Remember the blockchain?
Just a few years ago, it was one of the hottest trends in tech, going even beyond cryptocurrencies.
In just a few months, developers launched dozens of blockchain-based apps on the app stores.
The fact is that app development changes rapidly.
As an Android developer, you have to keep up with these innovations if you want to create the best, most cutting-edge apps.
Here are 8 of the biggest Android trends you should watch out for.
Flutter for Android
Using cross-platform tools to build Android apps isn’t new. In fact, you have languages like React Native for that.
Lately, however, Android developers have been increasingly going with Flutter, Google’s own cross-platform language.
the 2022 Stack Overflow Survey, which measures the popularity of programming languages.
You’ll see that Flutter has now overtaken React Native, widely considered the most popular cross-platform language.
But why is that?
At its core, Flutter offers the same benefits as any cross-platform tool. This includes the ability to write on the codebase and deploy it to both
Android and iOS.
However, Flutter has certain aspects that put it above its competitors.
Here are some key differences between them:
Flutter also gives more control over the app’s look and feel, akin to native tools. You can easily add UI elements, widgets, and features to your app.
Flutter also supports animations, allowing you to achieve dynamic layouts.
Plus, the fact that Google developed Flutter means it would have great compatibility with Android. In fact, some Google apps like Google Ads are built with Flutter.
Other Flutter apps include Spotify, Evernote, and Amazon Prime Video.
Instant apps are an innovative feature of Android that essentially allows users to use the app without having to install them on their device.
Apps can be accessed via a URL link and displayed anywhere, from websites to messaging services.
The way an instant app works is that it partitions the app into modules that can be viewed independently of each other.
When someone accesses that instant app URL, they are taken only to the corresponding module of that app.
Here’s a diagram to illustrate the process better (instant apps are depicted on the right).
Instant apps are fantastic at reducing friction and increasing your user base.
That’s because such an app doesn’t require downloading, which is a major step to ask if you think about it. You’ve probably browsed hundreds of apps but only chose a handful to install.
Moreover, instant apps bypass this obstacle by allowing people to trial your apps before downloading them.
You can also expose your apps to more channels than just the Google Play Store.
For instance, you can allow people to play a trial version of your mobile game app on a website and then promote it on social media.
People who liked it can download the full version on your app page.
You can even merge your e-commerce website and app into one platform. For instance, you can let users access your instant app to browse your products via a web browser.
The bottom line is that even if instant apps currently only hold a small share of the market (
just 0.13% of all apps), it’s a trend that could potentially innovate the entire app industry.
Apps for foldable devices
Foldable smartphone screens might’ve seemed like science fiction just a few years ago, but now they’re a reality.
This emerging technology has given users an exciting new way to use their smartphones, such as giving them more screen space if needed.
But it has also provided app developers with new opportunities, thanks to the dual-screen layout.
Apps must now have a fluid UI that adjusts automatically depending on whether the device is folded, unfolded, or flexed.
Think of it as having the UI seamlessly switch from phone to tablet resolutions.
Then there are also the various screen resolutions, which are vastly different from what developers are used to.
This adds to device segmentation and further complicates app development and testing.
But once you go past those challenges, folded devices offer creative layout ideas that could enhance the user experience.
Mostly, the bigger screen allows developers to put multiple functions simultaneously, which Is beneficial for certain multi-tasking scenarios.
For example, the cooking app
SideChef uses a split screen to put the recipe on one side and a timer on the other, as these are both critical tools to a person while cooking.
The other screen can also be used to pull up a calculator for converting measurements.
The fact is that foldable devices will continue to gain popularity, with
28% of users planning to upgrade in the near future.
Thus, Android developers should adapt quickly to the new way of doing things if they want to stay relevant.
Voice user Interface
Voice commands have been popular with app users ever since
Apple first released Siri in 2010.
From there, voice control capabilities have become more robust than ever, with Android developers having access to voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant.
And the use of voice has become more prevalent than ever. According to a study by Oberlo,
half of the US population uses voice search daily.
There are many advantages to voice commands. Instructing the smartphone to do something is often faster than typing it out.
This speed gain alone contributes to a good UX.
Plus, they allow users to still interact with their phones in certain situations where looking at a screen to complete a task simply isn’t an option, such as driving a car or operating heavy machinery.
And while Alexa and Google Assistant are robust enough, developers are finding new ways to incorporate voice into their apps.
For example, you can ask questions of the Hound app, which will respond intelligently. You can even ask follow-up questions for clarification.
Voice assistants can also help you make more minimalist user interfaces. Since users can access certain features via voice, you don’t need to cram them into a single screen.
As a developer, voice user interfaces are a trend you mustn’t miss. We predict it’s only a matter of time before they’ll become the primary way people interact with their apps.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is a trend that puts computer-like capabilities to objects that traditionally don’t have them, such as street lights, cameras, and appliances.
This makes these devices interconnected, opening up interactive possibilities—especially with a mobile app involved.
The best example of IoT in action is the smart home.
Developers can create Android apps that allow users to control these appliances remotely, opening up plenty of convenience and accessibility benefits.
For instance, an app can connect to your house’s thermostat and allow you to adjust it while you’re driving home from work. That way, it’ll be at the perfect temperature once you get home.
Another example is the
light control app we developed for Kien. It allows the user to control the Kien lights in their home according to their mood or even when they normally wake up.
Another key application of IoT apps is in healthcare.
For instance, you can have an app (like this
glucose monitoring app we developed) that could track a patient’s vitals.
The data can then be sent to their doctors, alerting them if a patient’s health needs immediate attention.
IoT is an exciting trend for
Android developers because it lets you affect your user’s environment. This certainly opens up lots of great possibilities!
Nowadays, almost every app is either fully or partially dependent on the cloud.
Whether storing a user’s data or downloading app content, the cloud has become an essential tool for Android developers.
The cloud offers many benefits to developers. One of the crucial things is that they don’t have to worry much about storing data securely (as long as they pick a reliable provider).
This greatly simplifies development and reduces the need to invest in infrastructure.
You can even create mobile apps with your entire ecosystem (like web servers and databases) entirely in the cloud, called infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS).
Cloud integration is especially powerful when combined with offline sync. Apps like Evernote store data on the cloud, but they also allow the user to write even when offline.
The app then syncs that data when the connection is restored. This neatly solves the always-online requirement of cloud-based apps.
Cloud integration even benefits developers. During development, all files and data can be stored on the cloud, allowing the team to work on them in parallel.
This could speed up development time, especially with remote teams.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence
Since ChatGPT took the world by storm, artificial intelligence and machine learning have been all the hype. So expect them to become much more prominent in Android apps going forward.
Of course, many apps had already used AI successfully before ChatGPT entered the picture.
But the new generative AI technology (which allows the computer to create human-like text, video, and images) could take it a step further.
For example, the music app Spotify uses machine learning to suggest songs or create personalized lists based on what the user has previously listened to.
But now, it’s using generative AI for
This feature uses a dynamic AI voice modeled after Xavier “X” Jernigan, who will suggest songs based on the user’s listening history. It’s like having your own personalized radio!
Generative AI has also greatly impacted photo editing apps by giving them the power to create radically different looks that were simply impossible just a few years ago.
Take a look at YouCam Makeup, an app that generates different avatars based on just a single photo.
Generative AI has unlocked many amazing possibilities for almost every app niche imaginable. Undoubtedly, it’ll become a trend that you should try incorporating into your next Android project.
Augmented reality and virtual reality
Virtual and augmented reality are nothing new—they have been around for years.
However, the numbers indicate that they’ll be even more popular in the future. By 2027, the AR and VR market will become a
$52.05 billion industry, which is a 67% growth from 2023.
And with Google’s native AR library
ARCore, incorporating this new tech into your Android apps is easier than ever.
VR and AR are often used to create immersive mobile games where the user’s environment becomes the playing field.
We’ve seen this used successfully in breakaway titles like Pokemon GO.
However, that’s just the beginning.
For example, AR is becoming increasingly popular in the home improvement space.
Ikea Place and Augment allow users to add objects and furniture using AR, thus letting them visualize the space much better.
Other areas that VR and AR can revolutionize include travel, healthcare, engineering, and retail shopping.
Need help implementing these trends?
We hope these eight trends have got you excited! The fact is that incorporating these into your next Android app project will make it much more likely to become a success.
But you’ll need capable hands to help you implement these trends properly into your next project.
That’s where DECODE comes in.
Our team is always on the cutting edge of Android trends, and we’ve even used them in a handful of successful projects.
That gives us the experience and expertise to do the same on your Android app.
Interested? Schedule a free consultation with us (with full NDA protection), and let’s talk!