Juniper Research predicts that increasing contextual awareness in mobile apps -- as seen in digital assistants such as "Google Now" -- will transform the process of app discovery and thereby limit future use of the cluttered app tray.
In addition, Google recently opened its deep linking API to allow apps to be indexed in a similar way to web pages, further accelerating the movement towards the Android platform.
According to the latest market study findings by Juniper Research, they now forecast that the number of smartphone and tablet apps in use, that leverage contextual or location data on devices, will near 7.5 billion by 2019 -- that's up from 2.8 billion in 2014.
In total, Juniper expects the smartphone and tablet Mobile Location-Based Services (MLBS) market to be worth $43.3 billion in 2019. The ad-supported model will dominate the combined smartphone and tablet user base; in contrast, the pay-to-download model will experience a sharp decline across the forecast period.
Their research has highlighted the availability of comprehensive app-based digital maps, at little or no cost to the consumer, as a key driver.
It also noted that context-awareness is now considered to be key among mobile application developers in delivering a relevant user experience.
"Context awareness signals a paradigm shift in the definition of what search means on mobile," said Steffen Sorrell, research analyst at Juniper Research.
Juniper believes that combined with deep linking, this shift will transform the manner by which we discover and access software apps -- the days of flicking through the app tray are therefore numbered.
Upside for Smartphone vs Tablet Applications
According to the global market study findings, the use of location and context-driven apps on smartphones will far exceed the usage on media tablets.
Cellular network use on tablets is not common, which restricts the ability of these devices to take advantage of hyper-local positioning, unless they're connected to public Wi-Fi hotspot services.
Nonetheless, tablets represent a proportionally higher per-app revenue stream relative to smartphones, with typically higher in-app spends and greater advertising revenue per session.
Other key findings from the market study include:
- Privacy concerns still remain among users, with location preferred to be shared via apps on an instantaneous, rather than continuous basis.
- Ad-supported apps will account for 71 percent of the total location and context-based service revenue.