Prepare for the apps revolution
There is no doubt mobile applications have taken the world by storm.
Although apps have existed since the advent of cell phones, only in the last five years has the app market become the most exciting area in software development. During this period, cell phones quickly became smart phones, with bigger screens, faster processors and a lot more memory.
This metamorphosis resulted in a significant number of software developers migrating to the mobile app industry in order to capitalize on the greater mobility and ubiquity of the mobile phone: taking advantage of the superior ability of the Smartphone to create installable apps for the dominant mobile operating systems; Apple iOS, Android and Blackberry OS.
As we prepare to become the tech hub of Africa, and as more Rwandans use smart phones, we have not been left behind in this ‘app’ fever.
Hehe Ltd, a development firm founded by a team of KIST students, has won recognition for its innovation and is taking advantage of this tech trend in the Rwandan market.
However, as with any other industry, it is important that we are able to predict the future of mobile apps as we invest financial and human capital into this field, as there is a major potential shift in the industry.
It is argued that mobile apps exist, to a large extent, due to the “weakness” of the browser in smart phones: a fraction of mobile apps were created to give users access to web content; essentially being more mobile friendly substitutes for the “media rich” browser web applications that work well with PCs but not the phone browser.
Lo and behold, like everything else in the tech sector, that mobile browser is quickly catching up with today’s PC browser in terms of performance. This will translate into decreased demand for native apps to access “media rich” web content via smart phones; the future of mobile apps is potentially in mobile website development and not Smartphone native installable apps.
With the ever-increasing support for HTML 5 web platforms in smart phones, it is probable that the software developers will migrate yet again to web development for mobile browsers. I base this argument on the fact that web platforms using HTML 5 offer a single avenue to access all types of smart phones, as opposed to native application development where firms need to re-develop separate apps for the different major mobile operating systems. In addition, HTML 5 based apps do not need to be installed or downloaded the way native apps do because the app is hosted and updated on a web server – relieving the smart phone user of the monotonous task of updating their apps.
Back to the Rwandan ‘app scene’: are we ready for this potential change? As we invest resources (and excitement) in mobile apps, we should be prepared to adapt to the potential changes in this industry. It is true that firms and developers worldwide continue to reap profits from app stores but as the tech hub of the continent it does not hurt to be one step ahead and ready for the future ahead for app development – just in case!
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