2015 was a banner year for mobility. Not only did sales of mobile devices blow other pieces of technology out of the water, the advancements in the mobile sector were truly amazing. So 2015 is going to be a tough year to top. I am, however, confident that 2016 is prepped for the job.
But what exactly will happen to mobility in 2016? As you might have already expected, I have my predictions at the ready. So, without further ado, let's dive in.
Unlocked phones will dominate
2015 started the ball rolling with the unlocked smartphone for the masses. Thanks to companies like OnePlus, Huawei, and Xiaomi, consumers were able to get their hands on low-cost, mid-spec'd devices that could hop from carrier to carrier. Those devices saved consumers a good amount of scratch...but only chipped at the surface of the market. 2016 will change that. I predict that the unlocked phone market will see flagship killer devices ready to take down the current crop of high-powered, carrier-locked devices. Every manufacturer (Samsung, HTC, Motorola, Apple) should be worried...really worried...about the upcoming deluge of unlocked devices as the market will soon be turned on its head.
The Internet of Everything
This is a fairly easy prediction to make. The Internet of Things is over. On the rise is the Internet of Everything. What I mean by this is that every single sector of technology will jump on the connected bandwagon and data will be shared by everything. This, of course, will continue to shine a spotlight on the importance of big data security. As everything and anything becomes connected, it will be crucial that users' data be secure...even when it's your toilet communicating with your fitness app, or your beer fridge sending data to Google Keep.
There will be another, major security breach
October 2015 was the month all debit cards in the US were required to migrate over to Chip and PIN technology. That's all fine and good, but when retailers have yet to make the change, that Chip and PIN technology goes to waste. Even though every retailer was required to migrate to the Chip and PIN technology by Oct 2015, I've found a number of them have the hardware, but have yet to implement the software. Hackers will see this as a last-chance opportunity (before things get more complicated) and attack.
If you happen to find a retailer who hasn't implemented their Chip and PIN technology, register a complaint to the company's home office.
Mobile payment will finally take off
The adoption of Chip and PIN cards have done one thing...frustrate the impatient masses. Where they were once able to quickly swipe their cards and be done with it, they now have to wait for the Chips to register. Transactions take a few seconds more...something a large amount of consumers won't stand for. This will cause a major uptick in the amount of users migrating to Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay. The added benefit of this migration will be the heightened security those users will enjoy.
Tablets will continue to die off
The tablet was a great idea...but one that never seemed to really reach the height of possibility the technology offered. Why? My theory is simple...doing real work without a real keyboard was too challenging. But I think the fall of the tablet will be helped along by the rise of an up and coming form factor...the desktop-sized tablet. These will be tablets of 27" and larger that can rest on a desk and serve as a sort of all-in-one that can easily be moved around. Connect a bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you're looking at the future of the desktop. These devices are exactly what tablets should have been all along. Those 8-10" tablets are really no better than smartphones. Once the tablet is stretched into a truly usable size, the market will change. Until then, tablets will continue to fade out.
Carrier contracts will be a thing of the past
T Mobile is slowly stripping AT&T and Verizon of their customers. Why? Because they have no contracts. This is the right way to go and the consumers know it. Up until now, we (as a whole) have been fleeced by carriers. That's why the T Mobile solution is such a breath of fresh air (though not perfect, by any stretch). I predict, by the end of 2016, all carrier contracts will be a thing of the past. Yes, the carriers will still figure out the means to gouge the consumer, but it'll be at the cost of losing the consumers, as they are free to hop from one carrier to another. That new found freedom will place the power in the hands of the consumers.
If you thought 2015 was a big year for mobility, just wait until the end of 2016 comes around and we look back at the newest crop of major wins found in the mobile sector.
What do you predict for 2016?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.