In the past with Western cultures, most people first got online via computers, then via laptops, and now smartphones and tablets. However, with the countries like India, they’re jumping straight into getting online using smartphones and tablets.

The cost of powering a whole PC, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and the cost of the line to get connected to the internet could be detrimental to a families income in these countries. However, smartphones and tablets have all you ever need in one device. You only need to charge one device so it’s a no-brainer decision.

It’s these people coming online mainly via smartphones are who are considered the next billion users.

High speed internet is coming to all reaches around the world. Countries like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Nigeria are getting massive infrastructure overhauls which, at the moment for certain cities in the UK and US, have even faster speeds than western countries.

With the introduction of 5G internet becoming imminent, these users are in the best position to get the most of the new next level tech.

So What Does This Mean For App Developers?

With a brand new audience, it will give app developers a chance to serve a whole new set of needs and problems to solve. Granted, it may also open the flood gates to new competition in the already crowded app stores, but competition is good sometimes as it validates a market.

These new users will also have a new lot of restrictions of their usage. They may be more concerned with battery life and storage so performance and optimisation of your app will have to be a big focus for you when developing if it’s not already.

How Does This Affect Your Apps?

For your current apps, if you want to target these new audiences, you may need to do more than perform a localisation update on the text. Research into whether your UI or UX of the app needs to change in order to appeal to or even make sense to these new cultures will be an essential activity.

Learning the problems associated with these new audiences should be your priority to ensure you serve them to the best of your ability.

Companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter have already rolled out versions of their most popular apps in order to serve these new users. These “lite” apps boast taking up less storage on devices, giving the best features of the “full”app and working on even 2G networks.

Should Your Apps Scale To Support These Users And Their Devices?

The decision of whether to roll out separate apps to these new audiences or update your current one will be a decision you have to think about per project. Whether it’s worth it for you financially in terms of the return on investment, the value that you’ll provide, or the complexity and time of maintaining different apps long term.

What Are Your Next Steps?

The next billion users are here. When designing your apps, if you allow the app to be downloaded in all countries, be considerate of the limitations that these new users may have.

Always have in the back of your mind when designing or developing to make your app accessible to as many people around the world as possible.

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