Wearable Devices, Fitness Apps Loom Large for 2016

The 2016 app market will see an increase in the appeal of Android as a platform across all industries, the App Annie 2016 trends report noted.

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The focus of consumer app development is expected to shift toward vertical-specific contexts that don’t overlap with smartphone usage or where the phone is not the optimal choice, particularly in fitness and health monitoring apps.

This is just one of 10 key trends app market data specialist App Annie expects to surface in 2016. App Annie’s latest report also includes predictions concerning retail banking, office- to-office technology and wearable devices.

"The functionality and popularity of mobile health apps will be closely tied to the volume and variety of health data they have access to. Some of this is collected through smartphones but the most valuable data will require wearable sensors," said Sameer Singh, senior industry analysis manager at App Annie. "These devices will have to see exceptionally strong uptake and engagement, combined with technological improvements and easing regulatory oversight, for mobile health apps to gain critical mass in the coming year."

With Google’s new Now on Tap service making apps behave more like the Web through app indexing and cost effective discovery, the 2016 app market will increase the appeal for Android as a platform across all industries, the report noted.

"As app deep-linking becomes more prevalent, platform owners should have the opportunity to implement a new smartphone navigation paradigm," Singh explained. "Google Now on Tap, for example, has the potential to cut the smartphone home screen out of the navigation model as app-to-app navigation becomes a reality. But on-demand app discovery through Google Now on Tap will also deemphasize PC-like ways of discovering apps and services."

Moving beyond mobile, 2015 saw platform owners innovating in new categories, especially in wearables and TV.

With developer resources already stretched across mobile OS platforms, App Annie’s report said it expects competition for developer attention to increase through 2016.

This will be one of the key areas that App Annie’s industry analysis team will be regularly assessing throughout 2016, given the impact competing platform priorities will likely have on slowing down these platforms’ adoption.

"The innovation we've seen from device and platform owners this year has been quite dramatic. We've already seen two major platforms from Apple -- watchOS and tvOS," Singh said. "As you can imagine, supporting existing mobile platforms and getting onto new platforms is challenging for developers with resource constraints. As a result, we expect developers to focus their energies on platforms that have the potential to generate deep engagement. Apple TV, for example, is built for users to engage with for long periods."