Mobile applications are found almost everywhere: games, social networking, entertainment, information distribution, data management, services, business uses and more.
Smartphones are becoming important parts of business communication. Healthcare seeks mobile applications to improve business-to-client (B2B) relationships providing a direct-to-consumer interface.
Ever more innovative products and services are developed targeting businesses and consumers. Currently, the ‘Apple store’ offers >500,000 native apps for iPhone and >225,000 for iPad while Android is the leading device on the market.
More and more vendors shift their focus to mobile apps as part of their retail ecommerce strategy. Garter predicts 21.6 billion traded apps with $29.5 billion revenue for 2013 (25% of from free versions through advertisements). ABI Research forecasts that mobile shopping will reach sales of $163 billion worldwide by 2015.
The Mobile Market Progress Brings New Challenges to Developers:
- Mobile users pay high attention to user knowledge (UX) and, in general, prefer native looks and feels for email, social networking, media use, information services and alike.
- Users want the same ‘best experience’ when accessing an application on mobile devices, computers and tablet etc. Over 70% of mobile users expect sites to load as quickly on their mobile phones as on their desktops. Thus, developers need to support multiple experiences across platforms.
- End-users seek optimized UX on a small screen which requires a redefinition/reinvention of UX design rules for mobile devices.
- Users of mobile apps expect seamless integration between apps and voice, messaging and speech processing.
- Users also want to use their device to the full when using smart apps including camera, motion detectors, microphones etc. Developers need to build and master specialized libraries and adapt the apps to device capabilities.
- Battery life and bandwidth is becoming a main UX element, challenging developers to build software with minimum power and bandwidth use.
- Mobile app code and data can be extracted and decompiled easily and mobile malware is on the rise. This requires the establishment of innovative security models and Application Interface Programming (APIs) and increases the need of security testing.