The Future of Mobile Apps in 2021: What to Expect

Mobile app technology is constantly evolving, which means that with each year new features will be introduced for the betterment of the smartphone user. The rapid adoption of vast improvements in virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will bring about a wide range of changes in 2021.

The changes will be more than just cosmetic; they are predicted to have a significant impact on how we interact with our devices and access services from them. In 2020 for example, it’s predicted that by 2021 it will be commonplace to see apps with AR features such as virtual assistants or animated characters that can help you navigate a city.

This is due to the rapid advancements in virtual reality, which will continue into the next year. The VR space was dominated by hardware in 2016 but 2017 has seen a range of apps come on board that is sparking interest from consumers and businesses alike.

Mobile users can look forward to taking advantage of improved augmented reality features within certain apps with Google Lens launching in 2018. This technology allows you to search for products through your camera’s viewfinder and identify what it is you are looking at – kind of like an advanced barcode scanner. So far there have only been a few examples of this app, such as when Snapchat launched its new face-linking feature Lenses and Ikea introduced AR shopping kiosks.  But these are just the beginning and retailers will soon look to make full use of this technology.

Mobile app developers must try to keep up with any new progress in order to remain competitive, which means that by 2021 they could be using AR more commonly than we expect. For instance, it’s predicted that mobile app users could see the launch of ‘P2P’ apps such as Wickr, which allows you to send encrypted messages within group chats. This is because security will become a much bigger factor in the coming year as hackers become more creative when it comes to hacking into our systems and data. So far there are few examples of these kinds of apps on the market but it’s likely that users won’t have long to wait until most major messaging apps adopt similar encryption features.

Mobile app development is predicted to undergo a shift in focus from shop assistants and personal assistance to customer experience. This means that apps will be able to react to our needs depending on where we are, or what time it is. For example, using your phone camera’s facial recognition feature you can tell if you’re walking towards someone who looks happy or sad and the app will recommend different products based on that person’s mood.  In order for this technology to function properly, however, users must agree to share their location with the app so it can work effectively – something which some might find intrusive.

According to mobile experts, apps could become even more intelligent in the future by leveraging machine learning techniques such as natural language processing (NLP) and cognitive computing. Machine learning algorithms will continue to be refined in real-time which means that apps of 2021 will have the ability to self-learn and make decisions.  This could result in apps that are smarter than ever before, but this could also lead to some serious concerns about data safety as hackers get much more creative with their attempts to break into our systems.

In 2021 users can look forward to enjoying a better shopping experience thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistants. For instance, Amazon’s Alexa app already allows you to summon a waiter at restaurants using just your voice and soon most apps will incorporate this kind of service.  This has obvious benefits for people who struggle with technology or prefer not to have to use a smartphone at all. A good example of AI in action is Google Lens, an app designed to analyze the items you’re looking at and provide you with relevant information. Apps are predicted to become even more intelligent by 2021, which means that many will be able to use NLP technology to adapt their content according to your needs.

By 2021 it’s likely that our virtual shopping assistants will know us better than we know ourselves – they’ll have access to our calendars and emails as well as data collected from our online searches.  They could learn so much about us that they would be able to make personalized purchases without us even needing to ask for recommendations. This won’t necessarily be a bad thing because it may mean we are offered products which we’ve never even heard of but which we might like based on the way we live.

This could mean that online shopping becomes even more accessible for disabled people as apps become easier to use and fewer physical shops are required to stock products. Furthermore, by 2021 it’s predicted that AR will have been fully integrated into our apps so consumers will be able to browse an item in the flesh before buying without having to take a trip to a shop.  This is already happening at some supermarkets where you can scan products with your phone camera in order to see what it would look like in your kitchen. And if you don’t like the result, you can return them all thanks to Amazon Fresh!

All these possibilities give us many reasons to look to be excited about the future of mobile apps. As well as being more convenient, apps are also becoming a whole lot smarter and they will continue to expand their knowledge in order to better suit our needs and preferences. If you want to create an app that is ahead of its time then get in touch with Vermillion Sky for expert advice on developing your idea or refining an existing design.

What do you think the future holds for mobile technology? Leave your comments below!

Ken Vermeille
Ken Vermeille
The founder and CEO of Vermillion Sky. Ken Vermeille has 15 years of experience in product design and development. Creating his first website at 12 years old, he continues to build his talents by leveraging his ability to learn and implement any technology. In the past he's worked on mobile and web apps, video games, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, business model generation, and anything to keep Vermillion Sky at the cutting edge of product design and development.

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