The year has barely begun, and we’re already seeing significant shifts in the mobile app space. Moreover, 2024 promises many exciting Android app development trends that will turn heads. But how can we be so confident that notable changes will occur on the Android platform this year? We see a stronger emphasis on quality, a greater adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), and a higher number of foldable smartphones hitting the market.
The Android platform has matured and is no longer the avenue to push out low-effort cash grabs. Recently, Google updated their app testing requirements for all developers with new Android personal accounts. These requirements force developers to take the production and testing of their apps a lot more seriously before submitting them for publication.
While these requirements will help increase the quality of upcoming Android apps, it’s not the only significant trend of 2024. Apps powered by large language models (LLMs) will hit the market with more ferocity this year.
In 2023, ChatGPT and other LLMs managed to amaze, excite, and even scare many with their near-otherworldly capabilities. But in 2024, many developers will capitalize on these LLMs by integrating them into their Android apps. Some of the mystery and hype surrounding LLMs has diminished, so there’s a greater focus on their practical use in mobile apps.
Another trend that will further impact Android development is the rise of foldable phones. While these are not new, they’re enjoying wider adoption, so developers can no longer avoid developing apps for these devices. Of course, Android app development trends don’t end here, so we’ll delve deeper into what you should expect in 2024 below.
Low-Code and No-Code Solutions Will Enjoy Rising Popularity
If you’ve dabbled in Android app development, you’ve come face-to-face with a high learning curve in building apps for the platform. And that’s because Java and Kotlin are complex programming languages that require several months of your time to learn the basics and years to master. But the challenge doesn’t end there since building, testing, and deploying to a wide range of Android devices is a nerve-racking experience.
Fortunately, Google has made Android app development a bit easier with their latest tooling. Yet, even these tools won’t diminish the need to gain competency in Java or Kotlin to build quality apps. As a studio that builds native Android apps in these languages, we highly recommend you take the time to learn these languages. Alternatively, consider partnering with a studio like NS804 to create your Android app that will comply with Google’s best practices and guidelines.
If you can’t hire a studio when your team doesn’t have the necessary coding skills — what then? You can rely on the myriad of low-code and no-code development platforms that have hit the market in recent years. Platforms like BuildFire, GeneXus for Super Apps, and Moxly help developers build cross-platform mobile apps rapidly.
But will you enjoy the same results as that of native-built apps? While these platforms promise impressive results, it’s unlikely that they’ll deliver the performance, consistent user experience (UX), and scalability of their native peers. Therefore, we only recommend you use these solutions if you have tight budget constraints or plan to build a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP).
Stricter Requirements Will Bring About Better Quality Apps
One of the Android app development trends that will massively impact the Android ecosystem may have caught many developers by surprise already. Google Play and many third-party Android app marketplaces have become inundated with buggy, low-quality apps that hurt the user experience. Given the accessibility and low bar of entry to develop Android apps, many freelancers, hobbyists, and unscrupulous developers have pushed out apps of dubious quality onto Google Play.
Google has identified and addressed this issue by introducing new app testing requirements. All personal developer accounts created after November 13, 2023, must comply with these new rules. And one of the most controversial requirements includes an elaborate closed testing process. Thus, it’s now necessary to test an app with over 20 users who have opted-in for the closed test for no less than 14 continuous days.
Only once developers meet this requirement can they submit their app for production access. It seems like an extreme measure, but one that we’ll welcome if it means that better and more secure apps will reach Google Play from now on. It forces newcomers to recruit and engage with testers and no longer treat the testing process as an afterthought. Furthermore, developers who comply with these requirements will significantly reduce low ratings and bad reviews.
AI-Powered Android Apps Will Proliferate During 2024
If you followed the news in 2023, you probably felt overwhelmed by all the hype and fear-mongering surrounding AI. Either AI will bring forth a golden age where humanity no longer has to do any drudge work, or AI will inevitably take over most jobs and make us redundant. The latter is a scary thought but a plausible outcome if governments don’t implement regulations to limit the damage AI may have on job markets.
Fortunately, we’re still in the early stages of the AI cycle, which inevitably presents numerous opportunities for savvy Android developers. While AI-powered apps are not new, LLMs are still novel in the mobile app space. But Android users love their LLM apps, with ChatGPT enjoying over 50 million downloads and a rating of 4.8 at the time of writing. Other popular alternatives include Bing, Chat AI, and Perplexity.
But are LLMs only appropriate for chatbot functionality? This functionality is only the tip of the spear, with writing, image generation, and code generation enjoying wide adoption within a short span of time. You can build all types of generators and analysis tools with ChatGPT and other similar LLMs. Then, you’ll train your AI models using your own datasets, images, and code to avoid litigation from the original copyright holders.
After you’ve trained your AI models, you should test these thoroughly via an internal testing process. Once you’re happy with the results, integrate these into your Android app via ChatGPT’s (or your preferred LLM) application programming interface (API). The process is involved but will make your app more engaging and profitable since users can generate text, images, and music that exceeds their capabilities.
Deploying Android Apps To PCs And Chromebooks
What makes the Android ecosystem so compelling is its sheer dynamism and versatility. Most users engage with Android apps on their tablets, smartphones, and via Android media players and TV boxes to a lesser extent. But lately, more users enjoy the same apps on their PCs and Chromebooks.
Microsoft and Samsung’s close working relationship helped integrate Samsung’s devices with Windows. That’s a wise move because many of Samsung’s flagship mobile devices are used extensively in enterprises.
Furthermore, Amazon Apps, which are Android apps — can run on Windows 11 PCs via the Windows Subsystem for Android. And recently, Google launched Google Play Games (beta) for PC users who want to enjoy their mobile gaming fix on their desktops. So, one of the hottest Android app development trends is ensuring your Android apps or games make their way to the PC.
Don’t stop there, as there’s another growing market that you can no longer ignore. Google’s ChromeOS and Chromebook laptops have already captured much of the US education market and even the small business community. As of December 2023, ChromeOS has penetrated 3.13% of the North American market and overtaken Linux, a far older operating system (OS).
You can deploy your Android apps to supported Chromebook devices. There’s some setup and tweaking involved, especially if you need to deploy your app across multiple devices in your organization. But once done, you have a secure pipeline to deploy custom business apps that must run on mobile devices and Chromebooks in tandem.
More Affordable Foldable Smartphones Will Hit The Market
Android foldable phones have been around for several years, but they’ve always been pricey for most consumers. It’s not uncommon to pay between $1,800 – $2,000 for a flagship foldable device nowadays. That price point is acceptable for executives and power users who require a powerful yet compact computing device for productivity. But for the average consumer, that’s way too expensive when lower-end smartphones under $500 offer adequate functionality and performance.
However, the foldable smartphone market is growing and maturing, leading to a greater diversity of products. More manufacturers are offering budget foldables like the Motor Razr at $700, which makes it affordable enough for the average US-based Android user. So, one of the defining Android app development trends of 2024 is a focus on apps designed for foldables.
It’s crucial to create apps that run perfectly on single-screen devices and utilize the additional screen real estate of foldables. These apps must make the most of adaptive and responsive design to adjust the user interface (UI) and screen page for every type of screen size. Moreover, it’s essential to offer multi-window support so that users can run multiple apps on their foldables since this is one of the core features of these devices.
Of course, if you plan to target ChromeOS, you’ll have additional screen sizes to consider. But making your apps run smoothly across multiple devices and screen formats will expose your app to a higher number of Android users. And if you add a cloud component to your app, you make it easy for users to switch between the foldable and ChromeOS versions without losing their work. Thus, they always stay productive and satisfied with your app and won’t seek alternatives that offer this functionality.
Android Mobile Game Development Beyond Unity
Most Android mobile game developers use Unity to create their eye-catching hit games. Unfortunately, their overreliance on this game-making software wasn’t a smart move, especially after Unity Technologies announced their runtime fee late last year. The fee drew the ire of game developers and forced Unity Technologies to backpedal and revise their pricing policy. Developers weren’t willing to pay possibly business-crippling fees accrued by each installation of their games.
But even with Unity Technologies making concessions to their users, many developers lost trust in the company. There was a sudden exodus of developers to competing game engines like Construct 3, Godot, and Unreal Engine. The biggest winner of the three was Godot, which enjoyed a sudden spike in users and even received a $100,000 donation from Re-Logic, the developer of Terraria. Also, cross-platform game frameworks like FNA and MonoGame received funding soon after the Unity installation fee controversy.
Apart from FNA, you may use any of the engines mentioned here to develop Android mobile games. And since Godot and MonoGame are open-source with liberal licensing agreements, you don’t have to pay anything or risk facing litigation.
But what if you want to avoid complicated cross-platform game engines and want to develop exclusively for Android? If you have C or C++ coding skills, you may opt for Google’s Android Game Development Kit (AGDK). It consists of tools and libraries that integrate with Visual Studio via the Android Game Development Extension (AGDE). It also integrates with existing popular engines like Cocos, Unity, and Unreal Engine if you prefer to take that route.
Passkeys Will Make Android Apps More Secure In 2024
Ordinary passwords are no longer safe, and two-factor authentication (2FA) isn’t hack-proof. Nevertheless, we always recommend you secure your apps and websites with 2FA as a minimum precaution. So, what should you do to offer a significant protection layer for your users? The good news is that Google has partly solved this issue by introducing passkeys for Android and Chrome.
If your apps run on Android 9 and higher, as they should, then you’ll have passkey support via the Credential Manager. The Credential Manager offers users multiple sign-in options and is available as a Jetpack API. We recommend you become acquainted with this API to understand its safety features and prerequisites.
Users no longer have to sign in by inputting complex passwords they’ll likely forget. Instead, they can sign in via the biometric sensor, pattern, or smartphone PIN. It’s a far more seamless method for signing in that will keep your users returning to your app, even if they’ve forgotten the password.
Android App Development Trends That Will Define An Entire Year
We’ve covered some of the most significant Android app development trends you’ll encounter in 2024. The Android market has matured but has not peaked yet, with many unique and innovative apps still to appear on the horizon.
Many of these apps will have some LLM implementation, while others will offer advanced features geared towards foldables. But there will also be a greater emphasis on security, which passkeys will solve to a certain extent. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you with your Android app development goals!