Preparing for the Future of Mobile Apps

An American entrepreneur named Gordon Moore predicted in 1965 that the number of transistors per square inch on an integrated circuit would double every year for the foreseeable future.  The prediction turned out to be pretty accurate, and now “Moore’s Law” is regularly used to determine what the future of computing will look like.

While the terms aren’t quite the same, it’s safe to say that mobile application development is undergoing a similarly rapid transformation, and developers who wish to remain relevant will need to keep pace.  For now, it’s enough to build an app and make sure it looks good on 4-inch phone or a 10-inch tablet.  But for the needs and the platforms of tomorrow, that just won’t cut the mustard.

Jeffrey Hammond and Julie Ask of Information Week recently posted an excellent article about the future of mobile app development.  One of the more challenging metrics to codify is context.  With the inevitable proliferation of services like Google Now, users are going to expect their mobile devices to know their habits, their schedules, their foibles, where they live, where they’re going, and how long it’s going to take to get there.  The mobile apps of the future are going to have to keep up.

We’re also going to expect better integrated voice control.  A recent exchange between Siri and Google Voice hilariously demonstrated the current limitations of voice recognition, but that is only expected to improve with time.  Users in the not-too-distant future are going to want full voice control for those apps they use while exercising or driving, and smoothly enough to where it won’t prove distracting.

And, of course, there’s the issue of device proliferation.  Users are coming to expect synchronicity across all their mobile platforms.  For now, that hasn’t caused too much of a headache, but in the next few years we’re going to see all sorts of new platforms, many of which – like wristwatches and eyeglasses, just to name two – will require  some innovative thinking when it comes to the mobile apps those devices might use.

The mobile tech industry moves at a faster pace than most, and while its future is certain to be a bright and exciting one, developers will need to keep up to be able to compete.

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