Nobody had imagined that the apps development industry would achieve such tremendous growth in a time span of half a decade since the launch of the Apple App store in 2008.
The growth phenomenon continues to amaze as mobile developers across the globe continue to develop and release more and more apps on Google Play and the App Store. There are now more than 1.43 million apps on Google Play, and over 1.2 million apps on the App Store.
With many more in the production pipeline, I think the day is not far away when mobile apps will dictate the evolution of better mobile platform architecture for a faster, intuitive and richer UI app experience.
Maybe, this revolution has already begun!
Are we becoming mobile –app dependent vis-à-vis mobile platform architecture?
Let’s see how mobile apps will impact next-generation mobile platform architecture.
These bar graph representations of Google Play and Apple’s App store clearly show categories with the highest apps growth rate. Gaming apps continue to grow the most in the entertainment category while others like e-learning, travel, mobile commerce (business), etc., are catching up.
As apps become more prevalent in our day to day lives, we will see an increase in demand for mobile apps with richer functionality.
This will drive up the demand for faster, efficient and more secure smartphone computing.
To satisfy this demand, mobile platforms will have to evolve their architecture to support app features like HD video, digital –SLR imaging, high-fidelity audio, artificial intelligence (for more intuitive apps) so that apps deliver real-time effects.
New architectural approaches like Enterprise Mobile Service Computing (EMSC) and Enterprise Mobile Service Architecture (EMSA) give you a very good idea of where platforms are heading to provide user based solutions in the mobile world.
ESMC covers different mobile devices, such as Android, iPhone and iPad; while EMSA is all about platform architecture in terms of availability, scalability, security, reliability and performance.
Let us look at the app trends and what corresponding platform architecture evolution they are most likely to spark:
Consumers’ demands will play a pivotal role in shaping app performance, which will catalyze change in mobile platforms. So, next-generation mobile platforms will need an innovative architecture that can support high-performance apps to lift user experience to a whole new level. This will also encompass new devices like the Smartwatch (wearable smartphone).
Design Consideration of Mobile Platform Architecture
To meet the functional expectations of high-performance apps, platform architecture has to be transformed at a system level rather than the chip level.
Let’s discuss how apps will bring about a few important changes in mobile platforms:
- Faster, more complex apps with richer functionality will trigger the development of powerful multi-core CPUs and multi-core 2D/3D graphics accelerators. Future mobile computing architecture will have multi-processing capabilities for efficient and rapid management of voluminous flow of real-time data that apps will rely on, to deliver better user experience.
- Visual content is gaining more prominence and a new breed of smartphones is trying to take the place of digital cameras. This requires advanced algorithms to handle various aspects of image processing like high density pixel processing, gesture processing, H-Dynamic- range imaging (HDRI) and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) processing and Time-of-Flight (TOF). The multi-core architecture -based system would need to have powerful capacity for video acceleration, image recognition and processing.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) is slowly finding its way into smartphones due to recent advancements in integration of advanced and intuitive user interface in mobile platform architecture. Nonetheless,more work needs to be done especially in areas like fusion of sensor information across camera, sensor network and speech for seamless ennoblement of AI engine across the mobile platform architecture.
- Cloud connectivity, online video and image streaming services will increase and with more apps dependent on them, robust security mobile architecture will be required to facilitate secure sharing of multi-content.
- Mobile apps with richer UI and greater performance features will mean more consumption of power across the existent mobile platform architecture. So some serious efforts are needed to make mobile platforms more power efficient.
Though the above-mentioned criteria are critical for the success of future apps, the next generation mobile platform architecture will have to take into account required enhancements in the microprocessor, graphic unit processor and video accelerators; image, speech and vision processors, sensor units, navigation systems, high-end security and network processor interfaces.
With so many modules to take care of, I think it would be better to go in for greater integration of hardware and software so that this fine-mesh empowers the mobile platform to perform better in terms of performance, size, cost and power consumption. All of them are vital to the success of next-generation apps.
Though this is an indication of how the mobile platform architecture will evolve, changes in end-users’ app usage will define next-generation mobile platform architecture.
In the beginning, apps were taking advantage of capabilities available inside a mobile phone, but now applications are dictating the required capabilities of mobile platforms. This will see the rise of new mobile platforms, which will be able to host far superior apps than what we see now. So, it will not be wrong to say that mobile apps will now drive evolution in mobile platform architecture and give further boost to the app development industr