How Will Apps Have to Change For 5G?

21 June 2019, 3:32 pm EDT By Ivan Serrano Mobile & Apps
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  ( Mohamed Hassan )

The newest generation of mobile data connection, termed simply as fifth generation or "5G" has already been announced to roll out soon across multiple networks. As Gizmodo notes, 5G will build on its predecessor 4G LTE to offer faster, more stable connections to mobile devices as well as any other device enabled to use the protocol. 5G is another great leap in wireless technology and one that is likely to make a significant impact on how developers and users think about apps.

The Benefits to Apps from 5G Connections

The obvious benefit of having a 5G connection is stability and speed. 5G will likely offer lower latency than 4G LTE as well, according to Digital Trends. Applications that need a constant data connection stand to benefit, but they're not the only ones. Devices that are capable of streaming data with low latency and high transfer rates are what Google had in mind when they designed Stadia.

In addition to these already significant upgrades, 5G will offer a better connection to the cloud, and might even reduce or remove the need for an external data storage solution like a micro SD card. The casual access to the cloud provides an essential framework for developers to design applications that utilize the upgraded speed and stability. With the right environment, developers can even code apps directly onto IoT devices that connect through 5G, offering an even broader developmental scope than what currently exists.

Critical App Development

Instant transfer of data means that developers can send out data that may be collected by their recipients immediately. The quick movement of messages can have a profound impact on all sorts of mobile applications ranging from security to bank account management. Using fast streaming data means that games can be processed on a remote location and then streamed to the phone as output, with input being sent back to the remote site for processing. The potential for use in both entertainment and practical applications is immense.

5G's Impact on the Developer

Luckily for the code-monkeys, there won't be a whole lot of extra effort need to be put into app development or upgrade to utilize 5G connections. For any web development company, integrating new technologies can be a bit of a hassle, especially if the technology brings core functionality. Google noted that Android Q is likely to have 5G access baked into its architecture, only requiring developers to query the state and turn it on if necessary, to establish a data connection.

The potential that 5G offers to app developers is the amount of data that can the user can transfer and the speed with which that information comes to the device. The entertainment field could quickly expand into AR/VR and have streaming assets delivered to devices to aid with the experience with no jarring loading times to break the user's immersion. Similarly, an app can send queries to a database to be processed even faster, making real-time applications like Uber and Lyft function so much better. Applications like Facebook and Instagram are likely to load faster and provide a more seamless user experience thanks to increased speeds.

User Benefits from 5G

The obvious benefit to having 5G on a mobile handset is the improved user experience. No more lagging, or loading screens, or force-quitting of applications to reacquire a connection. Even low-connection areas may deliver surprisingly fast data transfer, despite the reception being of the worst quality. Any software that connects to a server will automatically have more improved functionality, including things like video chat and VOIP services. Developers can even include entire theme updates to be loaded from the cloud in real-time, making the actual app data stored on the device lower.

The Future is Now

With 5G already announced, it's only a matter of time before more apps start catering for the enhanced connection speeds. CNET mentions that a lot of device manufacturers are already releasing handsets that can use 5G connectivity. As time goes by and the connection technology becomes ubiquitous, 5G will likely become an expected functionality with each new phone. Applications will depend on the speed and stability and will deliver better user experiences because of it. 

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