Empty predictions are a tenth, but with mobile technology in particular, long-term trends can tell us a lot about the future.
Ah, a new one. What better time to take a step back, to set fire to our rusty old ones and to think about the interesting and / or exhausting movements of mobile technology that await us in the coming months?
It’s a level of contemplation that can be hard to focus on, especially in this noisy area centered on Android, where incredibly important information is constantly thrown and splashed in our wet, open eyes. (This is at least part of the reason I wear heavy swimming goggles every time I consume mobile technology news.) Sometimes this is all you can do to stay afloat and avoid drowning in the fast flow of «discovered» developments from companies you’ve never heard of.
However, let me tell you: taking a step back and thinking about this bigger picture may be the best way to understand what is really going on with our ever-evolving devices and software. around them. Trends tell us a lot more than any ad screaming from a dirty Las Vegas floor, and they certainly tell us more than pointless but confident predictions that so many people love to scream on the air this time of year. . (There is only one exception to that rule.)
So while most of the internet is struggling to keep up with an endless crowd of screams from CES, let’s shrink and look at some of the broader trends that are sure to dominate this area in the coming months. There will almost certainly be twists and surprises yet to be revealed, but it seems safe to say that we will spend a lot of time talking about these seven topics.
1. Folding, folding, in all ways
2019 was supposed to be the «year of folding», but in reality, it was just the tip of the folding iceberg: the year when several companies started dipping their eager feet in the water to see if they could persuade someone to join you. for a bath.
The results? Well, they weren’t exactly spectacular, but they were enough to interest everyone and their mother to follow the same virtual genius and try to claim the piece of the pie (carefully folded). The technology may not be ready to be owned yet, but its raison d’être is the answer to the compelling question: “What problem does this solve, anyway, apart from the fact that expensive phones look new, interesting and new? Is it worth buying? ” – is about to be defined.
With more Android phones already foldable on the horizon and even more under development, there is no doubt that this will be an area that we will follow, erm, as the year progresses.
2. Stranger tricks related to the screen
Like it or not, a Pandora’s box has been proudly opened when it comes to stupid screen tricks, and trust me, this will only become more apparent as we move in the next few months.
These types of scammers generally have the same basic purpose, ie absolutely no legitimate purpose. They’re addressing an issue that wasn’t created primarily to justify their existence: the notion that we need phones with smaller frames, damn it, because … uh, well, they look good? (And so, you know, expensive phones look new, interesting, and worth buying. Funny how he always comes back to that, doesn’t he?)
Thus, in pursuit of this fabricated goal of having less space around our screens, we accept all sorts of ridiculous trade-offs, such as ridiculously awkward cutouts in the actual active areas we see on our screens, with worse speakers on phones. than our thoughts. I liked it a few years ago and it had an extremely useless mechanical system to store the front camera in the body of a phone and then lift it back whenever needed.
Well dear ones, stupidity will not stop soon. As 2020 progresses, we’re sure we’ll see more awkward screen cuts on otherwise commendable phones – phones that could have had full, uninterrupted displays if they had only a few extra millimeters of frame (panting!), Along with other practices. the delights of degradation. Get ready for a new wave of low-screen fingerprint scanners, a new series of attempts to get a camera lens under the frame for no apparent reason, and maybe even a few attempts to extend a screen to the sides of a phone (perhaps the best example still of form to the detriment of function).
In short, get ready for a bunch of things that look great, but that ultimately work against your ten-finger human interests in the real world. And speaking of which …
3. Stay away from ports and buttons
With the headphone jack already on the verge of extinction, phone manufacturers have been looking for some time to further reduce the holes and bumps in our device. I’ve seen phones without physical buttons before, and more recently I’ve seen a few concept-level phones with no holes to be found (yes!).
Between that general trend toward hardware «simplification» (an insulting underestimation if you’ve ever heard) and recent rumors that Apple is considering a portless iPhone for 2021, it’s hard not to expect some sort of move in this direction from Android . device manufacturers in the coming months.
Someone is bound to make an Android phone without physical interruptions, if not this year, then soon. The only real question in my mind is who will be and how many other Yahoos will follow.
4. 5G, 5G, everywhere (unless it matters)
You knew it was coming, didn’t you? Yes, there is no agreement: 5G will be everywhere in 2020, at least in terms of marketing. Operators and device manufacturers have made this very clear. What is less clear is how this will somehow benefit the vast majority of us and how there will be no other practical degradation of our experience of using mobile technology.
Namely: 5G networks are still extraordinarily small and limited in the United States. Even in the cities where they are present, the nature of the technology means that areas with true 5G coverage are few and far between. In addition, early signs suggest that, even where 5G is present, the user experience is often comparable to or sometimes even worse than what you would get from using regular 4G networks that you know and hate.
For now, at the very least, 5G service will also require the use of special phones (read: very expensive) that are loaded with trade-offs, such as low battery life, unusually hot surfaces, and awkward antenna solutions. .
5. More expensive phone options
Guess what? All the trends we have talked about so far lead to the same bottom line: the presence of the latest generation phones that, for one reason or another, require you to pay more money to own them.
From foldable devices to tricks in new forms and, of course, unnecessary 5G support, device operators and manufacturers will have a whole new range of reasons to ask for more dollars for their next mobile device. And you better think I’m ready to take this opportunity.
I mean, think about it: after years of slashing smartphone sales and extending ownership periods for existing devices, there are finally some brilliant new tools to persuade us all to reopen our wallets. And boy, Lord, we’ll hear about them forever. (It’s probably no coincidence that Motorola has already said it’s ready to re-enter the «premium smartphone market» with its first truly state-of-the-art product line in a while.)
On the other hand, but …
6. More emphasis on affordable devices
Google’s experience with Pixel 3a reminds us that sometimes a dumb, determined phone model is one that people really want to buy, especially when their commitments are limited and their price is right. (This is a lesson that Motorola also learned with its Moto G line a few years earlier, when, perhaps not coincidentally, the company was owned by anyone other than Google.)
All eyes are on Google, with the likely launch of its mid-range Pixel 4a tracking, and a new series of leaks has parts of the internet already calling the phone an improvement over the Pixel 4. high range.
Add to that the recently unveiled plans for the first Samsung Galaxy S Lite series and the Note Lite series and rumors about a similar mid-range phone option from OnePlus and it looks like all the top attention will come. nicely complements with a new focus on affordable mid-range devices that don’t suck.
7. Renewed support for some adjacent Android platforms
This time last year, the then-new Google TV manager, Google, said the company was working on a significant redesign of the TV-based platform and suggested that after years of neglect, it was finally ready to offer Android TV the spotlight that he deserves it.
And then, well, not much happened in 2019. These promises are still pending.
Assuming that Google has not created one of its classic flip-flop pools, this seems to suggest that something is still cooking and maybe, just maybe, this will be the year it is fully ripe and ready for our tasting.
Also, keep in mind that Google is still trying to buy Fitbit. Although this acquisition (if approved) will likely not result in any Googley devices immediately, Google also spent $ 40 million to buy a «top-secret smartwatch technology» from Fossil ago. almost a year, something that was described at the time. o «New product innovation not yet on the market».
And the business wasn’t just about technology either – it also brought a dedicated research and development team to Google’s Wear OS department. Again, the signs seem to suggest that something is still cooking and that Google has some interesting ingredients for a portable device that could be quite different from what we’ve seen before.
We may not know the details yet, but between all these areas and the inevitable march of the Assistant, along with them, we have many interesting questions to think about and many interesting possibilities to look at.
2020, here we are. Let the games begin!