Flights? Diets? Directions? There’s an app for everything these days. It’s no wonder the future of mobile app downloads is expected to grow from 31 billion in 2012 to 56 billion in 2013. Contributing to that anticipated growth is the industry prediction that in the very near future, mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) will outsell traditional computers and laptops combined.
Such unprecedented growth results in greater opportunities, not only for the millions of app-obsessed business professionals and consumers, but for the masterminds developing the app software itself. According to a survey conducted by the Application Developers Alliance and GigaOM, most app developers are well-educated professionals with several years of experience, which makes sense since the quality of the app is, well, everything.
Understanding Mobile Applications
In basic terms, mobile applications are software programs. Apps are designed to be convenient, useful, educational, and entertaining. Apps are not one size fits all. Each is designed to work for specific devices according to specific operating systems (Android, Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry). Apps are intentionally easy to download and many are offered free of charge. It’s important to understand that even the ‘free’ apps cost something: access to personal information.
Some apps collect location-specific data while others may be able to access stored phone numbers, internet data, and information related directly to how the app is used. Typically, this information is gathered, shared, and sold.
Today’s advertisers are particularly interested in this data. These consumer analytics can be used to gain insight into creating more effective marketing decisions. Beyond selling information, mobile apps are designed to make money in other ways, such as providing advertising space within the app, offering upgraded versions, or suggesting in-app purchases.
Cyber security is a major concern for everyone in the 21st century. However, with a little bit of consumer vigilance, the benefits of mobile apps far outweigh the concerns. Updating to the newest version of any installed apps (and deleting apps that you no longer use) can help protect your data and decrease the chances that your device is infected with malware.
Benefits of Mobile Applications for Customers
Younger generations may find this hard to believe, but there used to be a time when people actually did nothing while they waited. Today, instead of making small talk about the weather, people check the weather, play games, book travel, pay bills, and about a billion other things using their mobile apps.
The benefits of mobile applications are endless. According to Nielsen, the most used apps in the U.S. are Facebook, Google Maps, and The Weather Channel. The most popular reasons why people use apps are to play games, check the news, socialize with friends, and listen to music. With the right apps, people can avoid traffic jams and bank overdrafts, find jobs or find homes, surf the web, take beautiful photos and, of course, share everything within seconds. For people all over the world, mobile applications allow them to connect to whomever, whatever, whenever, wherever, however they choose. So, where do we go from here?
What Does the Future Hold?
Predicting the future is hard, especially when technology and innovation are involved. Anything can happen. The Apple iPhone may have launched the initial development of mobile applications, but today’s experts agree that the mobile apps of the future will not be limited to smartphones and tablets. By the year 2015, developers believe they will be developing app software for televisions, game consoles, medical devices, clothing, fashion accessories, and yes, even cars that drive themselves.
As mobile devices become the norm, users will continue to demand new apps to search, discover, find, learn, and entertain. There’s no denying that this increase in demand for more apps in more devices than ever before will create a wave of new customer experiences and business opportunities, not to mention, lucrative career opportunities for the mobile application developers of the future.
Author Byline: Laura Mingo writes in the field of higher education. This article aims to offer career advice for university students in relation to IT and promotes the benefits of advanced study regarding an online master’s in computer information systems.