How Have Our Expectations Fared over the Past Year?
This year, on 15 November, we will unveil our 12th set of predictions for the coming years in the mobile, media and Internet industries.
In late 2015, we set out more than 80 predictions for the connected world, and presented them at our annual event in London. Here we offer a snapshot of our recently published review of these expectations. We outline three that identified trends correctly and one that failed to hit the mark. This is limited to predictions that have played out in the past 12 months.
Three We Got Right
Google strives to break the app paradigm over the next three years and shifts focus to Web notifications. Google has pursued several strategies to overcome the threat that apps represent to its core business. Web notifications has been one mechanism, supported by two other efforts. The first is a concept that Google terms the Physical Web; it uses URLs and Bluetooth to interact directly with physical devices. The second is Android Instant Apps, which allow users to access content within an app without having to undertake a full download and installation. Both efforts are in their early stages, but Android Instant Apps hold particular promise — for Google, consumers and developers.
In 2016, more than two-thirds of new post-paid mobile contracts in the UK are for less than £20 a month. Although regulator Ofcom has not yet released its full analysis of 2016, we are confident this prediction has come true. Several factors have influenced pricing trends, notably strong uptake of SIM-only contracts, many of which are priced substantially below £20 per month. The migration of subscribers from prepaid to contract connections and a lacklustre smartphone market have also driven average contract prices down.
ARM silicon providers cautiously return to Windows in 2016. A few months later than we expected, Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon 835 chipset will support Windows 10. Contrary to the approach taken with Windows RT, Windows 10 on ARM will support WinRT programs. Both ARM and Qualcomm are positioning forthcoming chipsets for thin and light systems with the benefit of wide area connectivity. We predict the move will spur Intel to commit more heavily to integrating cellular modems into its silicon. We also expect new business models and operator partnerships will emerge that reduce the cost and increase the attractiveness of connected Windows devices. Deals are likely to include the zero-rating of specific services such as Microsoft Office 365.
One We Got Wrong
A major device manufacturer offers a radical new smartphone design using free-form display technology in 2016. This prediction proved incorrect, but we still expect it to happen in the future. At present, innovation on smartphones is largely incremental. Even one of the most striking new devices to date, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 continues to use the established design of a rectangular block with a fixed touch-screen display, albeit a curved one with minimal bezels (see Instant Insight: Galaxy S8 Is Samsung’s Most Important Launch for a Decade).
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