Aftermath: Mobile trends 2014

In the begining of 2014 I wrote posting Mobile trends for 2014 that includes my expectations for year 2014. As year 2014 ends quite soon, it is a good idea to look back how well those estimations went. I use italics for material from the original Mobile trends for 2014 posting.

Mobile infrastructure must catch up with user needs and demands. Ubiquitous mobile computing is all around us, not only when we use smartphones to connect with friends and family across states and countries, but also when we use ticketing systems on buses and trains, purchase food from mobile vendors, watch videos, and listen to music on our phones. As a result, mobile computing systems must rise to the demand. The number of smart phones will exceed the number of PCs in 2014.

Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” was the huge headline from years back that has come true. We’re now past the mobile Tipping Point as this report from comScore shows: There are are more mobile connected mobile devics than PCs connected to Internet. The Internet as a whole is growing, led by developing countries of course, and mobile is growing faster.

Some time in the next six months, the number of smartphones on earth will pass the number of PCs. This shouldn’t really surprise anyone: the mobile business is much bigger than the computer industry. There are now perhaps 3.5-4 billion mobile phones, replaced every two years (versus 1.7-1.8 billion PCs replaced every 5 years).It means that mobile industry can sell more phones in a quarter than the PC industry sells in a year. After some years we will end up with somewhere over 3bn smartphones in use on earth, almost double the number of PCs. The smartphone revolution is changing how consumers use the Internet: Mobile browsing is set to overtake traditional desktop browsing in 2015.

For some years smart phone market has been bigger than PC market. The world’s largest PC maker sells more smartphones than PCs. The number of mobile users forecasted to exceed desktop in 2015 or there had already been more mobile users than PC users in the end of 2014, depending on who’s statistics to believe.

Almost half a billion (497 million) mobile devices and connections were added in 2014 (smartphones accounted for 88 percent of that growth). Global mobile devices and connections in 2014 grew to 7.4 billion.

People also spend more time with their smart phones. Nielsen: More Time On Internet Through Smartphones Than PCs article says that that US adults spent on average 34 hours per month using the mobile internet on smartphones and they spend 27 hours on the PC internet. Mobile commerce has seen a 1,875% increase in the past 4 years, from a $2.2 billion market in 2010 to $42.8 billion in 2014.

Global mobile data traffic grew 69 percent in 2014. Global mobile data traffic reached 2.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2014.  Mobile video traffic exceeded 50 percent of total mobile data traffic by the end of 2012 and grew to 55 percent by the end of 2014. More people are watching videos on smaller screens:  Half of YouTube’s views now come from phones and tablets.

It seems that 4G has really become the new high speed mobile standard widely wanted during 2013. 3G will become the low-cost option for those who think 4G option is too expensive, not everyone that has 4G capable device has 4G subscription. How the situation changes depends on how operators improve their 3G coverage, what will be the price difference from 3G to 4G and how well the service is marketed.

Mobile data increased very much last year. I expect the growth to continue pretty much as projected in Mobile Data Traffic To Grow 300% Globally By 2017 Led By Video, Web Use, Says Strategy Analytics and Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017 articles.

When 4G becomes mainstream, planning for next 5G communications starts. I will expect to see more and more writing on 5G as the vision what it will be destined to be clears more.

4G mobile phones are now mainstream and planning of 5G has started. Year 2015 started with lots of news on 5G development.

The shifting from “dumb” phones to smart phones continue.

2013 was the year when the inevitable happened: worldwide sales of smartphones surpassed sales of the more basic (and generally cheaper) feature phone devices for the first time, according to Gartner’s latest market estimates. More and more people bought smart phone insead of feature phone as cheap Chinese made Android phones sold very well.

The existing biggest smart phone players will continue to rule the markets. Google’s Android will continue to rule the markets. Samsung made most money in 2013 on Android phones (in 2013 in West only Samsung makes money from selling Android), and I expect that to continue. In 2013 Apple slurped down enormous profits but lost some of its bleeding-edge-tech street credit, and I expect that to continue in 2014.

Android kept the clear first position in mobile OS market and Apple iOS second. The platform “war”, it seems, has essentially now been won by Android. Its share is now at 83.1% on sales of 250 million units. Apple trails well behind in second place, while Windows, BlackBerry and “Other OS”‘s all continue their declines. Android and iOS take 96% of smartphone OS market in Q4 and calendar year 2014.

Android 5.0 Lollipop was probably the biggest Android release ever. Android 5.0 will power Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. The OS has turned into Google’s de-facto operating system, serving as the basis for Google Glass and the Chromecast. Even Chrome OS has started running Android apps now.

iOS 8 was announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2014 on June 2, 2014. It provided many features including HealthKit and HomeKit. iOS 8 received mixed reviews.

Apple performed well in 2014 on generating money, but as there were some signs of market eroding , questions raised “Can Apple Halt Its Eroding Market Share?” There was good news in the end of year: Apple and Apps Dominated Christmas 2014.

Samsung did quite well in the beginning of the year, but towards end of 2014 Samsung saw some marker shrinking as Chinese smartphone makers like Lenovo and Huawei have been gradually eating away at Samsung’s Galaxy sales thanks to a range of low-cost handsets. Samsung’s crash caught the most headlines, since the giant is clearly No 2 in the overall market – by some distance – and has the furthest to fall.

Watch out, Samsung! 3 of top 5 smartphone makers are now Chinese. Fast growing China’s Xiaomi Becomes World’s 5th or 4th Largest Smartphone Maker

Time of mobile business hyper growth seems to be over: Smartphones are not exactly a mature industry but their growth rates are slowing. The global smartphone market also saw strong demand in Asia and Africa, and sluggish volumes in North America and Europe.

The bloodbath continues for smartphone vendors, results from the leading Android vendors have confirmed in the past week. While it’s a great time to be a buyer, in saturated Western markets, only LG can show black ink on its earnings statementsSony, Samsung and HTC also reported and the pages were awash with minus signs, parentheses and red ink. One big issue was Western market saturation, where Android has matured nicely but hardware vendors lack a compelling differentiation. The only profit growth can be found in expanding markets, particularly India and China, which haven’t reached saturation yet in 2014.

The biggest stories of the year 2013 outside the Samsung/Apple duopoly were the sale of Nokia’s mobile phone business to Microsoft and the woes of BlackBerry. BlackBerry had an agonising year and suffered one of the most spectacular consumer collapses in history, and I can’t see how it would get to it’s feet during 2014. Nokia made good gains for Windows Phones during 2013, and I expect that Microsoft will put marketing effort to gain even more market share. Windows Phone became the third mobile ecosystem, and will most probably keep that position in 2014.

Windows got clear third position on the smart phones, but it’s market share was tiny compared to Android and Apple.  In real terms, Windows sales were nearly flat over a year ago on 9 million units.

Blackberry problems continued.

New players try to enter smart phone markets and some existing players that once tried that try to re-enter. There are rumors that for example HP tries to re-enter mobile market, and is probable that some other computer makers try to sell smart phones with their brands.

For example Lenovo, LG, Asus and Acer have all smart phone product lines.

In the Android front there will be new companies trying to push marker (for example OPPO and many smaller Chinese makers you have never heard earlier).

There are very many new Asian smart phone brands that push to market. China’s Xiaomi Becomes World’s 5th Largest Smartphone Maker.

Jolla is pushing Sailfish OS phones that can run Android applications and also pushing possibility to install that OS to Android phone. Mozilla will push on with it’s own Firefox OS phone. Canonical will try to get their Ubuntu phone released. Samsung is starting to make Tizen powered smart phones and NTT DoCoMo could be the first carrier to offer a Tizen powered device. None of those will be huge mainstream hits within one year, but could maybe could have their own working niche markets. The other OS brands combined do not amount to 1% of all smartphones sold in 2013, so even if they could have huge growth they would still be very small players on the end of 2014.

Despite the continued dominance of Android and iOS in the smartphone market, new players are emerging that serve as credible threat to Google and Apple’s legacy. None of them was a huge success.

Jolla celebrated some success, but it’s sales volumes were tiny compared to bigger players. Jolla releases tablet and celebrates tablet’s success with price cut for its phone.

Several companies released Firefox OS phones for cheap phone market, but those were not huge success because people seemed to want more advanced smart phone features more than cheap price.

Ubuntu attempted to raise $32m via crowdfunding for its Ubuntu Edge smartphone. It didn’t make it.

Samsung Launches First Tizen Phone. But it seems that the ambitions for Tizen has shifted: Samsung’s Tizen operating system will power all the company’s smart TVs in 2015 and Tizen is used in smart watch products.

As smartphone and tablet makers desperately search for points of differentiation they will try to push the limits of performance on several fronts to extremes. Extreme inter-connectivity is one of the more useful features that is appearing in new products. More context-aware automatic wireless linking is coming: Phones will wirelessly link and sync with screens and sensors in the user’s vicinity.

IoT started to became popular. Sensors that use BLE communications work with smart phones.

Various vendors have made iBeacon-compatible hardware transmitters – typically called beacons- a class of Bluetooth low energy devices that broadcast their location to nearby portable electronic devices.

You can also expect extreme sensor support to offer differentiation. Biomedical sensors have lots of potential (Apple already has fingerprint sensors). Indoor navigation will evolve. Intelligent systems and assistive devices will advance smart healthcare.

Healthcare applications were starting to appear in 2014. They hit the headlines more in beginning of 2015.

Several smartphone makers have clear strategies to take photography to extremes. 40 megapixel camera is already on the market and several manufacturers are playing with re-focus after shooting options.

The cameras got more megapixels in 2014, but it became clear that the next wave of smartphone cameras aren’t going to focus on the most megapixels — software is what matters now. Nokia Refocus breathes new life into smartphone cameras in 2014: The Nokia Refocus app enables Lytro-style refocusing by taking multiple photos at different focal points and stitching them together in software. The end result is some really cool photos that can only be shared through Nokia’s special web embed service. Nokia’s not the only company working on this software. For example HTC One features always-on “refocus” using two cameras.

Also 4K video shooting came to the the high end smart phone feature list in 2014.

In high-end models we may be moving into the overkill zone with extreme resolution that is higher than you can see on small screen: some makers have already demonstrated displays with twice the performance of 1080-progressive. Samsung is planned to release devices with 4k or UHD resolutions. As we have seen in many high tech gadget markets earlier it is a very short journey to copycat behavior.

Also smart phone chips that can handle 4K have been introduced. Smart phones that can shoot 4K video became available in large numbers – There Are Now Over 20 Cell Phones that Shoot 4K Video. It seems that 4K recording is more than just a gimmick – There are actually many advantages to recording in 4K. The simple fact is that Samsung’s Galaxy S5 is poised to become the most popular 4K acquisition device on the planet: its 16MP camera will shoot 3840 x 2160 video at 30fps, using h.265.

One of the recent pop-trends amongst smartphone manufacturers is the strive towards higher resolution screens and higher pixel densities. Historically, smartphone screens have got that little bit better every season. The trend would suggest, therefore, that 4K displays will be commonplace within the next two or so generations of flagship phone.

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a jump from HD (1280 x 720) to FHD (1920 x 1080), to this year’s QHD (2560 x 1440). We still have to wait when tiny 4K displays end up to smart phone products (that did not happen in 2014). But there were signals like “Sharp reportedly working on a 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution smartphone display panel“. The tech will be ready for mass production some time in 2016 and will be used in 5- to 6-inched displays (a 5.5″ screen, loaded with a 4K resolution will result in a pixel density of 842 PPI). It seems that we are pretty close to get smart phone 4K display in summer 2015.

It seems that amount of memory on high-end mobile devices is increasing this year. To be able to handle higher resolutions smart phones will also need more memory than earlier (for example Samsung lpddr 4 allows up to 4 GB or RAM on smart phone as now high-end devices now have typically 2GB). As the memory size starts to hit the limits of 32 bit processors (4GB), I will expect that there will be some push for chip makers to start to introduce more 64 bit processors for mobile devices. Apple already has 64-bit A7 microprocessor in iPhone 5s, all the other phone-makers want one too for their high-end models (which is a bit of panic to mobile chip makers).

64 bit CPUs came to market from main chip suppliers.

Amount of memory in smart phone increased, 3GB of RAM is nothing extraordinary anymore.

As consumers become ever-more attached to their gadgets – variously glued to PCs and tablets, and, after-hours, laptops, game consoles and mobiles – the gigantic digital businesses are competing with each other to capture and monopolise users’ screen time on internet-connected devices. And all of the contenders are using many monumentally large data centres and data vaults.

Cloud services became closely interlinked to mobile devices. Apple and Google provide cloud services to support the smart phones hat use their operating systems.

The Internet as a whole is growing, led by developing countries of course, and mobile is growing faster. Mobile, mobile, mobile. Marketers were are all going mobile in a hurry in 2014. Consumer preference for mobile apps vs mobile sites should also be thought through as part of mobile strategy. Data from Nielsen on mobile media time shows the consumer preference for mobile apps which account for 89% of media time in mobile as might be expected from the use of the most popular social network, email and news apps. Smartphone add-to-cart and conversion rates are much lower than for desktop.

Long predicted but always seeming to be “just around the corner,” mobile payments may finally have arrived.

You will be able to keep your mobile phone during some flights all the time and browser web on the plane more widely. At some planes you might also be able to make phone calls with your mobile phone during the flight. Calls on flights have been theoretically possible, and United States has recently looked at mobile phone calls allow the flights.

Airlines routinely use satellites to provide Wi-Fi for passengers. AT&T has one of the largest LTE networks in the US, and it has signed an agreement with Honeywell to use the cellular grid to bring faster in-flight internet to air passengers.

You can use mobile devices more freely on planes. The European Aviation Safety Agency EASA decided to allow the use of mobile devices in Europe flights. Federal Aviation Administration ruled that passangera are allowed to use smartphones, tablets, and laptops during takeoff and landing.

In year 2013 there were many releases on wearable technologies. Wearable is a trend with many big companies already in the space, and more are developing new products. It seems that on this field year 2013 was just putting on the initial flame, and I expect that the wearable market will start to heat up more during 2014. The advent of wearable technology brings new demands for components that can accommodate its small form factor, wireless requirements, and need for longer battery life.

Smart watches took first steps in 2014. The wearables bandwagon rolled into town this year – heralding the arrival of glossy and expensive new wearable timepieces. Android Wear and Apple’s iWatch have grabbed most the headlines. Just 6.8M smartwatches sold in 2014 at an average price of $189. Unsurprisingly, the market leader was Samsung, which has taken something of a shotgun approach in the smartwatch market, releasing multiple models and even multiple platforms. Pebble 2nd in sales numbers.

On the wearable technology space in the beginning of the year Google Glass was a hot topic that faded over the year 2014. Google Glass and other smart specs are proving to be a flop with sceptical consumers: Google Glassholes haven’t achieved ‘social acceptance’ – And this is why smartglass sector IS A FLOP… for now. The situation is so that currently only the arsiest of Glassholes are comfortable wearing smart glasses, and rest of us are a bit uncomfortable with having cyborgs for dinner guests. Even though Google’s head-worn computer is going nowhere, the technology is sure to march on. There are and will be successors that could make it if they play their cards right. Smart glasses continue to raise privacy and safety concerns from many consumers and government bodies.

Interest in mobile virtual reality started in 2014. Google’s road to virtual reality begins with Cardboard. How could this piece of cutout cardboard with a phone in it possibly work as a virtual reality headset?  Not only is Google’s Cardboard virtual reality experience more enjoyable than I imagined, but also Cardboard is much more than just a DIY toy.

The Internet of Things (IoT) will evolve into the Web of Things, increasing the coordination between things in the real world and their counterparts on the Web. The Internet is expanding into enterprise assets and consumer items such as cars and televisions. Gartner suggests that now through 2018, a variety of devices, user contexts, and interaction paradigms will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable.

Expansion to the cars and televisions happened. Internet of Things was taking it first growth steps, but we are still far from Web of Things vision. Today’s IoT systems are too often one manufacturer wallet garden silos.

Technology giants Google Inc. and Apple Inc. are about to expand their battle for digital supremacy to a new front: the automobile. The Android vs. iOS apps battle is coming to the automotive industry in 2014

Connected car concept  really took off: Increasingly, Connected Cars (and especially electric cars) are taking advantage of the rise of smartphones, and apps are available to interact with the car from any distance: Users can unlock their cars, check the status of batteries on electric cars, find the location of the car, or remotely activate the climate control system.

On January 6, 2014, Google announced the formation of the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) a global alliance of technology and auto industry leaders committed to bringing the Android platform to cars starting in 2014. The OAA includes Audi, GM, Google, Honda, Hyundai and Nvidia. Android Auto was announced on June 25, 2014.

Apple CarPlay on launched to the public on March 3, 2014, at the Geneva Motor Show: CarPlay (previously announced as iOS in the Car) is a standard developed by Apple Inc. to allow devices running the iOS operating system to function with built-in display units of automobile dashboards.

For app development HTML5 will be on rise. Gartner predicts that through 2014, improved JavaScript performance will begin to push HTML5 and the browser as a mainstream enterprise application development environment. It will also work on many mobile applications as well.

HTML5 became mainstream technology durong 2015. In the beginning of 2015 article HTML5′s “Dirty Little Secret”: It’s Already Everywhere, Even In Mobile  tells that while HTML5 has never really lived up to its potential, due a problem with marketing as awell as VisionMobile posits, this is partly a problem with performance and partly a question of tooling. but HTML5 has spread somewhat quietly very widely – it is nowadays is is almost everywhere.


I did not see this coming but I sould have: Doctors find new Digitillnesses – ‘text neck’ and ‘telepressure’. The issue is that people spend an average of two to four hours a day with their heads tilted over reading and texting on their smart phones and devices, and the ergonimics of using smart phone for long time stresses neck.




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