The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in the time people spent on their phones. From the transition to stay-at-home work to losing their jobs completely, people needed something to fill their extra time with. Advancements in technology updates to apps, and new phone models being released kept people engaged with their mobile devices. As a result, newer technology for mobile apps was explored more. Differing trends rose in the areas of Artificial Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) apps.

Billions of dollars are spent on app development and purchasing a year with it expecting to increase even more by 2022. AR and VR apps have branched out to be a part of that number since they incorporate unique features which amplify user experiences.

Trends in AR Apps

AR functionality has been incorporated into many different kinds of apps. Some of those are navigation, decorating, gaming, and shopping apps. Shopping apps use AR to scan barcodes, QR codes, and take pictures of products to search the app’s system, unlock rewards and information, or look up prices and availability. Gaming apps such as Pokémon Go combine digital design with reality via a phone’s camera to allow users to interact with virtual characters, complete quests, and more. Decorating apps have significantly benefited from AR integration due to their ability to help users correctly visualize how furniture and paint colors would look in a room before having to buy the products. AR works with navigation apps to bring real-time updates of speed limits, directions, addresses, and more to users’ phones while they’re on the go.

Trends in VR Apps

The biggest trend in VR apps has come from the education market. Teachers and schools have tried implementing technology-based learning systems to keep students engaged. Another top trend was in the IT market. They have adopted a VR and AR system to help automate their tasks while giving them access to all the information they could need. Even the real estate market has experienced a trend in regard to VR functionality. It used virtual reality to present users with 2D and 3D models of properties. Furthermore, AR was incorporated along with it to combine real pictures with a 360-degree view as well as virtual tours.

Final Thoughts

Mobile app use itself has skyrocketed in the past year thanks to the pandemic. Most apps now have some sort of VR or AR capabilities. The most common implementation of either feature comes with gaming, social media, and education-based apps. QR codes, which have been around for several years, are still included in many apps. They are often associated with rewards, important information, or sharing things on social media. A large portion of users also takes advantage of the AR scanning features on shopping apps that help them locate products at other stores or order them online. iOS devices have the biggest number of AR and VR apps, though more are making their way to Android devices. Nearly every industry includes the implementation of AR or VR and it’s only expected to increase as technology continues to advance.