In the mobile world things are changing fast. From creating new immersive mobile experiences to responding to global economic trends, smartphone manufacturers and app developers are constantly innovating to meet user expectations. With that in mind, I wanted to speak to some of the most prominent experts in our industry to get their take on what we can expect from mobile in the near future.
Device Development: Delivering a next-level mobile experience
Before you delve into the latest and most exciting app developments, consider how mobile devices themselves will evolve. Leading smartphone manufacturers are at the forefront of app advancement, enhancing devices so they are capable of enabling the most modern app experiences.
Charleen Fang, chief executive of leading smartphone brand OPPO UK, said that improving smartphone battery life will be a key focus for many brands. “For example, if a gamer uses an app 6 hours a day without needing to charge it, they want the same experience after a few years of use,” she explained. “An example of innovation in this area is our Battery Health Engine (BHE) which offers faster, safer and longer lasting charging and battery performance and it is an area where we are seeing growing demand. Not only is this great for the consumer experience as it means they can use the apps they love in the same way for longer, but it also means the batteries are more sustainable.”
Fang also predicts an increase in demand for lithium-ion batteries over the eight years, so much that they will reach over two terawatt hours by 2030. “Whether we’re starting to see AI-based apps or more of those that enable sync and compatibility between devices, the challenge for manufacturers in 2023 will be to ensure battery longevity in consumer devices,” she added .
According to recent insights from data analysis and brand consulting firm Kantar Group, Android has seen stable growth in all markets except Italy and mainland China in the third quarter of 2022, which is reportedly the result of Huawei’s faltering growth. Across Europe, Samsung’s Galaxy A series remains one of the most popular devices, while the flagship S series dominates the US market. As many know, Huawei has endured a disastrous year that the company blamed on a weak economy, as well as ongoing disruptions from COVID-19 and supply chain issues. Huawei’s rapid demise in Europe has helped other Chinese brands gain a much stronger foothold, notably Xiaomi and Oppo.
Appeal to diversity: developing apps for all consumers
A big focus for many companies over the next year is how to make their apps more accessible to all customers. For telecom giant BT Group, this means fostering a closer relationship between designers and engineers to make new and existing apps more usable for disabled users. Ronise Nepomuceno, Accessibility Manager at BT Group, said developers are currently falling short in this area. “One would think that all popular apps would offer support for, for example, portrait and landscape positioning, dynamic text, effective screen readers, improved navigation options and improved color contrast. The reality is that more work needs to be done to ensure proper support is commonplace, whether it’s optimizing screen readers for blind customers or making content easier to navigate for those with dexterity issues,” she explained.
App developers should also respond in relation to global health trends, said James Sanders, principal analyst, cloud and infrastructure at CCS Insight, who noted the increase in people seeking mental health support in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns . Sanders believes smartphones are critical tools for providing psychological support and wellness advice to clients. “Given the challenges of mental health accessibility and the use of wearables like the Apple Watch to track physical activity and health, using smartphone apps for mental health management is a natural next step in app-based healthcare. By leveraging existing data from physical wellness apps and sensors such as exercise, sleep, weight and menstrual cycle with user inputs about their mood throughout the day and consumption of alcohol or tobacco, smartphone apps can use analytics to determine what external factors are affecting your mood influence. ” he said.
Within the sectors: gaming, shopping & social media
What can we look forward to in terms of trends affecting specific industries? Lexi Sydow, Head of Insights at data.ai, has predicted that more and more users will be drawn to other social media habits, particularly sharing visual content. She said the data shows that users are “no longer content to communicate using just text,” as evidenced by the growing popularity of apps like BeReal, which encourage users to take photos of themselves during a select two-minute window each day to post what they do.
In the m-commerce sector, data from the Adjust analysis platform shows how bright the future is for these apps. In the first half of 2022, e-commerce usage was 8% above the 2021 average and 6% higher than in the first half of 2021. Adjust has found that this suggests mobile shopping is more than a passing trend — it is one supporting pillar. Additionally, Adjust has forecast more shoppable ads on CTV in the future. Shoppable CTV leads to a more impulsive purchase because customers have fewer barriers to purchase and less time to think about it. Ecommerce giants like Amazon are widely expected to follow this trend, paving the way for smaller ecommerce businesses in the process.
The next year is also expected to bring the richest mobile gaming experiences yet. Maneet Khaira, the CEO of Backbone, which develops mobile gaming controllers for iPhones and Android, said there will be a sharp increase in the availability of AAA titles on devices as publishers capitalize on the steady growth in mobile gaming. He said: “People want to play on their phones a lot more than they do on their consoles and we’re going to see more of that in 2023. Cloud gaming makes it possible to play high-fidelity games anytime, anywhere on any device. This means console owners can now take their console experience outside of their living room or gaming setup and play Xbox, PlayStation and PC games anywhere on their mobile devices.”
The Economy Bites: How Apps Help
The world also faces growing economic challenges, with inflation being a particular concern for many. data.ai’s Lexi Sydow warned that the looming recession will impact the app market in the coming months. She noted that while consumer spending in the third quarter of 2022 saw increasing downloads across all verticals, it also saw a decline in consumer spending. However, Sydow said the drop in consumers’ disposable income presents an opportunity for apps with affordable services. “In the US, Temu, an e-commerce site that brings more affordable wholesale prices to the retail market, has experienced meteoric growth with 1.37 million downloads since launching its app in September 2022,” she said.
Samsung has been at the forefront of developing new services to help its customers navigate the cost-of-living crisis. For example, the brand successfully launched its SmartThings Energy app, which allows consumers to track their energy consumption and set spending caps. Teg Dosanjh, Director of Content and Services at Samsung Europe, commented: “As the cost of living continues to fall with rising food prices and rising gas and electricity bills, household budgets will continue to be tight. With winter approaching, consumers will be anxious to turn on their heating. There is something people can do to mitigate this and regain some control – right from their smartphone app.”