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6 Mobile Tech Trends for 2016

Over the last decade, mobile has driven some of the most impressive innovations in the world of tech – innovations that often take years before the mainstream market is even ready to receive them. As the industry grows exponentially, 2016 will reveal some of mobile technology’s most impressive developments yet.

6 Mobile Tech Trends for 2016

From a world of interconnected devices with the ‘Internet of Things’ to belief-begging virtual reality devices, Púca gives you the low-down on the most important mobile tech trends to look out for in 2016.

1.Wearables

Mobile_trends16_wearablesSource: Forbes.com

With 7 million sales in 6 months, the Apple Watch brought the wearable market to the forefront of the world’s attention. Consumers are pushing for more functionality – and interfaceless devices like the Fitbit and Jawbone are likely to be eclipsed by more useful, feature-heavy smartwatch alternatives. According to Forrester.com’s Gownder, “Fitness trackers represented the first wave of wearable devices — they proved out the early use cases. But there’s only so much real estate on the wrist”.

But it’s not just the world of fitness wearables that’s expected to change. With brands paying more attention to aesthetics, the fashion world will see a proliferation of well-designed, beautiful products – taking wearables from ‘fringe tech’ straight to the mainstream. There’s great hype over the Apple Watch 2, the Pebble Time Round, and a wide range of other choices. And with a predicted growth rate of 800% between 2014-2020, the wearables market is sure to be one of the most important tech trends in 2016.

2.The Internet Of Things

Mobile_trends16_IOTSource: businesskorea.co.kr

The Internet of Things made a big splash at CES 2015 – and for good reason. The concept – that all devices will become intrinsically intuitive and connected – is still very much in its infancy, however. While trends such as smart TVs and smart cars are early explorations, the technology still doesn’t quite match up to the full potential of the ‘IoT’ concept.

2016 – however – will see significant improvements. The likes of Sigfox are helping connect low-power devices across wireless networks, taking the Internet of Things from concept to reality. The firm is established across 8 European countries – and growing.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) is increasing Bluetooth speed by 100%, and range by 400% in 2016 – significant improvements for the Internet of Things. They’re also pioneering advancements in network architecture, allowing more devices to become interconnected.

Technology firms are making significant improvements to the practicality of the concept, and the number of devices connected via the ‘IoT’ is predicted to increase by nearly 4 times. Keep an eye on CES 2016 for the inevitable exciting updates regarding the Internet of Things.

3. 3D Touch

Mobile_trends16_3dblog.moshi.com

It comes as no surprise that Apple are pioneering ‘3D touch’ with their most recent iPhone 6s release. Described by Apple as “an entirely new way to interact with your phone”, 3D touch detects the pressure you apply on the display, and offers you a variety of functionality depending on that pressure – taking ‘touch’ into new realms of interaction.

With Synaptics releasing an Android version of the 3D touch in 2016, and Samsung hot on their tails, the technology is sure to evolve rapidly as the platforms battle it out, each one-upping the other in terms of capability.

While the current offering is fairly limited, 3D touch represents a fundamental evolution in how we’re using our smartphones. No longer are devices limited to simplistic interaction. The likes of 3D touch are expanding our choices, making the user experience our devices offer far more intuitive in the process. 2016, without a doubt, will see a complete shift in smartphone functionality.

 4.Virtual Reality

Virtual reality. It truly is the sci-fi technology of our childhoods come to life. While it has occupied our collective consciousness for decades already, it’s only over the last 4 years that VR tech has hit the ground running. With the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift releasing next year, 2016 is the definitive year of virtual reality. And competitors – Sony’s Project Morpheus and HTC’s Vine headset – will help drive the evolution of the technology.Mobile_trends16_vrSource: abcactionnews.com

With VR, gaming is poised to be all but revolutionised. But gaming isn’t the only thing to be affected. Movie studios are already partnering with VR vendors to bring the virtual reality to the big screen. Like radio, TV or personal computers, VR represents a paradigm shift – where our relationship with technology will be altered entirely. And the best is yet to come.

5.Mobile Payments

Mobile_trends16_mobile_paymentsSource: thedrum.com

As we become more mobile, it seems intuitive that commerce and payments become more mobile, too. A recent report predicts that half of digital U.S. commerce will be mobile by 2017 – and mobile payments will triple in 2016.

Convenience and security will lead the evolution of mobile payments. Starbuck’s app for quickly paying for coffee is such an example. With over 20% of in-store payments made through the app, it’s a great model for success. Big brands – Apple, Google, Samsung – are releasing mobile payment apps accepted across millions of locations in 2015/2016 – with Apple Pay launching in China in February 2016.

With such trends, mobile commerce is poised to become a mainstay in our lives on a global level, and will likely replace physical wallets once the technology reaches its full potential.

6.Psychokinetic Smartphones

Technology evolves at inconceivable rates. As Insoo Kim, Samung’s lead researcher says, “Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices.”

With Samsung’s recent forages into psychokinesis, you can add ‘brain waves’ to that list. The mobile giants are in the process of creating a smartphone capable of being controlled by brain activity alone.Mobile_trends16_SmartphoneSource: independent.co.uk

The technology is tentative and early still; the user needs to be connected to a cap studded with electrodes, taking 45 minutes. Hardly practical or fashionable, for that matter. However, the research is paving way for another cognitive-shifting advance in the world of technology, and more practical, discrete products are inevitable.

When the physical world is bypassed, and we can control technology with our minds, we’ll truly have entered a sci-fi tech utopia. Will we see Samsung mind-control mobiles in 2016? It’s unlikely. 2020? Maybe. The very fact that this sort of research is being conducted is an exciting prediction for not only 2016, but the years that lie ahead in the world of technology.

 

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