone ownership grows, so does the desire for app designers to tailor the experience specifically to the individual. With millions of users, this is impossible, of course. However, location-based services make it happen automatically.

Have you ever noticed your phone pulling up information based on places you regularly go to? Those are examples of both Apple and Android’s built-in location based service. It’s already a feature of both operating systems. As people get used to it, they’re going to begin expecting that service from individual apps as well.

Include location-based service in app design by showing users relevant information for their local area. Include local news and local businesses, and see if there’s a way to use location services to find out which industries the user frequents and wants to learn more about.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is the future. It has such a wide variety of uses that mobile app development companies can find AI valuable no matter what organization they’re working for. Many predict the investment in AI products will double over the coming years.

AI takes shape in many different ways. One ties in with the previous point of location-based service. You develop an app that understands which shops your users frequent, but that doesn’t result in any action unless you have the proper AI to pull that information together and make something interesting out of it.

That’s essentially what AI looks like for now. We’re not trying to develop lifelike personalities, but smart AI that can aggregate relevant information and present it to the user in a way that feels meaningful.

AI that results in a smoother, more personalized app experience will certainly make strides for the top app developers.

Security

Security should be on every mobile app development list every year, but especially in 2017. In recent years, there have been widely publicized breaches of security in major tech companies around the world. Security is on the mind of users now more than ever.

Cloud-based technology is the clear path of the future. Though users are beginning to see the inherent benefits of the cloud, many are still suspect of cloud’s security. They feel uneasy putting sensitive data in someone else’s hands.

Due to this growing issue, mobile app developers need to keep two things in mind for security.

First, make sure the app is secure. You already know this; just make sure not to cut costs on this. Release the app with strong security, and update it often. Security breaches will sink an entire company.

Second, mobile app developers need to go a step beyond making sure security is tight. They need to somehow communicate that to the user. Security is a technical issue that most users won’t understand, but mobile app developers need to find a way to put its users’ minds at ease. If you can find a way to do that, users will see you as being a step above the rest.

In Short

There are a lot of trends going on in mobile app development for 2017. However, it’s not necessary to incorporate every trend into your app. Find a trend that works for your project and focus on that.

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