Mobile application development is driven by a number of trends which are generated both internally by advancing technologies and externally by user demands. And so staying ahead of the curve and embracing changes before they become the next big thing can have a significant impact on the success of apps that are currently in development. But what are the trends holding sway over mobile application development today, and how should they alter the decisions made of those involved in the industry?

Cloud-Powered Functionality

Although each mobile OS has its own self-contained app ecosystem, modern apps are being developed in a way that can bridge the gap between different devices running rival software platforms, all thanks to the cloud. And being able to keep data synchronised across multiple hardware and software solutions is something that cloud-powered apps can do especially well.

Furthermore, the ability to develop and test apps in a cloud environment is making the app industry more fluid, speeding up the entire process and making it easier to meet launch deadlines. So cloud integration is likely to be both a front-end feature and a back-end consideration.

Improved App Security

Malicious apps still slip through the net and cause intermittent scandals in the industry. But the real issue is not the apps developed specifically to do harm, but those which are benign in their design but flawed enough to make it easy for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities and access user data in the process.

Because of this, apps must be built to be secure and resilient against the threats that they face today, or they run the risk of being hijacked and compromised in a high-profile manner. App security is certainly a challenging aspect of development, but one which cannot be ignored.

Transactional Apps and Mobile Payment

Now that Apple is in on the mobile payment scene, the mainstream audience is really taking notice of what can be achieved using a smartphone and some software. And mobile devices now account for the majority of web traffic and search queries made, meaning that e-commerce sites must do their utmost to make smartphone and tablet users feel at home.

But with transaction apps that integrate trusted payment systems, the ability to boost conversion rates well beyond those seen on standalone sites is immense. And so to get customers hooked and keep them coming back for more, an app needs to address this desire for payment potential.

Ad-Funded Apps

While the early days of the mobile app market were defined by the success of paid-for programs purchased for a small number by users, the shift towards a free-to-play approach has occurred over time, and now the apps that want to earn the most downloads tend to follow this model. And so development is focused around a combination of encouraging users to harness micro-transactions while using integrated advertising to fund those who do not want to spend a penny.

Successful apps can survive on advertising revenue alone, but climbing to the top requires a well-designed, unique and consistent user experience.

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