The future of smartphone app development: trends and expert advice for startups

The decades-long evolution of the smartphone has seen the device become the digital nerve centre of our lives, helping to manage everything from our finances to our health.

Statista Research forecasts the number of smartphone users to increase by around 1.5 billion between 2024 and 2029 and reach 6.4 billion, so it’s not surprising that mobile development is one of the most dynamic tech spheres in the world. With smartphone domination almost complete, the app industry has seen an unprecedented surge in tech advances. According to Forbes, an average smartphone user opens at least nine apps per day and, 30 apps a month. 

The commercial world of app development kicked off in 2002 with the arrival of the Blackberry (although their inception can be dated as far back as the seventies) – the Java-based device paved the way for app development with Apple and Google introducing their app stores in 2008. While Java remains the primary development language for Android-based apps today. According to Mendix, there were 230 billion first-time mobile app downloads in 2021 across Apple and Android devices worldwide. Just when we thought apps couldn’t become any more ingrained in our lives, game-changing technologies are set to revolutionise the realm once again. Perhaps AI is the most prominent (and most talked about) factor influencing app development. 

AI will impact both users and developers – from a front-end perspective deeper levels of personalisation could reach new heights as insights are collected in real-time, with intricate learning systems quickly transforming data into solutions for the user's needs. Another area where AI comes to the fore is security, thanks to its developments in facial and voice recognition even being able to spot fraud. For developers, AI programmes can aid in streamlining timelines – from designing to creating code, offering more time for testing and strategy.

What else is primed to influence the future of app development? AR and VR are making strides within industries outside the gaming realm – such as the real estate sector which was catapulted into the world of VR technology by the pandemic – accelerating the development of impressive apps allowing future homeowners to view properties. Another future trend that has existed in the public domain for some time is 5G, but it’s only relatively recently that networks have been rolling it out. As its infrastructure and availability strengthen, 5th-generation wireless tech is set to transform apps and the way we use them thanks to lightning speed, improving latency, and network reliability. MoldStud deep-dives how 5G is set to revolutionise app innovation.

With so much growth and opportunity ahead, it may seem daunting to a developer startup or a novice considering entering the industry. Rashid Amanzholov, a Senior Mobile Developer with over 30 years of experience in IT systems and creator of numerous mobile apps including EcoCity, Timely and Smemo offers some expert insight and advice:

  1. Don’t stop learning new development languages and tools. Even if some of them won’t be popular, the time spent learning will pay off as you will be able to make swift decisions on which one to use for various purposes. 
  2. Prioritise leveraging high-quality mobile development frameworks such as Flutter, SwiftUI, Jetpack Compose, Kotlin Multiplatform, and React Native – helping you to eliminate issues at every stage of development. 
  3. Keep refreshing your knowledge and stay up-to-date – from future trends and new techniques to tools.
  4. Always keep in mind your end users’ needs. We build our applications for them to enjoy and benefit from.
  5. Think outside of the box and strive to find new ways of solving any issue.
  6. Develop your communication skills so you can truly understand what your customer wants and translate their needs for your team.  

While the world of mobile applications has made significant progress over the last thirty years, the ever-rapidly-moving landscape of technology is set to propel development to new dimensions.