Mobile devices and apps are evolving even faster than you think they are.
I came across an article by SD Times Suzanne Kattau who covered a recent Forrester report called, "The Future of Mobile Application Development." In the report, Jeffery Hammond and Julie Ask draw out major changes that mobile app developers must take into consideration within the next few years.
Focus will go from touch to voice
Touch will remain an important aspect, but voice functions will become more and more intertwined with apps.
Mobile apps have already become a part of everyone's daily lives -- but the whole point of having a mobile device is being able to take it with you somewhere and being allowed to access it when you are doing something else.
Apps will make it easier on users to be able to do other things, like go for a run or drive, and voice functions will do just that. Operating your mobile device without looking at it will be the big wave users are waiting for.
As mentioned, that is not to say that touch will become anywhere near obsolete. When you are in a noisy environment (or a quiet one in which you don't want to make noise), you will want to switch back to touch. Developers may want to keep in mind mode changes between the two.
Everyone has heard of virtual glasses, but they still seem quite like something out of a sci-fi movie.
The report says that glasses that are plugged in to mobile devices will be available by 2014. The mobile device itself will simply be the processor you leave in your bag.
I expect that this will completely change UI and UX as we know it. More 3D and virtual reality functions will also come into play.
Blending in with platforms
Less and less apps will be released stand-alone and more will come through a platform and as a part of other services.
We have so many apps out there and it is becoming more and more difficult for people to find. Apps will serve more as "plug-ins" to other services.
Better web support
As mentioned in my other posts, more apps will integrate web support into their apps, whether becoming a full-blown web app or a hybrid.
This part of the report is completely consistent with other reports mentioning how a majority of apps will integrate HTML5 into their architecture.
With the growing number of devices and OS, flexibility and coverage will definitely remain a huge issue.
These next few years will be an exciting time for app devs!