10 Application Development Trends to Watch Out for in 2021

Though many people start getting into software programming to create the next Angry Birds, emerging application development trends show that the industry has much more to offer. 

Software development is a booming market. In 2020, the application development market was valued at $168.6 billion, with the United States market alone making up approximately 30% of the total share.

The industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. And by 2027, the market will have quadrupled in size. 

Surely, crediting mobile app development by itself with all this growth is unreasonable. Instead, the software industry thrives off the innovation of new and alluring advanced technologies. 

The following piece will summarize 10 application development trends that will drive the growth of the software development market, this year and beyond. Stay tuned!

1. Internet of Things (IoT) 

Remember the Disney family movie Smart Home? Maybe not. But that 1999 film was perhaps the earliest mainstream example of IoT in action. 

You can find the internet of things (IoT) in the most unlikely places. But that’s sort of the point.

IoT references physical objects that are embedded with digital technology and operate via a system network. 

Because of IoT, sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, and other intelligent software work with commonplace items — often within your own household — to enhance your lifestyle. 

For example, while a classic refrigerator simply stores food in a cool environment, a smart fridge might use sensors to make ice when necessary or adjust its internal temperature. Some smart fridges even display interactive content. 

By definition, the internet of things is when an otherwise mere mechanical device communicates with the internet to perform a task. 

As an illustration, your smartphone in absence of a GPS to receive directional data from afar or without the algorithms it requires to identify your face in a group selfie would not be much more than a hunk of plastic and metal. 

Kevin Ashton coined the term ‘internet of things’ in 1999 (ironically the same year Smart Home was released) but it took nearly a decade for the idea to really take hold. 

Its widespread popularity thereafter is largely because Google started co-opting user data for their StreetView service. Indexing the physical world in digital space was not only sneaky, but genius. 

In the coming years, you can expect IoT to reach feats beyond what you ever thought possible. And you’ll notice IoT plays a big role in some of the advanced technologies below. 

2. Wearables

Wearable technology has not fallen out of fashion since the initial release of the Fitbit Flex in 2013. Now, Apple Watches (and other smartwatches), virtual reality (VR) boxes, smart jewelry, and Google Glass serve as prominent examples of wearable technology, or wearables.

Apple Watches (and other smartwatches), virtual reality (VR) boxes, smart jewelry, and Google Glass serve as prominent examples of wearable technology, or wearables.

To put it simply, wearables are electronic devices that are worn close to or on the skin. They are smart devices, much like a smartphone, but they happen to be a fashion piece as well. 

Wearables are a prime example of IoT, and fitness trackers especially, use the internet to send and retrieve relevant user data. 

3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to a machine’s ability to mirror the human mind. This correlates with machine learning, a subset of AI whereas computers can learn from experience — much like a human person — using algorithms. 

Less developed AIs cannot do much more than perform simple tasks. But more complex AIs can have a full, organic conversation with a human interlocutor. 

An example of a simple AI is a manufacturing robot or a self-driving car. These machines are built with specific criteria in mind, so their intelligence doesn’t exactly mirror the human mind, but they’re still able to do things that a traditional machine could not. 

A more advanced example of an AI would be a digital assistant. AIs like Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are digital assistants that can help you with a number of miscellaneous tasks. 

No doubt, the future will bring about the kind of artificial intelligence you’ve already previewed in science fiction movies: humanoid robots that can be helpful companions in and around the house. 

4. Chatbots

Chatbots tend to rely heavily on AI technology. This is because the goal of chatbots is to conduct conversations with humans to address their inquiries in a customer service model.  

Organizations embed chatbot apps into websites, mobile apps, and operating systems. 

Further, chatbots can be beneficial in numerous ways. First, they cut down on operational costs.

While your human-led team can handle customer service requests that need more hands-on assistance, your chatbot can answer frequently asked questions with a human-like charm.

The goal of chatbots is to conduct conversations with humans to address their inquiries in a customer service model

In this way, chatbots also enhance the user experience, bridging the gap between your business and your clients. 

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) combines both real-world and virtual environments. The experience is interactive and presents computer-generated objects and other perceptual structures in one’s natural reality. 

Pokémon GO, for instance, illustrates Pokémon and other visual elements of the game within your physical landscape, augmenting reality in effect. 

Besides games, the U.S. Army is working with augmented reality to enhance the night vision of soldiers and guide them in making distinctions between enemies and friendly troops. 

In general, businesses can employ AR for marketing campaigns. The IKEA app uses augmented reality for users to test products virtually inside their homes. 

Likewise, L’Oréal has a virtual makeup app that uses AR for users to see how makeup will appear on their faces. 

6. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) is a means of stimulating a seemingly real-life experience through virtual technology. 

Video games especially have taken the most advantage of VR technology. But there are a great many industries using virtual reality from car manufacturers charting road scenarios to educators using virtual learning games.  

You’re probably already familiar with VR headsets, where movement and depth perception influence the user experience in an artificial world. 

In this way, VR takes characteristics from augmented reality in that it supplies an interactive experience that is enhanced by real-world sensations. 

7. Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an application development trend that has been here for a minute, but every day cloud technology grows more advanced. 

Typically, cloud computing can fall under one of three advanced technologies: infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and software as a service (SaaS). 

A good example of IaaS is Amazon Web Services which powers a large part of the web by hosting data centers offsite. Websites access this infrastructure through the cloud and thus have much lower startup costs. 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is likely the most notorious form of CaaS although you may have never heard of VoIP before. VoIP is a method of delivering multimedia messaging via Internet Protocol networks. 

Facebook messaging, Skype, and Discord are likely familiar examples of CaaS that you’ve used personally. 

PaaS, particularly, stands out among cloud technologies. This is because it is a technology for creating applications. Google App Engine is one example of a cloud service where developers can build software applications. 

The major advantage of cloud computing, in general, is the ability to abstract services to the effect that providers can give their clients on-demand tools — without onsite maintenance, infrastructure, or installing a heavyweight application.  

8. Beacon Technology

Beacon technology is a multi-faceted application development trend that’s hard to describe in few words. Beacons themselves are minuscule wireless transmitters that send low-energy emissions to smart devices. 

With bluetooth technology, a beacon can make connections with smartphones and give alerts. 

Beacons were first introduced in 2013 by way of Apple’s iBeacon. But now pretty much any smartphone can make use of beacons. 

Retailers might use beacons to notify customers entering a store of new deals. Or even track user behavior as a customer shops and push them to buy a certain product. 

Overall, beacon technology is a great ploy for proximity marketing. It’s yet another way to improve your customers’ shopping experience. 

9. Mobile Wallets

Mobile wallets provide a secure and streamlined way to make in-store payments. Mobile or virtual wallets are connected to your bank, debit card, or credit card information. 

You can use mobile wallets in turn for card payments or cash. The rise of mobile wallets has prompted some stores to go completely cashless. 

In many of these stores, the preferred cashless form of payment is not cards, but mobile apps such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Android Pay. 

The disadvantage of this application development trend, however, is that those who cannot use mobile payments are often left out of the equation. Sometimes patrons have phones with limited functionalities or lack a cell phone altogether. 

Naturally, the houseless population usually fares the worst in cashless stores. That said, there’s no harm in providing the option for mobile payments as an alternative to cash payments. 

And the benefits of mobile wallets are speedy, one-click, safe, and secure payments.

Note that mobile commerce and mobile wallets are not one and the same but mobile commerce can involve mobile wallets; that is, when mobile commerce utilizes mobile payment. 

10. Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce, sometimes referred to as mcommerce or m-commerce, is the use of mobile devices to make financial transactions. 

You may look at your banking information everyday online without thinking twice or have the Amazon app handy on your phone. But you should not underestimate the splendor and convenience of handheld electronic commerce. 

Online shopping is great enough as it is, but doing so from the comfort of your smartphone elicits all the more accessibility. For this reason, mobile commerce drives nearly half of all e-commerce

From using mobile payments at your local store to purchasing groceries on the run, these are only a few of the merits of m-commerce. 

How Do API Integrations Power Application Development?

Just about every one of the application development trends above have API integrations at their heart. API integrations serve as a bridge connecting different software platforms. 

In this way, APIs power application development and they are the quintessential drivers of digital ecosystems. 

For example, in cloud computing, cloud APIs access cloud services through the web and further the deployment of SaaSmodels all around. 

Or in wearables, APIs facilitate the connection between what the user is wearing and the user’s smartphone, which will save all the important data the wearable collects. 

Even with mobile commerce, APIs integrate websites and applications with mobile payment software. And mobile wallets use APIs to enable your phone to make financial transactions. 

These are only a few examples of how APIs work. But hopefully, you get the idea: APIs are paving the way for a grand digital transformation of the modern technological landscape.


Make sure to watch out for these 10 application development trends that will bolster the tech industry in the coming years. 

Many of the advanced technologies you saw today have been around for some time now. But as time moves forward, their maturity will only grow deeper and unfettered potential will surface.

Do you see yourself building one of these advanced technologies in the near future? Trio can help you fulfill your vision effectively and efficiently.

Learn how to hire qualified developers at Trio today!

Cordenne Brewster

Content Writer


A tech enthusiast whose ardor is best expressed through the written word.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re looking for some information, but can’t find it here, please contact us.

Go to FAQ Arrow Left

Internet of things (IoT) references physical objects that are embedded with digital technology and operate via a system network.

Mobile commerce involves any method of making financial transactions through a mobile device. Mobile wallets, a type of mobile commerce, takes the form of a virtual credit or debit card that can be accessed through a smartphone.

API integrations serve as a bridge connecting different software platforms. Just about every one of the application development trends above have API integrations at their heart.