Mobile apps must smarten up for the future

Gartner sets out the technologies and functions business users will expect from future apps...

Gartner sets out the technologies and functions business users will expect from future apps...

Businesses creating mobile apps should consider building everything from location-based services to object recognition into their offerings - according to a Gartner report.

The analyst house has identified the key smartphone technologies and functions that business customers will expect from apps over the coming years.

Mobile apps will increasingly define the user experience of high-end mobiles, according to analysts at Gartner

Mobile apps will increasingly define the user experience of high-end mobiles, according to analysts at Gartner
Photo: Cristiano Betta

Mobile app use continues to grow, with an earlier Gartner forecast predicting that mobile app downloads will reach 17.7 billion in 2011.

Smartphone users will increasingly expect apps to offer location-based services, the report said, which tailor content to the user's tastes and location. Over the past year, location-based mobile marketing has expanded, most recently with Facebook's update to its Places app, which allows users to access location-specific deals and special offers.

Over the next two years, apps will offer customers the ability to check in to a store by taking the phone into the premises - allowing the retailer to offer promotions when customers visit their stores - and the ability to add items to a shopping cart by taking a photo of an item or barcode in the store.

However, Gartner predicts that contactless payment using near field communications (NFC) technology will not become mainstream until 2015, citing ease-of-use problems as holding the technology back.

By 2012, apps will also increasingly offer object recognition (OR), which will allow phone users to perform tasks such as internet search by photographing items with their handset's camera.

Future apps should also be tailored to allow people to watch video on the move, thanks to larger screens on smartphones and media tablets.

Social networks will provide an increasingly important platform for mobile apps, the report states, with apps able to use networks for gaming, messaging and shopping, as well as to access content ranging from photos to videos.

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