5G has arrived, and it’s spreading to every major market. In fact, 5G technology has been around for a while, but it has only recently that tech companies have started adopting it at full scale. As 5G devices have hit the market, the term has become something of a buzzword. And rightfully so; according to Trendforce, 2022 will see the number of 5G-enabled devices reach 660 million, representing 47.5% of all devices. But what makes this technology so revolutionary, and how will it impact the development of 5G apps?
Let’s discuss both.
To the uninitiated, all the hype surrounding 5G may seem overblown; it’s just the next step up from 4G, right? Wrong. 5G isn’t simply a modification or upgrade of 4G. Rather, it is an entirely new technology, built from the ground up. In fact, 5G offers a new network architecture that provides significantly improved performance for the user and will influence the development of 5G apps in the future. Not only will this performance revolutionize the way people communicate, it will also provide mobile app developers with new possibilities.
Here are some of its key features:
4G technology provides data speeds that can theoretically reach 300 Mbps. 5G, however, offers maximum theoretical connectivity speeds that reach over 10 gigabits per second. That means, even under ideal circumstances, 5G maxes out at more than 30 times faster than 4G. In the real world, 5G has the potential to reach 100 times faster than 4G.
5G utilizes Ultra-Reliable Low Latency Communication (URLLC), which allows it to deliver data in a millisecond—virtually instantly. For reference the average latency of 4G technology is approximately 50 milliseconds. This substantial improvement is an essential feature for those using telecommunications technology to make critical decisions.
4G technology allows 2,000 devices, within 1 square kilometer, to connect at once. While this seems like a large number, 5G overcomes this limitation on a massive scale: 5G allows for up to one million devices to be connected at the same time.
5G has the ability to handle this immense network load while allowing smooth communication between apps and hardware. This colossal increase to connection density will be of great benefit to the implementation of IoT in mobile apps.
5G technology has been designed to utilize all previous cellular band spectrums for better connectivity. That means mobile apps will work well on all bands, including:
This broad range of bands provides 5G with both coverage and capacity.
Essentially, 5G apps won’t be affected by a device’s hardware limitations. Specifically, thanks to 5G’s real-time connectivity, developers can integrate personalized user interactions backed up by cloud-based services.
What’s more, 5G is a significantly more reliable and battery-efficient network. This means devices are less likely to disconnect. Accordingly, this opens possibilities for “always-on” connectivity.
Until recently, 4G limitations in the areas of latency and bandwidth have prevented developers from fully incorporating immersive technologies into their mobile applications. However, thanks to 5G’s ability to overcome these boundaries, immersive technologies, like virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and 3D projection will now perform flawlessly.
5G apps utilize technology that delivers a deeper and more robust user experience by processing significantly more information at wildly faster speeds. This is a game-changer for mobile app developers, who can now offer 3D features that range across verticals: everything from immersive gaming, to digital shopping, 3D printing, and more.
Thanks to 5G’s improved latency, as well as its lighter load on hardware, developers can deliver a media-rich user experience. In fact, the technology has the power to revolutionize video streaming in general, as it supports high-res live streaming at a significantly higher speed than 4G.
A smoother viewing experience thanks to reduced latency and prolonged battery life means developers can include 4K videos in their apps to highlight products and services.
Today’s world is saturated with internet of things (IoT) devices. This is largely thanks to smart-devices like Alexa, Siri, and Google Home. 5G offers the opportunity for an even broader application of IoT by supporting the connectivity of wearables, smart-devices, and other sensor-based equipment.
The lower bandwidths of 5G are useful for IoT devices to perform optimally with less power usage. What’s more, developers can combine artificial intelligence and machine learning with the power of 5G to allow their apps to perform ambient computing, making them even smarter.
This opportunity allows for even smarter and more seamless user experiences as more connected devices are adopted by consumers.
The ability to scale a mobile app is of critical importance for its success. And 5G technology supports scalability. The lightning-speed of data transmissions means quicker and more efficient transfer of data to the cloud. This can only encourage the ongoing shift of infrastructure and storage to the cloud.
With this in mind, developers have already started to incorporate cloud accessibility, which further reduces app’s dependency on the hardware of any given device. This, coupled with 5G’s low latency and high performance, will grant users real-time access to their cloud data.
One of the key advantages for developers of 5G apps is the reduced load time. The improved connectivity of 5G will reduce load times and make apps more responsive over all. This will inevitably improve user experience by granting apps increased visual clarity and enhancing performance. In essence, developers can inject a lot more functionality into their 5G apps while also heightening UX.
A major concern wherever information technology is used is data privacy and security. But 5G has allowed data sharing to blast off at an unprecedented rate. This in turn increases the risk of data-breaches and the loss of personal information. In response to this, it is likely that regulations governing data will get stronger over time, forcing app developers to adapt.
Developers that keep data security in a high-speed, low-latency environment at the forefront of their process from the beginning are likely to weather the changes effectively. Keeping user privacy at the center of business will improve trust and brand loyalty in an easy and organic way.
5G has only just begun to be implemented. However, as its influence grows, developers will be empowered to tap into the full potential of the technology.
Ultimately, 5G will change the way mobile apps are developed. Developers will have the technological leverage to meet the ever changing demands of their users, now, and beyond 5G. Soon, they’ll be able to create 5G apps that work just as well on smartphones as they do on wearable and IoT devices.
For now, developers and users alike can enjoy lower energy costs, longer battery life, increased speed, and improved performance. Each of these enrich the user experience and lead to better retention rates and higher app revenues.