Paragon Software Group, a developer of multi-platform dictionary and reference applications for mobiles and computers, has identified the 12 most important mobile reference applications trends for 2013 based on sales and customer feedback for 2012.

1. In the mobile dictionary market, publishers are no longer competing with each other. Instead, everyone is competing against Google and other free translation sources.

2. Users prefer customizable dictionary content based on their language level, skills and needs.

3. The dictionary becomes a life-long investment for the user, with new content and feature updates delivered immediately to the device at no extra charge.

4. Dictionary apps are becoming more complex and multifaceted, with a single app increasingly presenting the content of multiple print editions with a special emphasis on grammar.

5. Multiplatform support is fundamental.

6. Users shopped more frequently from their mobile devices during 2012, and this trend will pick up next year. In particular, Paragon’s web-site got almost three times more Android visitors in 2012 than in 2011. The number of iPad visitors increased by 96%, while 25% fewer Windows users visited from their PCs during 2012.

7. Translation and reference tools will become integral to reading foreign literature. With the increase of electronic publishing and e-books, dictionary content can be integrated directly into other apps through licensing or APIs.

8. Interest in dialects and less common languages will increase. Collaboration with regional publishers and individual authors will bring additional languages and tools to the mobile dictionary market.

9. Interest in expert and specialized dictionary content is growing. Demand will increase for dictionaries tailored for specific jobs or occupations.

10. The system of purchasing content without the opportunity for a ‘test drive’ (as seen with the iTunes App Store) will gradually be replaced by themes that allow users to test all of the features and a subset of the content prior to purchase.

11. Together with Oxford University Press, Paragon Software has developed and implemented the Institutional Sales (IS) – a new way of delivering premium iOS content to educational institutions. The Oxford Learner’s Reference Library is a ‘shell’ app containing a range of Oxford learner’s dictionary apps. The ‘shell’ app is offered from iTunes free of charge and allows the school to purchase multiple copies of the dictionary apps on behalf of their students:

12. Business focus is shifting from pure development towards preparation, processing and adaptation of dictionary data. The developer is no longer a pure software developer but an expert in digital dictionary and grammar content in the electronic publishing business.