What does 5G mean for app development?

In December 2020, we asked the Intuit® Developer community what they saw as the biggest tech advancements of 2020. The majority of respondents voted for 5G over the adoption of AI, serverless computing, and distributed cloud. This makes sense, considering 5G technology is already impacting developers and how they approach app development.

5G and app development

Cellular technologies have been evolving for years. In 1979, 1G, an analog cellular system, was launched. It was upgraded to 2G in 1991, which introduced digital voice calls, and allowed users to send text messages and send/receive emails. A few years later in 1998, 3G brought faster connectivity speeds, and the ability to access the web, send pictures, and make video calls. By 2008 (some say 2009), 4G brought download speeds that opened the doors to videoconferencing, gaming, video streaming, IoT technology, and more.

In 2019, 5G was introduced. Not considered an upgrade, 5G was seen as an entirely different network infrastructure.

Qualcomm, a technology company that seeks to transform how the world connects, computes, and communicates, writes, “While 4G LTE focused on delivering much faster mobile broadband services than 3G, 5G is designed to be a unified, more capable platform that not only elevates mobile broadband experiences, but also supports new services such as mission-critical communications and the massive IoT. 5G can also natively support all spectrum types (licensed, shared, unlicensed) and bands (low, mid, high), a wide range of deployment models (from traditional macro-cells to hotspots), and new ways to interconnect (such as device-to-device and multi-hop mesh).”

For developers, adjusting for, and taking advantage of, 5G technology during the app development process is already becoming a necessity. Businesses in every industry, including gaming, health, education, manufacturing, law enforcement, and construction, as well as individual users are anticipating 5G-enabled apps.

5G provides:

  • Increased data transfer speeds.
  • More connected devices.
  • Lower latency and reduced delays.
  • Increased bandwidth.
  • Improved location tracking.
  • Improved user interface.

To put this all into perspective, CTIA, which represents the U.S. wireless communications industry and companies throughout the mobile ecosystem, says in The 5G Economy that 5G is 100x faster than 4G (downloading a movie with 4G took about six minutes and about 15 seconds with 5G), 5G will be able to connect up to 100x more devices, and 5G is 5x more responsive than 4G.

As customers fully understand what 5G can do, they will begin expecting their applications to be faster and better because of it. Meeting these heightened expectations will require app developers to use 5G during the app development process. When they do, the result will be faster connection times, huge amounts of data in real time, higher-resolution videos, and an overall better experience. The boost in app responsiveness and performance, alone, will increase business productivity and customer satisfaction immensely.

“That’s the power of 5G,” notes CTIA. “It will touch every facet of our lives, enabling us to be safer, think smarter, and react quicker.”

Elevating the art of problem solving with 5G

While 4G isn’t gone, 5G is here and 6G is waiting in the wings. The developers who are thinking about incorporating the new technology into their app development processes are taking the right steps to ensuring long-term success.

Intuit is also committed to ensuring our developers’ long-term success. To help the Intuit Developer community publish their apps to our app store, we’ve updated the Developer Portal and the app review process. Developers will now be able to identify where their app is in the review workflow without looking for an email or having to file a support ticket.

Solving problems and making life easier for our community is our mission, just as it is the mission of developers to solve problems and make life easier for their customers. We look forward to seeing how developers elevate the art of problem solving by using 5G networks.