4 Trends That Will Change Mobile Technology In The Coming Years
2015 was a blockbuster year for mobile technology, bringing us a host of cool new innovations including 4K displays and curved phone screens, more useful and attractive smartwatches, and a broader range of devices that can access incredible speeds on Canada’s fastest mobile network (as ranked by PC Mag). We were curious to find out what new tech trends Bell will be bringing to our customers over the next few years, so we decided to ask our very own expert. Steve Karan is Bell Mobility’s Vice President of Mobile Devices and Logistics and gets to hear about the latest technology breakthroughs when they’re still in the R&D stage. We asked Steve what mobile tech trends he was most excited to see over the next few years and it sounds like we have some exciting things to look forward to!
1. The Rise of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (“VR”) has been around in some form for decades but the graphics technology of previous generations was not powerful enough to back up the promise of a truly immersive experience. Steve thinks that’s about to change in a big way: “The improvement in the technology and the experience is jaw-dropping. We can expect to see a wide range of VR devices ranging from affordable solutions powered by your smartphone such as the Samsung Gear VR to high-end powerhouses that have a lot more processing power to create more detailed experiences.”
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. Virtual Reality is going to become a must-have when there is a rich selection of immersive content for audiences to enjoy. The developers are busy creating amazing gaming and video content, so entertainment content will be the way that most people first experience VR. But there’s a huge opportunity for more practical applications such as training. Imagine a mechanic being able to learn how to assemble an engine in a VR environment without requiring an actual engine. Imagine further the ability to experience the interior and exterior of a car in every detail while building your model without having to visit a car dealership. VR has the potential to make an unlimited range of experiences more accessible and less expensive to people no matter who or where they are.”
2. Battery Innovations Will Change How Devices are Designed
With all of the innovative features being introduced in mobile devices each year, it’s easy to forget about the batteries that power the technology. While there have been some improvements in battery size and storage (on the hardware side) and power management (on the software side), batteries haven’t changed much since the rechargeable lithium ion battery became the standard for mobile technology. Steve thinks that that we are on a cusp of more dramatic changes to battery technology with some surprising implications for the devices they power.
“The size and shape of our mobile devices is really dictated by the batteries inside and this can impact their look, feel and even utility,” according to Steve. “For example, some smartwatch owners find them to be bulkier and heavier than traditional watches. Most of that additional size comes from the battery within. We’re going to start seeing devices that use smaller and more flexible batteries that will allow new form factors for our devices without sacrificing power. For example, batteries that are contained within a smartwatch band or smartphone case without adding additional bulk will fundamentally change the way the devices themselves are designed. In the longer term, a lot of research around the world is showing progress towards batteries that can power our devices for weeks and even months on a single charge. This is the evolution that these devices have been waiting for to garner mass appeal.”
3. Wearables become more Wearable
In 2015, smartwatches received most of the attention in the growing category known as “wearable technology” with the introduction of increasingly stylish and useful devices like the Samsung Gear S2.
“There has traditionally been a trade-off between fashion and function” Steve shares, “as some of the more powerful devices were necessarily bulkier to pack the required power. And it’s not just watches: bracelets, jewelry and smart clothing that can provide feedback on your workouts are going to be more common. Because of some of the battery innovations we previously discussed, product designers are going to have a lot more room to create sleek and attractive devices that fit different fashion senses. We’ll likely start seeing more partnerships between tech and fashion brands (these Kate Spade earbuds are a good example) that create truly beautiful wearables. The ability to customize the colour, design and even shape of these wearables will also be a popular way for fashion-forward users to compliment their unique style.”
4. More Security to Protect your Personal Information
Our mobile devices are performing a larger range of important functions in our life each year. In the last few years we’ve seen the introduction of mobile payments (through services like SureTap) and features that measure our health. Data security has traditionally been more of a business concern, but as we share more sensitive information with our devices, Steve thinks the average smartphone owner needs to feel even more confident that their personal data is secure:
“The security mechanisms used to lock and unlock our devices have traditionally required users to remember a passcode or swipe pattern that could easily be seen by someone looking over your shoulder. It has evolved into rudimentary security features like fingerprint scanning – now available in most flagship smartphones. Devices that identify their owner based on a retinal or even heartbeat signature could soon start emerging and will be more secure and convenient than existing security features. And it’s not just the mobile devices in our pockets. Automobile and home/office security will eventually replace traditional keys and magnetic swipecards by granting access based on these non-duplicable biometric signatures.”
The Final Word:
Steve couldn’t reveal specifics about the new devices, wearables and other accessories that Bell customers can expect in the new year but left me with this assurance: “We’re always listening to our customers to find out which devices they’re most excited about. You can be sure that we’ll be bringing Bell customers the products they want most.”
It sounds like it will be an exciting few years for Mobile technology! Which new mobile tech trends are you most excited about?