As 2018 kicks off, it is clear that mobile technologies are hotter than ever, and only going to increase in popularity and abilities. I put together some of my predictions for what’s trending this year and in the near future.
Trends for Mobile Design
Gestures and Tactile Feedback
The introduction of the touchscreen on a mobile devices broke ground for a world of interface interactivity. Not only can we click a button with a simple touch, but also login, swipe up, down, left and right, pinch and drag. Using gestures on the touchscreen speeds the process and makes everything go faster, leading to a more efficient design experience. In addition, more mobility makes interface more fun for people to interact with. In 2018, in-app gestures will continue to improve and be a major trend in design as devices become faster, smarter, and closer to organic experiences, while the user interacts with their environment through a phone.
The iPhone X introduced face recognition, and it is just one of the many ways that mobile design is becoming incredibly personal and tailed to each individual. With Touch ID, many apps have already utilized faster logins and with location services, smartphones can pull tailored content based on location, completely customizing the experience for each individual user. As the technology and data continue to emerge, our devices and designs will continue to enhance to provide a custom experience for their users, complete with features and recommendations based on everything from location and age, to hobbies and habits.
Design for mobile will continue to expand past that of just smartphones. From Apple Watches and Fitbits, to Bluetooth and Airpods, wearable technologies are advancing as to create a more seamless digital experience for its user. Some sources suggest that by 2019, more than 200 million wearable devices will be sold. This means that mobile design will continue to strive to be functional across multiple platforms, integrating features like voice-activation and sensors to trigger responses (like the heart rate monitor on a Fitbit). Mobile design is increasingly going in the direction of being wearable, versus simply carry-able.
Trends for Mobile Phone Manufacturers (e.g., Samsung, Apple, Motorola)
Integrate AR Technology
Google and Apple have already made strong strides in the directory of AR for Smartphones. The release of iOS11 come with an ARKit, which allows developers to more easily integrate AR into apps. However, using Augmented Reality in Smartphone app is only a small piece of what AR can do for mobile design. In 2018 I expected to see a lot more hype for AR and its development in various mobile devices, whether Smartphones or wearables.
Looking at this size of phones over the years, we can see what started out as a brick phone got increasingly smaller with every new edition, until the introduction of the iPhone, after which phones started to grow larger. Now, clothing pocket sizes are not getting bigger, and at a certain point mobile phones have to stop growing too. However, with the increasing capabilities of Smartphones and a user’s desire to have a hand-held device, that can “do it all” I believe phone manufacturers will continue to develop and introduce features that extend the visual field beyond that of the mobile screen.
Motorola and Samsung have already introduced phones with built-in projectors, and it won’t be long until Apple introduces something similar that will allow users to enjoy a larger image on a smaller device. Razor just introduced a smartphone that can be incorporated into a laptop computer, and with the power of smartphones, they could very well replace or be substituted for larger computers if only they had keypads and larger screens. Phone manufacturers are well on their way to addressing this market. Whether a pop-up display or a projected screen is integrated, mobile devices will continue to break the barriers of a simple 2-dimensional phone screen.
Longer battery life
As our mobile devices become smarter and more capable, they are also being far more integrated into our lives, and thus used more. In order to keep up with the device functions and demands of the user, smartphones and other devices will need to boast longer battery life in order to stay relevant and marketable. Apple was recently called out for slowing down the battery in the older iPhone models, and with Samsung, Motorola and even Google vying for their costumers, Apple and other manufacturers will improve the life of their batteries to compete with other mobile devices and improve the overall user experience.
Trends for Mobile Carriers (e.g,. AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint)
Competitive unlimited data plans
The ever-increasing functionality of smartphones means more demand for data, and mobile carriers will step up their competition with unlimited data packages. Limited data packages will dwindle in both sales and offerings as more customers upgrade their phones, and their plans. Unlimited call and text will be an oddity only if not offered, and the prices of the fully unlimited plans will drop in order for carriers to stay competitive.
Increase cell service range
Verizon was once the uncontested carrier with the widest nation-wide coverage. Now, Sprint is catching up and it will not be long until there becomes almost no notable difference in the coverage various carriers. With affordability being a strong and often primary factor when it comes to choosing a mobile carrier, many people opt for what is cheapest, going with smaller companies who are offering better deals to compete with Amazon and Sprint. As a result, more customers result in more revenue for the company, which allows even smaller carriers to afford larger service areas and carriers as a whole will increase the range they provide their customers.
Service Google and Amazon devices
Google has their own phones now, the Pixel and Pixel 2. Other consumer giants such Amazon may soon follow suit with a smartphone or wearable device of their own. Mobile carriers are will to expand the types of devices in which they cover, to appeal to their customer base. Currently only Verizon services the Pixel 2, but their ever-top competitor Sprint will likely soon follow suit, and Google phones will go on to populate mobile carrier stores.
What are your predictions? Let me know in the comments!