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The Era Of Mobile Applications!

Author – Shruti Patekar, Anushree Capoor and Prayank Khandelwal

Almost every human activity, right from waking up to an alarm on our smart phones to monitoring our health online, is influenced by the progress of mobile technology which has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. The availability and access to high speed internet and the remarkable growth in mobile computing interface have unlocked the next level of user interface experience. This growth has fueled a change in consumer preferences, which has shifted from browsing websites to browsing applications on their phones due a better user interface and convenience.  In addition, the app developers and app developing companies tend to keep up with the demands and internet technology round the clock, ensuring effective deliverable services.

Due to this, there has been a recent increase in the growth of new app developers and app development companies. This is a result of two key factors – Users loving the convenience of apps and the availability of mobile phones 24/7. Hence, the launch of the most famous applications like Skype, Telegram, Wechat, Facetime, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger was a big success.  These applications make long distance communication quicker and easier. These apps have not only transformed the socialising trend and have evolved over the years, but are still holding their respective positions in the industry with new software updates almost every month. Mobile applications are thus being developed rapidly due to its wide application in areas such as communication, education, cooking, social media, shopping, business (money making), matrimony, banking, etc.

Figure 1: Top 10 patent owners of Mobile Applications

Companies like Alphabet Inc, IBM, Ericsson, top the list of companies with highest patents with 540, 424, 416 patents in mobile applications respectively (Refer fig. 1). Patents like ‘Optimizing user interface data caching for future actions, ‘On-device machine learning platform to enable sharing of machine-learned models between applications’ have been launched by Alphabet Inc in 2020, highlighting advancements in mobile applications till date. Health care-oriented inventions like ‘Continuous Health Care Plan Coordination Between Patient and Patient Care Team’ and patents like ‘Install-time security analysis of mobile applications’ filed in April, 2020 under mobile security industry by IBM evidence the continuous innovation and progress in every sector of the industry.

Today, mobile applications hold solutions to every human problem ranging from a cooking recipe to holding business meetings online. The governments of several countries have also untapped the potential of mobile applications in the COVID-19 pandemic. Several applications for e.g. TraceTogether, CovidWatch, HaMagen, The Corona DataSpende, Aarogya Setu, etc. have helped countries to manage the health-oriented data from the public. These applications have been launched under public interest by the government to keep the citizens well informed about the pandemic. This also helps the government, to plan the requirement of resources and hence can function together with the citizens in such dire times. This clearly signifies how mobile applications can be put to work in any crisis. Mobile applications have proved to be beneficial to commercial industries as well during the pandemic. As business markets moved online, mobile applications came to the rescue of various businesses. Several new online platforms for ordering food/ groceries, shopping, carrying out banking transactions, video conferencing, etc. evolved in this period. Applications focusing on educating students and e-learning also evolved at an extraordinary rate establishing the need of mobile applications in this era.

Figure 2: Legal Status of inventions in Mobile Applications

The usage of applications across all age groups established how human lifestyle is interlinked with mobile applications constantly. Hence, in spite of 2,931 patents having expired in mobile applications, the number of active granted patents is at a record high of 1,16,31. This is a fine result of continuous innovation (Refer fig 2). Additionally, 7,312 new innovations have been filed in mobile applications and are pending grant.  Specifically, patents like ‘Providing caller ID within a mobile telecommunications network’, ‘Method for storing and forwarding short messages to mobile subscribers in a cellular communications system’, ‘Providing mobile application services with download of speaker independent voice model’, etc tend to appear in the expired patent lists and inventions like ‘Mobile web protection’; ‘Electronic offer optimization and redemption apparatuses, methods and systems’, ‘Systems and methods for facilitating remote authorization and payment of goods via mobile commerce’, etc. tend to appear in the Applied list of patents highlighting the evolution of the mobile application technology.

Figure 3: Patent analysis of Mobile Applications from last 10 years

The above figure describes the number of patent applications filed in software mobile applications showcasing that mobile apps are still hugely popular and will continue to be in the near future. The presence of 23 applications in the year 2020 itself proves that the year has a lot more innovations in store. The promising future in the development of mobile applications is holding everybody’s interests, from start-ups to well-known industrialists who are looking at ways to tap the innovation potential of mobile technology.

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