What you can expect in 2021–2022
The mobile app development landscape is focusing increasingly on end-user needs, and there are interesting developments going on in cross-platform frameworks and ready-made infrastructure. 2020 also featured some power play in the major mobile ecosystems, and the market dynamics are in flux.
Additional value for users
The mobile application market has been growing steadily, but the trend of everyone needing an app has already been declining for a while. Emphasis has instead been shifting to areas where applications can truly provide added value to the user.
This can be achieved for example by integrating apps to wearables and other smart devices, or by utilising machine learning.
Today, applications are also looking less like the platform they are running on, and instead built to reflect and support stronger service brands.
Cross-platform frameworks have taken huge leaps in terms of functionality and performance.
At the same time, we’ve witnessed the rise and fall of different frameworks. The use and popularity of Xamarin has been declining in recent years while React Native has become the de facto choice, and as of late, Flutter has been gaining momentum.
In addition to these, there are several interesting technologies with untapped future potential such as progressive web applications (PWAs) and Kotlin multiplatform.
Debate over the app economy has intensified lately. The most prominent case in this regard is the legal battle between Epic Games and Apple over revenue share, which could have a drastic impact on the entire mobile app market.
At the same time, control over e.g. developer tooling and ecosystems is concentrating within just a few key players such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook.
Infrastructure and services
Mobile application development has been shifting towards ready-made infrastructure and services in several areas.
These include, for example, continuous integration (CI) and build services such as Microsoft AppCenter, application analytics such as Google Firebase, push notifications, deep linking and code push services.
Some solutions on the market offer a wide range of these services combined in one place.