The surge of consumers converting to smartphones is showing no signs of slowing down. According to Horace Dediu of ComScore, 2011 saw over 25 million new Android smartphone users, and the iPhone gained upwards of 9.5 million new users.
The rapidly growing smartphone market, coupled with the rapid growth of cloud computing means that mobile application development is also rapidly evolving and growing. In the near future, smartphone users will be able to do nearly everything they used to do on a computer from a smartphone. This also means we are expected to see some new mobile development trends throughout the remainder of 2012. Here are a few that have been shaping up:
- Increased Android app development. More Android phones are being marketed than at any other time in the history of mobile phones. To keep up with this growing stable of dedicated Android users, more Android apps will be marked for development. Though Android doesn’t have the developer following seen with Apple’s iOS devices, there are more Android devices out today than iPhones and iPads. Google is taking steps to rejoin the fractured pieces of the Android movement, hopefully making it a more palatable experience for developers.
- The cloud will mushroom. The cloud will overtake mobile applications in 2012. This means that everything you do on a smartphone will be done within the cloud environment to some extent. Smartphone hardware has been getting faster and smaller, but it still can’t rival full-power desktop computers or even newer laptops, limiting their usefulness for playing full 3D games or performing intense calculations. But with the added power of the cloud, there’s almost nothing a smartphone can’t do.
- HTML5 will continue its bulldozing mission. HTML 5 will continue to dominate the mobile web, and will eventually be the only standard for mobile app development. With Google pushing web apps full force between their championing of HTML5 and the release of their Chromebooks, we’re starting to see more and more web developers building apps that feature cross-platform compatibility. Web apps will play nice with any device, be able to sync content for offline use and take advantage of the power of the cloud when connected to the Internet.
- Even more apps in general. New apps are released every day that add some special functionality or a new way to entertain yourself. Though it would be impossible for every app out there to be fantastic, there are a surprising number of gems that can help users eliminate entire devices —like GPS guides —or add new abilities that people didn’t have on-the-go before.
- Big data analytics. Lastly, there will be a rise in big data analytics. What does this mean? This means more efficient analytics solutions for interpreting data from large amounts of mobile applications. As more mobile applications are developed this will be a necessity for sustainability. How can we know where to go if we can’t see an accurate picture of where we’ve been?
This year is going to continue many of the trends begun last year, bridging the gap between our dreams of the past and their fulfillment tomorrow.