The changes in how own devices perform and operate may have come much faster than many could have anticipated – long gone are the days of our tactile physical buttons and downloaded ringtones, and the days of the flip phone working on making a smaller form factor over all else. Now the game is different – making phones as big as possible, pushing display sizes to the limit of what’s possible in a smaller, sleek body, and longer battery lives. Newer advances such as the coming introduction of 5G networking will only increase our data speeds and connectivity, and increase the possibilities and capabilities of our devices – with all this technology, however, the one thing that can’t be ignored is how the software in applications have allowed us more utility than ever, from entertainment to useful utility, it’s now all available at the palm of our hands.
The fastest growing application on mobile devices is within gaming – already reaching a value of $165 billion per year and expected to grow at over 2% every year, it shows no signs of slowing down. Increasing connectivity to social media and longer battery life has meant many of us can spend more time playing these games. Puzzle games are at the top of the market, as they capture over half of the gaming audience but there’s also signs that mobile casinos and betting services are also seeing a huge surge in popularity, as the demographic for mobile gamers changes from young males to a middle aged crowd with disposable income. IOS and Android dominate the market on this front, as the two giants are often the first to deliver such apps to their relevant app stores. Over the course of the Cheltenham Festival week, and indeed other major betting events like the Grand National – sports betting apps dominated the top downloaded apps of the day. Whilst the larger sporting events are likely to capture a hyper casual side audience, with less time to play, the latter on the casino side could see that trend shifted.
A rise in other types of applications have also eased everyday tasks – mobile banking has been essential for many for moving money around and managing finance, budgeting apps and fitness apps that offer solutions for tracking every day nuisances that may get on top of us, and then our home lives have been made easier by the introduction of smart meters for energy usage to track and change how our energy is being used – analogue in many aspects of home life is being phased out by a digital change.
It is of course difficult to talk about the changes in smartphone applications without talking about how the entertainment industry has been changed by it too – streaming services such as Netflix and Disney+ have recently been in the public eye for the way they’ve changed even cinematic releases, as many aim to release new movies and series directly on to the digital platforms whilst avoiding a cinematic release. The user interface of many websites is also influenced by the growing amount of traffic primarily coming from smartphone devices as desktop figures continue to drop and many designs primarily for touchscreen use above all else.
The technology is still moving extremely quickly – hardware in many of our modern mobile devices have become extremely similar and it’s difficult to differentiate one between the other in terms of capabilities – the next stage seems to be innovations on shapes and sizes as we’re seeing folding devices start to come back into popularity as screen technology has evolved, but we’re also seeing further advancements in battery technology as our devices now consume more power than ever thanks to bigger screens and brighter colours – looking at the past decade of smartphone development lays a very promising foundation for what can be expected in the coming decade, and if the innovation continues within just a few years our mobile devices may take on once again a very different form than what we know today.