Mobile Trends and Innovations for 2020February 27, 2020 No Comments
Featured article by Peter Smith, Independent Technology Author
The last couple of years have been great for mobile technology, with app developers competing hard to create must-use software – even as all the big names are in a race to the top to design the most advanced and user-friendly handsets.
This fast-moving environment is both good and bad for customers. One the one hand, smartphones are becoming so sophisticated and multi-purpose that most of us barely need to possess any other gadget. On the other, we can be left with a paralysing amount of choice, and technology that can feel out of date almost as soon as it has been purchased.
On the whole, though, the fast pace of mobile innovation is bringing great benefits of convenience and entertainment to all of our lives. So, here are some of the emerging trends – in mobile hardware, software, networks and more – that we can look forward to in 2020.
Games and Entertainment
Smartphones in 2020 have the capabilities to be every bit as entertaining as a PC or console for gaming and other types of entertainment. Now that screen technology and resolution is so advanced, many of the biggest game developers are creating mobile versions of their beloved titles. As many of these are free or low-cost apps, it’s great news for anyone whose budget may not stretch to a big gaming setup.
Mobile casinos are also on the rise, so much so that the PC versions may be practically obsolete before too long. All new casino games are now developed to be mobile-facing, and for a new site to survive it must be accessible from a smartphone or tablet. You can read more here about how mobile casinos and how casino operators are shifting their focus to almost exclusively accommodate the mobile market.
It seems like the high speed connectivity has had a few false starts up to now, with various parties grappling with the logistics of rolling it out for everyone. 2020 looks promising, however, with some 5G-ready handsets already on the market and many service providers pledging that their customers will have access before the end of the year. Global 5G coverage will be a game-changer for mobile tech, with wide-reaching implications for almost every aspect of smartphone use.
When it comes to size, smartphone developers have had to find the balance between convenience and functionality. Foldable mobiles may sound like a throwback to the flip phones of the early 2000s, but this new breed is something else entirely. The flexible screen unfolds down the centre, giving users twice the size of the screen they are used to, with just a little extra thickness as the compromise.
Not only is this potentially amazing news for entertainment like movies, games and mobile casinos, but it also creates more space to boost device power and storage. Samsung are currently at the forefront of flexible screen tech, but this could also be a chance for Microsoft to make more inroads in the mobile market.
What looked like the preserve of the super-rich is becoming increasingly accessible thanks to mobiles. Apps that can sync with various devices in the home are on the market right now, and anyone who is looking to upgrade a few appliances can easily find something that will talk to your mobile.
Users can access security devices, change the temperature on the thermostat or even set the kettle to boil so that you don’t have to wait to make that cup of tea when you get home.
More Mobile Payment
There may have been a certain amount of reluctance among mobile users to start utilising mobile payments, but that initial caution seems to be wearing off. The uptake of Apple Pay and other mobile payment platforms has increased dramatically over the past year, as customers become more confident of security.
Pairing your smartphone with a piece of wearable tech could reach mass market coverage in 2020. Fitness and healthcare monitors are the most popular of these, and app developers are also pushing the social aspect to encourage further engagement. Linking apps to your contacts creates a platform to compete with others, even across continents.
Mobile Apps for Small Business
It’s not only big, global brands who are getting in on app development in 2020. Many small and local businesses are recognising the potential for apps to improve their revenue and give them a competitive edge. As it becomes easier for smaller enterprises to access app development tools, expect to see many more adopting this tech as part of their services.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
AR and VR are big news for the new decade, and mobile capabilities are catching up to the potential. Most of us are now familiar with AR applications like Instagram and Snapchat filters, as well as the wildly popular Pokémon GO. Other app and game developers are keen to get a slice of the action, so expect to see much more mobile AR in the coming year.
Applying virtual reality to mobile is not as simple as creating an app – the immersive environments can only be achieved with extra hardware in the form of a VR headset. However, these are already coming down in price, and more companies have started making them, so it won’t be long before they are as widespread as conventional games consoles.
VR mobile applications are primarily focused on entertainment at present, but the possible uses of this tech are endless. Education, healthcare and the workplace are all areas which will benefit from VR on mobile.
The battery continues to be one of the biggest limiting factors to what we can do with mobile, so it’s unsurprising that a lot of research and development is focusing on this part of the hardware. There has been little progress in boosting battery life for some time now, in part because mobile manufacturers have been determined to keep devices as thin as possible. Sacrificing a few millimetres for the sake of a better battery life is a compromise that many users would be willing to make.
For improvements in charging time, another approach is needed. Lithium-ion batteries can’t really charge any faster than they already do, so developers are looking at alternatives. Lithium-sodium shows some promise, as does graphene, although both need extensive modification if they are to be suitable to power a mobile device.