The mobile explosion happened in 2007 with the release of the iPhone. It was neither the first smartphone nor did it have the first app store. But, its combination of hardware and software marketplace was the first of its kind at that level of sophistication and utility. As Business Insider noted, it hasn’t even been a decade, and investors are questioning whether “mobile is dead, saturated, or just the beginning of a new arms race between operating systems as every device and every company is considered ‘mobile.’”
So, wherein does the future of mobile lie?
Here’s what some of the leading thinkers in the field are talking about:
Building an app for everything isn’t ideal for consumers OR brands
As a mobile solutions partner, it might seem counterintuitive for us to caution against developing apps as that’s a large part of what we do. But more importantly, we want to make sure our client’s mobile strategy is best aligned with its optimal chances for business success. For many companies, the shift to mobile caught them off guard. And, in a rush to catch up, they simply wanted to crank out an app (or apps) to have representation in the app landscape. But, if these apps weren’t purpose built with a specific business goal in mind, they might end up being more noise than signal.
Mobile apps can be brilliant, beautiful things that result in happy consumers and profitable brands. But, they need to be well conceived and expertly executed. Don’t just build an app to have one. Build one that makes business sense.
Deep linking is the future of mobile U/X
As we wrote about in July, deep-linking between apps is going to become the norm for how consumers navigate through the mobile web.
For anyone not intimately familiar, deep linking enables a user to click something and link directly to the object in question. For websites, this began with the ability to link not to a general homepage, but to a specific article in which you’re interested. That concept extended to mobile phones, too — users could click on deep links and their mobile browser would take them to the target page within the browser.
Users can also find something online on their phones and then click a link or button to open that item within the corresponding app (instead of within the mobile browser). For instance, if you were scrolling for an item on Amazon.com, the website could prompt you to browse for that item within the Amazon app and take you directly to that item within said app. Or even better, if you clicked on the “buy now” button on the web, your phone would automatically launch the app and take you to checkout.
This type of intra-app communication via deep-linking is the future of this ecosystem. Anyone looking to build a business-forward mobile solution would do well to bake this type of communication into that solution.
OS “agents” will redefine human/mobile interactions
From Business Insider:
Satya Nadella predicted agents like Cortana (or Apple’s Siri or Google Now or Facebook M) are going to replace the web browser as a way we interact. To Nadella, the future will be a lot of people walking around talking to their agents naturally. “‘Hey Cortana’ is in my vocabulary. Having that become more pervasive is my pursuit,” Nadella said. For app developers or mobile companies, that means there will be a wave of new business models and ways to hook into these “agents”.
None of these predictions should come as huge surprises to anyone following the mobile industry closely. But, many of the leading technologists are echoing the same sentiments. Pay attention, and you could preempt a lot of these changes, placing your company and its mobile products at the forefront of the app ecosystem.