A little over a decade ago, most people had no idea what a mobile application was. Today, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know what they are. Mobile applications have become so entrenched in our lives that it can be difficult to believe there was a time when they didn’t exist.

Much like mobile applications themselves, the technology used to develop them continues to change and improve. New technologies will enable developers to deliver a higher quality user experience, making it easier for users to accomplish their goals through their mobile devices.

What does the future of mobile application development hold if it continues to change and improve rapidly? Here are some predictions.

Social Media: Staying Popular, Going Niche

According to staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collat School of Business, social networking was the fastest growing mobile application category in 2014. Why do we love social media so much? It allows us to stay connected to the people and things we care about, no matter where we are.

One of the directions in which social media apps are moving is into smaller and smaller niches. Although people have a desire to connect to friends, family and coworkers, they want to differentiate how they communicate with those groups. For example, they might only wish to talk to their friends from work through one app and their family members through another.

Context Aware Marketing: Personalizing the Advertising Experience

What if an app could look at information such as your browsing history, preferences and location to deliver relevant and timely offers from vendors? That technology exists, and it will become more and more common.

Context aware marketing uses data on mobile devices, including the user’s current physical location, to connect with transmitters. The transmitters, owned by vendors, send customized promotions and sales to users based on the information from their mobile devices. Customers want offers tailored to their needs “ when they don’t receive them, they lose interest in the vendor.

Mobile Search: Creating Mobile Moments

Mobile devices make it easy for us to get the information we need when we want it. They’re small, portable and connected to the Internet. All you need to do is pull out your smartphone or tablet, type in a word or phrase, and the knowledge you wanted is right there.

When people use their mobile device to gain information, it’s known as a mobile moment. A branded app which performs searches reinforces the notion that your company is there for customers when they need it, giving them relevant, contextual data.

Mobile Payment Systems: The Shopping Experience of the Future

The idea of opening up your wallet and handing over money to a cashier for your purchase is becoming quaint and outdated. Mobile devices equipped with near field communication (NFC) technology allow users to tap their phone or tablet against a terminal to pay for items.

Mobile payment apps don’t merely represent a new way to pay “ they are a component of a faster, more convenient, improved shopping experience. Some analysts and thought leaders believe mobile payment apps will disrupt banking and change the face of the payment industry.

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