Mobile Development: The 2015 Crystal Ball

Mobile developers change people's lives every single day -- they create innovative experiences, reshape how we spend our time, and give us continual access to Facebook and Twitter (the latter being especially important to the author!). The pace at which these new experiences are delivered continues to amaze, yet continues to speed up. As a recovering enterprise mobile developer myself, I'm always tracking the new tools and technologies that developers are using to maintain this pace and provide new innovation. With that in mind, we've published a report on the mobile development predictions for 2015; the changes that will allow developers to continue to produce amazing innovation at a continually faster rate. We've highlighted 8 in the report, but the ones that are especially exciting to me are:


  • Composition, Composition, Composition! Building base app functionality dominated the early days of enterprise mobility, but the bar for successful innovation on mobile devices has moved skyward while time-to-delivery windows are approaching zero. This combination is forcing mobile development shops away from a mentality of creating everything in-house. Instead, regardless if the experience is a mobile web site or a mobile app, successful teams will assemble pre-existing front-end components, or will create them where they don’t already exist. Fortunately we're seeing incredible new opportunities in both mobile apps and the mobile web. Android has had Intents for quite some time, but with Apple's iOS8 we now get app extensions to share experiences outside of the app container. The mobile web is getting it's own composition help from HTML5 with web components, highlighted by Google Polymer.
  • Mobile competition will shift to accessories and ecosystems. In 2014 Apple and Google set the stage for massive ecosystem competition in 2015. That competition will span cars (Android Auto vs. Apple CarPlay), wearables (Android Wear vs. Apple Watch), television (Android TV vs. Apple TV), and the home (Apple HomeKit vs. Nest). We predict that while products within an ecosystem will “just work” together, that won’t be that case across ecosystems. As a result, developers should anticipate that customers will increasingly choose one ecosystem or another. Other device ecosystems like those organized by Microsoft and Amazon may emerge as well, but will struggle to gain traction in 2015.

While I don't do mobile development all day every day, I'm still very excited for what's to come in 2015. Forrester clients can take a look at the full list of mobile development predictions and also the full list of prediction reports we have in store for you this month. Have we overlooked anything that you're excited about? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below or tweet me at @ASocialFace -- can't wait to see the amazing things that are to come!


Tablestakes vs engagement

Fantastic preview of the fuller report. As an exec at a mobile design and dev agency, we are knee deep in these discussions all day.

We've watched budgets change hands to the CMO side, especially in retail vertical and ignoring B2B for a minute, along with the increased need for context, personalization, omnichannel engagement, and seamless but intentional brand interactions. Everyone wants a bespoke experience without the cost of bespoke development. (I also want a unicorn, but that is neither here nor there.)

Composable services have to become much more sophisticated before they will be useful for more than tablestakes entries to mobile strategies. I think 2015 will be an inflection point for learning how to catapault composed apps beyond basic for a designed experience. As Matt Asay described in September, simple technology does not mean it is easy (or you make it easy and are hamstrung by a lack of richness).

We will see some fantastic learning opportunities where brands shortcut their way to failure before they realize that, while accelerators accelerate, they can't replace skill, mastery, known patterns, business and UX savvy.

What is more fun than being in the messy fray of an evolution??? Here's to 2015!

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