What innovations are shaping the Post PC era ?
1.2 billion Smartphones sold worldwide in 2016
IDATE publishes its new report "Next Generation Mobile Devices". This study provides an overview of the next generation of mobile devices market, analysing technological evolutions and their associated uses, as well as their impact on the platform-based economy. It delivers innovation case studies, mobile device market data (in volume and value) for mobile handsets and tablets, along with an analysis of carriers' and manufacturers' strategies and challenges.
"Smartphones have radically changed the mobile industry and helped our network-based economy to move to a platform-based one", says Basile Carle, device expert at IDATE. "Accounting for only 31% of all smartphone sales in 2011, they will account for 58% of total sales of mobile phones in volume in 2016. In absolute value, 1.2 billion smartphone units will be sold in 2016 as compared to 471 million in 2011. Meanwhile, the feature phone as we know them will be gradually replaced by low-cost smartphones with basic functionalities in emerging countries"
A selection of trends for Next Generation mobile devices
Depending to innovation and technological development in the mobile industry, the following trends have been identified:
- LTE is currently driving competition in the US and worldwide as chipsets are improving and networks are being rolled out worldwide (US, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and Norway). While initial devices were primarily targeting the US market, the ecosystem is slowly starting to mature outside band 13. In the mid-term, the increased number of frequency bands to be supported will be an obstacle to the development of devices able to operate on all networks.
- Augmented reality, the Internet of things and social networking are deeply linked and will be increasingly used in daily life. The ability of objects to communicate and actively or passively identify themselves will enable a greater interactivity between real life and social networks. Augmented reality will be improved by a better recognition of objects while sensors, in relation with geolocation technologies (indoor and outdoor), will enable a better service contextualisation.
- Cloud services will make mobile devices more independent of computers and allow an ecosystem to grow around smartphone devices communicating with ever more numerous smart objects such as watches and televisions as well as non-smart ones such as sensors and NFC tags. Application and contents will be available for consumption whatever the devices and will remain synchronised in the cloud.
- Artificial Intelligence as well as gesture recognition and interpretation will foster the development of natural user interfaces and the dissolution of user interface elements in favour of intuitive and direct contacts between the user and the content. The dissolution of technology in our daily life is a sign that a technology has been successful.
As far as evolution in form factors are concerned, the following trends have been identified:
- Reductions in component size will enable more components (and functionalities) to be embedded while staying more or less with the same size and weight. Battery life will remain similar in absolute terms in the years ahead but will be improved in relative terms (as compared to the amount of services and functionalities provided)
- Maximum screen size will not change significantly but devices within their categories will have a broader range of sizes to match with different price ranges. Innovation in the display will be achieved through increased resolution and connectivity. More and more functions (of which display) will be deported and the cloud will be central in the interface between mobile devices. Deported functionalities will use either larger equipment such as connected televisions in the home, or even more mobile and flexible devices such as smart watches or other wearable devices.
- Wearable devices will be part of the digital ecosystem thanks to even thinner screen with bending capabilities and Body Area Network Radio technologies. The development of wearable non-smart 'devices' will contribute together with the advent of new smart objects to the deportation of even more functions outside of the smartphone. In this ecosystem the smartphone will, however, remain the leading processing unit.
- As a matter of course, devices will progressively become water- and dust- resistant at least to a minimum extent. This is a natural evolution for devices that follow us in our everyday life, indoor but also outdoor. Such devices have already hit the market but currently remain niche products. Changes in the manufacturing process could easily make them more resistant to the minor dangers of daily life such as sand or rain.
- Together with this trend, wireless (but not contactless) charging capabilities will gradually penetrate mobile devices provided that wireless-charging infrastructures become available. Otherwise this will remain an option for higher-end devices