Coming up with a million-dollar mobile app idea could be really hard. What if there were 12 techniques that could help you generate new app ideas?
It would be cool, right?
Today, we’ll show you 12 ways how you can generate new mobile app ideas. Additionally, we’ll give you 49+ mobile app ideas, that you can take and start development, right away.
Let’s get started.
12 Ways to Come Up with New Mobile App Ideas
1. Start by solving your problems
Start coming up with app ideas by identifying the frustrations that you have with the current way of doing things.
Look at these problems. Research and try to find apps that solve your actual or similar problems. In case you find such apps, try them out and see whether it solves your current frustrations, or not.
Can’t find it? That might be a great start then. It is possible that others have similar frustrations, which gives you a potential market.
This is a common approach to creating new apps and businesses in general. It works well because it encourages you to look at things in simple terms. It’s much easier to fix a basic problem than to come up with a complex and completely new idea. And if you understand the problem yourself, then you’re in a good position to fix it.
Canvsly’s Android and iOS apps are a great example of this technique. The app was created by Amit Murumkar. He realized that there wasn’t enough space on his refrigerator for all of his child’s artwork. Some of it had to be removed over time to make space for new paintings and drawings. But he didn’t have a good way to save the old artwork.
He also felt sad that his own artwork was never saved. Then he thought about all the other parents that must have a similar issue. He found a problem he was having, realized that other people had the same problem and created a solution. You can read the full Canvsly story here.
The key to this technique is to be aware of pain-points in your life or the lives of your friends and family. If you or someone you know encounters the same issue on a regular basis with no solution in sight, then you can be the one to fix it.
2. Make an affordable or a free version of a popular application
You might notice that popular paid mobile apps are followed by free alternatives.
Similar applications that target the same audience by offering very similar value for free or at an affordable price.
You can use a freemium business model for your free alternative of the popular paid mobile app. Firstly, focus on satisfying basic needs with your free alternative. After that, you can try to upsell the users with pro-features.
Have a close look at how some of the successful Android and iOS app companies use the freemium business model.
To give a clear example, you might know about Spotify. Which is a digital music, video streaming, and a podcast app that gives its users access to millions of songs. It’s basics functions such as playing music are totally free. But, in order to get its pro functions, you should upgrade to Spotify Premium.
3. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel – Improve an existing Mobile App Idea.
Sometimes mobile applications come into our lives and seem to fix a problem we all have. But what if it doesn’t provide a complete solution or you can see a way to make it better?
Then it might be time to improve an existing idea by building upon it. Your mobile app idea doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Take a look what some of the big players in your industry are missing out. Try to figure out how you can fill the gaps.
Start by analyzing their products and try to identify what they do well and what they don’t. Combine the discovered insights into the application development. Try to make the app stand out with a modern design that follows the latest best practices.
Many developers have gained positive results with this technique over the last few years. Whether it’s taking an app and giving it a better UI, or creating a lite version of an essential app, developers always seem to find a way to improve things. And you don’t need to confine yourself to the technological world either. Even traditional businesses are now being improved by app developers.
Uber is a great example of this. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp took a simple idea like the taxi and improved the service for end-users with their mobile app. And now own a company worth over $60 billion. Their success speaks for itself at this point. They didn’t have to invent anything new or convince people to do something they hadn’t done before. They provided people with a more streamlined service that gets them from A to B.
Improving an existing idea is difficult but it has its advantages. A major advantage of this technique is that it’s easy for people to adopt. If you can explain your app by saying “It’s XYZ, but better!”, users will have an immediate picture of what your application can do. And once users see that you’ve improved an idea in a genuine way, it’s hard for them to go back to doing things the old way.
4. Find an industry that lacks recent innovations
When trying to come up with the mobile application ideas, try to identify industries that are popular but lack recent innovations.
Augment applied that concept well for their business by creating an augmented reality app for real-estate salespeople.
The application helps them better present and sell their building projects. That could be a great substitution of the boring brochures.
You can apply a similar mobile app idea for different industries and fields.
You can create similar augmented reality apps for Android and iPhone at the same time in Felgo’s cross-platform development tool.
5. Identify innovative mobile application trends
Try to predict the upcoming future. Successful mobile applications are created by innovators who don’t stick with the old technologies or method. They try to identify trends that will be successful in the future.
Moreover, you can have a look at Product Hunt. Where you can discover the latest mobile apps, websites, technology products and trending industries.
If you’re good at noticing trends or predicting what’s going to be popular in a few months, then conducting user research is a great way to find inspirations.
6. Conduct user research – talk to your potential users
Try to come up with an app development idea based on your target user’s needs. Start doing it by conducting early user research.
There’s no better way than interviewing your target potential users.
Try to find out:
- How do they solve the problems that you are trying to solve with your app idea?
- What kind of applications do they use to solve those problems?
- For what kind of needs do they use that app?
- What do they like and don’t like about it?
- What are they missing, in the app?
Answers to these questions will give you good ideas, about your potential competitors, about the actual needs of the targeted users, and the way how you should shape the development of the minimum viable product (MVP).
Here is a good example of how Brian Wong came up with Kiip, an in-app mobile advertising platform that uses moments to create meaningful customer interactions and generate highly targeted, custom audiences.
He analyzed potential users behaviors in the most basic way possible.
While traveling onboard a plane, he checked the device screens of other passengers to see what they were doing. He noticed that everyone was using their devices to play mobile games. All the passengers were highly engaged, but Wong noticed that on-screen ads were of little value to users.
He decided that mobile gamers should be able to earn real-life rewards for their engagement
and so Kiip was born.
Wong’s user analysis focused on a small cross-section of mobile users but he was able to identify a trend nonetheless. Your own user research could be as simple as asking 5 friends what they use their phone for most or a poll on your favorite social media site. The important thing is to gather solid information from reliable sources.
What’s more, try to build up an email list of the potential users. You can start experimenting with one of these email campaigns.
Building up email list will help you to:
- Nurture leads
- Stay in touch with the potential users
- Build up awareness of the upcoming mobile application
- Find beta-testers of the app
All this will help you to get the product market fit before launching the product itself.
7. Make people’s lives easier and faster
Try to understand people’s repetitive process and create a solution that would facilitate or faster their process.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford
Coming up with the mobile application idea doesn’t mean that you have to focus on inventing a new product or service.
In fact, focus on identifying what solutions people use for solving certain repetitive processes. Observe and learn more about those processes. Try to identify what solutions do they use for the complete process. Think about what they lack in those solutions and how you can improve them.
8. Copy others’ ideas and localize for your market
Why not localizing globally successful mobile application? There is nothing wrong with that.
You can get awesome mobile app ideas by looking at popular international applications. Study them and tailor it to your market if that would make sense.
For example, you can create something similar for the local audience like meditation or training apps.
Don’t clone exactly, but take the good aspects from those applications and tailor them your market.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, try to think about how you can improve the existing wheel.
9. Gain more experience and that will help you connect dots
The more you do and the more experience you gain, the more capability you have to come up with new ideas by connecting dots from your past experiences.
Leonardo da Vinci’s greatest breakthroughs came from connecting the unconnected. In particular, the insights gained by bringing different perspectives together. He defined the innovation as connecting the unconnected.
Bill Gates read books on different subjects. He believes in the power of finding useful things by chance to come up with the new ideas.
In a speech from 2005 Steve Jobs captured the spirit of the innovation in three sentences:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”
10. Brainstorm like a Pro!
Brainstorming has a bad reputation in certain circles because when done incorrectly, it can be a big waste of time. Get it right though, and you’ll surprise even yourself with the ideas you can come up with. Here are a few quick tips to improve your brainstorming session!
Use a Visual Prompt
When brainstorming, it’s a good idea to keep a certain topic in mind. This helps you to create ideas within a certain context. A visual prompt is an effective way to frame the context you’re trying to work in. Even having a photo of an object can be a useful anchor for your ideas.
Think of the Worst Ideas Possible
This technique may seem novel at first, but there’s a clear method to this approach. You start off by trying to think of the worst ideas imaginable. Write them all down and then you need to try and turn these terrible ideas into good ideas. It’s a basic approach, and you may not always turn the bad ideas into good ones. But if you come up with one good idea then you’ll have had a productive brainstorming session.
Challenge Your Assumptions
One of the problems we all face when coming up with ideas is that we work within our own set of assumptions. You can only begin to think outside the box when you challenge these assumptions to head on.
To start off with, think about the kind of app you want to make. Then ask yourself, why you want to make this type of app, why will it be successful, and why you’re the person to make it. This type of brainstorming helps you to scrutinize potential ideas. It helps you discover stumbling blocks before you encounter them in real life. By imagining these stumbling blocks, you consider ways to overcome them or avoid them completely.
11. Keep a Notebook
Got a mobile app idea? Write them down.
Notebooks are a great tool for organizing ideas but it’s also been shown that writing down ideas helps you to remember them better as well.
If you’re the type of person that has 100 ideas a day, keeping track of everything in your head can be difficult. How to make an app when you consider that you’ll need to prioritize these ideas at some point, it becomes obvious that keeping a notebook is your best option.
Many of history’s great thinkers and inventors kept notebooks with them. The most famous was Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci’s notebooks are as artwork themselves. They contain designs for futuristic machinery, mathematical equations and his personal thoughts.
It’s clear that there was a way for Da Vinci to keep track of his ideas. If it worked for one of the greatest geniuses of all time, then it might help you come up with an app idea as well.
12. Take breaks
Taking breaks might sound weird but the stories of people coming up with brilliant ideas in the shower or while they are walking are true.
That has a neuroscience-based explanation as well. When you slow down from awakeness mode that time the brain moves to its most creative mode, on Theta state in other words you’re starting to daydream. In the Theta state, the brain often thinks up ideas when you’re not forcing it to.
Our personal tip for slowing down is to take 10 minutes break or use the 4-7-8 breathing technique. After your mind slows down, ask yourself questions that help you to come up with the solutions.
49+ Android & iPhone App Ideas for 2020
Here are 49 cool Android and iPhone app ideas, that you can take and start development in 2020. Some of these ideas are easy to implement even for beginners. As a starting point, you can use one of the open-source Felgo app examples.
Would you like to take your mobile app to the next level? Or outsource its development? Get a free quote and talk to Felgo’s team.
Budget grocery app, that suggests a shopping list from the available budget. For the recommendation, the app will use your location, budget, time of the year/month/week, and the history of the previous purchases.
It might also recommend you the store where to do the shopping in your neighborhood.
The app could use innovative machine learning technology, that will use your current input and purchases history for improving the tailored experience.
Social networking app for single parents. The main concept is similar to the dating app but it’s not intended to be a dating app. The main idea is to help single parents to find other single parents with similar interests, to share tips and thoughts.
The mobile app will match single parents based on the information they provide about themselves (age of the kids, interests, location, etc.).
Parents match with each other with the same sex, mums with mums and dads with dads.
An app that helps you find medical professionals for the first aid in known or unknown cities. The app will include their address and contact information. You can contact them for first aid if needed.
Android and iOS app that automates social media engagement in Instagram. The idea is that the app can help you grow your Instagram number of followers and engagement on your accounts.
With the app, you can automatically follow, like, comment, DM, and engage with the people based on your account’s interests.
You can do segmentation with hashtags, and competitors account that you will input. The application will also follow Instagram’s daily limitations not to be shut down.
Facilitate illustration of the complex material of the school classes like Chemistry, Biology. By using the power of augmented reality in the Android and iOS apps.
You can simply develop augmented reality apps using Felgo, a cross-platform app development framework.
Create your app for Android and iOS with the same source code and tools.
Augment app that enables you to present your 3D models everywhere wherever you wish.
This app will allow you to import your 3D models into your iOS and Android mobiles, and illustrate them wherever you wish.
The idea could be used well for business project presentation and in many other ways.
A mobile food ordering app that enables customers to place their order in advance, and sees possible making time.
Once they arrive at the actual restaurant, the order will be ready, so they won’t have to wait until the food is ready.
The mobile app idea might sound simple. However, we’ve not experienced this service from any restaurants so far, would be great though.
Feel free to develop and experiment this idea. You can simply develop the application template using the free cross-platform development tool. Where you can make your app for Android and iOS at the same time. After that, you can tailor the app to different restaurants’ needs.
It might be a million dollar app idea. It has a huge market for applying recent innovation to the catering service industry.
An app that can help you get the information about the actor. In case you are watching a movie and can’t remember the actor’s name. You can simply take a picture of the actor and the app will give you info about that person. The app will be very similar to Shazam, popular Android & iOS app that recognize the music.
The main idea of the Shazam app, “identification” could be applied to many other fields and things, for example for movies, TV shows, perfumes, etc.
An app that let you put items into your shopping list and then tells you if the product is available at your local store. If not, it will let you know at which closest destination, you can access to it.
A mobile app that will give you suggestion to remove unused apps from your mobile.
An app that notifies you road’s speed limit while you are driving, so you won’t get a fine.
The mobile app that helps you find free and paid parking spots at your location. The app could be using GPS, webcams, location, parking data in real-time, to find free and paid parking space nearby.
You sometimes forget to remember where have you put the mobile? A voice-activated app will help you with that. It’ll make a sound when you say a code word.
The mobile app that helps you socialize when you feel disconnected. It can help you find people with similar interests in your area who feel disconnected as well. You can choose topics of your interest (e.g. cinema, walk, watch a movie, having a beer, etc.). Then swipe and find people in your area. The process of finding people could be the similar way like Tinder app.
A restaurant reservation application that will allow you to see exactly which tables are available when.
A matching service for people looking to maximize spending on a rewards credit card with people who need to make a purchase
An Android and iOS app that lets you rate your day and look for patterns that affect your mood. You would be able to add and evaluate activities, locations, events, that took place during the day. The idea is that the app will analyze your past activities and will look for patterns. Based on that, it will give you suggestions to improve your mood.
You can develop an Android and iOS app at the same time using Felgo (cross-platform app development tool).
A house party app that will show you if anyone in your neighborhood organizes house party and what would be the requirements.
A networking mobile application. That connects you with people nearby to grab a coffee or beer. You can find people with similar interests. It will also show you if they are currently available or not. Based on that you can send the invitation messages.
A grocery app that tracks expiration dates of the food in your fridge.
A travel suggestion app. That will give you suggestions places to visit, foods to taste, restaurants to visit, activities to do in a particular location. Data would be pulled out from Tripadvisor and reliable sources, where people share their experiences.
A mobile travel app where you will state lists of interests that you have. Based on that it will show you places which you shouldn’t visit, foods which you shouldn’t try since you might be allergic, etc.
Feel free to develop this travel app idea by combining other relevant features that could be helpful for the traveler.
A digital receipt app that will collect all the transactions that you make into the app. It will reduce the overuse of the paper and will make it easier to track the cost and keep receipts.
A mall navigation app that will have the map of the mall. This awesome app idea can increase customer experience in the big mall. It will make easier to find the desirable stores, toilets or canteens, etc. in the shopping mall.
Supermarket checkout app that automatically scans the products on your mobile app while shopping. After shopping the mobile app also makes the transaction via integrated e-payment.
Get inspired with this innovative app idea from Amazon. You can simply develop this app idea and tailor the concept to the other markets.
Here is a demo version of the Amazon go, the world’s first checkout mobile application.
A virtual interior designer app, that allows you to take a picture of the place and design virtually. It will also enable you to see in augmented reality how certain things would fit a place.
That could be a great idea if some of the furniture stores build up similar Android and iOS apps and give their customer that experience.
A subscription app, that will keep track of all of your subscriptions. It will alert you when the payment date arrives.
An innovative social app idea that will scan your friends’ lists from linked social networks and suggests the best match based on similar activities and interests.
A social language exchange app. You state in the app languages that you would like to practice. In your neighborhood, it will match you with the people who might be interested in language practice.
A mobile social eating app. In case you are in known or unknown location and willing to eat something and socialize at the same time. Why not try to look for someone with similar interests?
The idea is that the app will enable you to find people nearby who are active. You can send the invitations, once they accept, you can roll and hang out together.
A business taxi application that will facilitate your cash flow. The idea is that the taxi driver will be able to track the income, expenses, business supplies and tax transactions, all in one place.
A social business networking app, for finding team members for specific projects. People from different fields (copywriters, marketers, designers, developers, etc.). Creating a networking marketplace for them. That helps them find each other and make money with joint forces.
A mobile app like uber for trucks. For people who want to carry large appliances from one destination to another.
A social anonymous messaging app that allows users to send messages with each other anonymously. It matches users within the location.
The trick could be here that, the users know that the one with whom he is chatting with, might be located in his neighborhood.
The school project mobile app, that will enable students to find group members for specific projects.
Creating a marketplace for students for selling used School’s physical books. In the mobile application, users can post their offers and what they look for. They can sell, lend and borrow used physical books. That would save their budget from purchasing the actual physical book.
Tax invoicing business app that will make entrepreneurs life easier. The app will calculate taxes that should be paid based on the user’s income. It also might have an integrated feature for generating invoices
Tour and travel planner mobile app. It’ll show all the famous touristic spots, restaurants, local foods, entertainment things to do in a specific location.
Smart cook app idea could be the one the best app ideas to start working with. The idea is that you input the ingredients you have at your place. And the mobile app will give you a list of recipes and suggestions for cooking food, using just the available resources. The app could help you to come up with some great cooking ideas that you haven’t done before.
A business app, that will be covering different business topics. Users can find all the relevant information in one place. The business topic itself is too broad, so the idea is to create a generic informative app, that links to all relevant authority topics.
A mobile grocery app that will work similar way like Uber. In case you are busy and don’t have time to do the grocery. In the app, you can find someone in your neighborhood, who can help you with that for some service fee.
Social startup app idea that will help restaurants reduce their excess food waste through the donation to charity homes.
The idea is to create a website/Android/iPhone app that will establish the link between these points.
Collective shopping app. In most cases buying a product in one unit is more expensive than buying at bulk. It also happens that many websites offer free delivery after exceeding a certain amount.
The idea is to create a mobile app, where users can find people in the same area, who might be interested to buy certain products from the same supplier. With group orders, they might reach significant savings.
A smartphone app that notifies you nearby deals on the mobile. You’ll get a notification when someone based on your interest, offering some special deals, e.g. 50%. The deals could be related to traveling, fitness, food, etc..
Grocery budget planner app. This startup app idea is for helping people who do grocery on regular basis. But they don’t have an understanding of how much they actually consume and spend on groceries. The app will allow users to feed data about their purchases daily/weekly/monthly. Then the system would give them analytics that would help them in future budget allocation.
Create a mobile app for food lovers that offers exclusive recipes and promotional deals from the restaurants.
Move to another level, health, fitness and calorie counting apps. Create an app that tracks the body weight and based on that gives suggestions on calorie intake for achieving desirable body shape. You could include an exercise log in the app as well.
Create localized mobile church app. Where you enable members to take sermon notes, check the prayer list, listen to messages on the go, access small group material, engage with the real-time church news feed, give a donation, and much more. In the app, you can include calendar, sermons, etc. You can get inspired by this example.
Start Mobile App Development
Hopefully, you got a good idea of how to approach the idea generation process itself from the first part of the article.
Now it’s your turn to start mobile app development.
You can take one of the 49+ app ideas and start development using a cross-platform app development tool. Where you can make your mobile app for Android and iOS at the same time.
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