Are Mobile Apps Going To Die?
In a cut-throat economy, organizations realize that the key to success is to embrace change fast and not take a reactive approach to innovation. The mobile app market is no different. Yes, there are over a billion smartphones in use across the globe. There also are a dizzying number of mobile applications downloaded each year. In 2017 the Apple App Store had 2.2 million apps available for download while the Google Play Store had 2.8 million apps. Today, clearly we have become quite dependent on these little icons on our smartphones screens – from booking a cab, making a hotel reservation, ordering for food, making online purchases, calorie counting, banking, staying connected with friends and work…the list goes on. Mobile applications have established themselves as an essential part of our lives. But it is also true that the apps that we use now are light years ahead of their earlier iterations. Apps of today do not just disseminate content for the user but enable the user to determine what kind of content they want to consume. App functionality has improved by leaps and bounds owing to the use of geo location and the capabilities of the phone. Apps are more engaging and intuitive now.
The death of the mobile app as we know it
Today there is an increasing integration of technology with mobile apps to push the boundaries as we know it. Remember the classic Snake game on the Nokia 3310? Well, that was technically a mobile app back in the 90’s. Now compare that to the 2011 Temple run experience. The evolution of the mobile app is pretty evident, isn’t it? Technology is improving. The needs and demands of the app consumer are changing. Consumers are now looking at more seamless and connected experiences. They want their apps to behave in a certain manner. They want more features. They demand greater speed. They want more personalization. And they want access…all the time, anywhere.
Can the present day mobile apps deliver on all these demand parameters? Not quite. With technology giving us opportunities to get the best of everything, mobile apps, too, are not to be left behind. With the growing comfort with smartphones, consumers now want an amalgamation of web and mobile apps and want intelligent interactions with their mobile apps as they traverse their digital experience journey.
The rise of intelligent apps
As mentioned earlier, apps today are no longer being used to disseminate content to the user. The mobile apps are becoming increasingly intelligent. As an example, think Amazon. Using technologies such as machine learning and AI, Intelligent Apps are getting more contextual. These apps have the capability to learn the behavioral, emotional, and contextual patterns of the user in real-time and capably deliver hyper-personalized experiences in each successive session. With each input, the mobile app creates a personalized response. These apps make the use of cognitive API’s, ensure that personalization of the UX is a continuous activity. They eliminate the use of keyboard inputs and use speech, gestures, and bio-metrics to operate the apps without the keyboard. They leverage frameworks to take the app to the next level of user satisfaction with faster releases. Service providers like Netflix, e-Commerce providers such as Amazon, and browsers such as Chrome are already making use of intelligent apps. Gartner expects that this year some of the world’s largest organizations will begin to leverage intelligent apps to fine-tune their mobile app experiences.
The rise of progressive web apps
As you may have read earlier here, Progressive Web Apps are actually web applications that deliver a native app-like experience to their consumers. They come with progressive enhancements to implement features such as push notifications, caching, and background sync to deliver better experiences. Research suggests that an average user spends 80% of his total time on only three apps. The rest of the apps just sit on the mobile phone screen eating up precious mobile memory. PWA’s do not need any installing, deliver a great user experience, have browser compatibility, are responsive to fit any form factor, work offline, and function even in low network quality. Further, they provide app-like navigation and interactions and have a robust update process that makes sure that the app performance is at its peak always. Given that PWA’s are actually websites these are easily extendable. They make it easier to add functionalities. Along with this, these apps are also highly secure, easily discoverable and easily shareable. Quite simply put, Progressive Web Apps amalgamate the best qualities of web apps with that of native mobile apps – what’s there not to love then? But the question for us is –are these Mobile Apps? We would have to say Not really –and that’s a threat to the world of mobile apps as we know it.
There seem to be clear signs that the age of mobile apps as we know it is fast coming to an end. Well not in the Tyrannosaurus Rex kind of way, but, it is becoming quite evident that the next evolution of these mobile apps is now upon us. Would it then be wrong to say, “The Mobile App is dead. Long live the Mobile App”?