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2015: Will Simultaneous Apps On One Screen Take Off?

6th January 2015

As society readily embraced the mobile revolution, on-the-go users learned to accept that their tiny pocket-sized devices didn’t offer the same full functionality as their desktop computers did. It was simply the price one paid for having instant access to email, web searches, and games anywhere, anytime. Well, almost anywhere and anytime.

But now that mobile devices are serving as fully-functional workstations for so many workers, users demand more functionality, and manufacturers are stepping up to offer it. While the ability to display multiple apps simultaneously on a mobile screen isn’t yet mainstream, there is definitely precedent for it. The year 2015 just may be when this feature becomes mainstream.

Predecessors for Multiple Apps on Screen
The ability to display and use multiple apps on the screen of mobile devices at the same time isn’t entirely new.

In 2012, Samsung released the Galaxy Note 2, which was enormous for a smartphone at the time. With a massive (at the time) 5.5 inch screen, many reviewers speculated that the public might not accept such a large phone. However, the Galaxy Note 2 flew off of shelves, paving the way for the idea of phablets — large phones with more computer-like tablet size and functionality. One thing the Galaxy Note 2 introduced to the marketplace was the concept of the split screen, so that users could access and use more than one app at a time. The product marketed so well that Samsung has included the feature in many of their larger mobile devices since then.

The Acer Iconia Tab 8 also rolled off production lines with a split screen mode. While this tablet received mixed reviews (most critics cite the short battery life and less robust audio and video as cons of the product), it did serve to prove that split screen functionality wasn’t the sole property of high-end mobile devices. The LG G3 Android device and Microsoft Windows tablets also come with the ability to view multiple apps on screen.

Hints of Future Devices Capable of Displaying Multiple Apps on Screen

The trend toward using mobile devices for ordinary work, along with the growing size of phones and tablets, drives the movement toward using multiple apps simultaneously on screen.

According to tech reviewers of the latest mobile Apple operating system, iOS 8, there is indication in the code that Apple is also toying with the split screen idea. In fact, many reviewers believe that the much-speculated-about iPad Pro (expected to be released in August 2015 as a larger version of the iPad Air) will offer this functionality, likely on a gigantic display measuring just less than 13 inches. As popular as most any Apple mobile device manages to be, if Apple does roll out this functionality, Android and Blackberry users will demand it, as well.

Why 2015 May Be the Year for Multiple Apps on Screen

How is the stage uniquely set in 2015 for mass acceptance of the multi-app-on-screen functionality? First, people are doing more with their mobile devices. In fact, many people depend mainly on their smartphones and tablets during the day, hardly ever sitting in front of a desktop computer anymore. Mobile devices are fully robust machines on which users can do everything from writing and emailing work documents to online banking. The ability to work on multiple apps simultaneously will make their jobs immensely easier.

The second reason is the trend toward larger screens, which lend easier to the multi-app functionality. Smartphone screens are growing, as are tablet screens, and the innovation of the phablet proves that mobile users want bigger screens and more computer-like experiences from their mobile devices. These trends pave the way for full-scale acceptance of multi-app-on-screen functionality this year.


Squareball Studios (SBS), is a creative, design, and development agency of mobile applications and software systems. SBS has helped develop solutions for Fortune 500 companies and partnering with startups on initial ideas and seeing them succeed.

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