Looking into the future is one of our favorite passions. On the one hand, we have to prepare ourselves anyway for trends and guess which supposedly “hot” technologies we have to observe. On the other hand, forecasts are exciting and, moreover, risk-free: who should do something to us if we are wrong?
For mobile marketing trends, we have identified some things that either come to us this year or at least start.
1. A new radio technology is coming
In 2019, the first consumer smartphones with new wireless technology will hit the market: RAIN RFID. RAIN stands for the countless small drops that make the cloud a cloud.
The technology is very similar to today’s NFC (Near Field Communication). With NFC a phone touches with its back an NFC tag, a chip together with an antenna. When it receives energy, it gives its information back to the smartphone.
RAIN RFID’s advantages are manifold. The phone also gives off energy, which is then harvested by the UHF tags – but the range is well over ten meters. In addition, a sensor can be awakened, which gives its readings to the phone.
The spectrum of applications is huge. Here are only three examples:
- Inventory in passing by
- Tagging of own objects: In what box in the basement is the ski boots?
- Two applications with one code: The cash register knows immediately which items are in the shopping cart. In addition, consumers receive information such as nutritional tables or multimedia storytelling (also multilingual with xamoom).
RAIN will get an additional boost by cheaper tag prices. Their antennas are easier to implement, which is reflected in a significant cost advantage over NFC whose tags are currently 15 Cent and up (depending on the quantity).
It will be an exciting method to get content on a phone, but it will not become easier to get on it. Nobody will be able to place such RFIDs anywhere to spam passers-by. It will most likely need an app to do so.
2. Dark Mode will be standard
Some apps have always had a night mode (also called “dark mode”). With the current macOS, Mojave Apple made the “dark mode” popular on the computer. Windows and Android are catching up fast.
The advantage: the use of mobile phones in the dark is easy on the eyes, you do not get tired so fast. Pleasant side-effect: On OLED displays pixels light up individually rather than illuminating the entire backside as with LCD screens. In “dark mode”, OLEDs, therefore, consume significantly less power.
Basically, all software developers will sooner or later offer a “dark mode”. Google’s Android operating system (the current “Pie” and even more the upcoming “Q”) uses it as well as Microsoft (in the upcoming version of Windows 10 and the current Office suite). Apple is pioneering the topic anyway.
Apps that are here for consuming media should be retooled and offer a night mode depending on the time of day or the amount of ambient light.
3. Bots and virtual assistants will flourish
To see an app as a one-way broadcasting device is simply wrong. More and more virtual assistants or chat systems are at work to answer questions from users or to provide support to them. The app integration of such concierge services (such as via intercom) can be done with little effort.
Such services are praised by the user because the benefits cannot be clearer.
Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa & Co. are increasingly getting integrated into apps. All big vendors provide tools so that their smart assistants get app know-how.
4. National roaming for 5G
5G promises very high bandwidths and super-fast response times but demand more antennas to feed smaller areas.
Studies have just unveiled that Germany, as one of the leading industrial nations, has one of the poorest mobile networks in Europe.
Elsewhere, it has been shown for some time how building great services also in rural areas can be done: in the far north of Sweden, all network operators have committed themselves to national roaming. The licenses were not auctioned to the bidder with the most money. The Scandinavians awarded the radio spectrum in a beauty contest, in which the applicants tore themselves to do as much as possible for end consumers.
The debacle of the German network quality led there also to the specification of national roaming (mobile carriers are sueing against it) in the 5G licensing. An obligation to roam within the country would also be desirable in Austria – just think of the poor coverage in alpine zones.
5. Fuchsia: Android success will be presented
Android has – like any other operating system – its flaws. One of them is of a legal nature: For years, there is a dispute between Google and Oracle, whether Java must be licensed or not. With well over a billion Android devices around the world, this lawsuit demands that Google’s balance sheet covers a big risk.
The solution would be a completely new operating system: It’s called Fuchsia and has been known since 2016. At the end of 2018, Google announced that the new operating system will also run Android apps. Much more than that and the screenshot is shown above is not known yet.
What we already know or what is speculated about:
- In 2019 it will be presented at the Google Developers Conference I/O. But it will take at least another two years until we can buy Fuchsia devices.
- Fuchsia will replace not only Android in the mid-term but also Googles laptop operating system Chrome OS.
- Its foundation is no longer based on Linux – Fuchsia will get a whole new architecture.
- By using a technique called “Flutter” apps could be written for multiple platforms (iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac Fuchsia, etc.) at the same time, which will lead to great efficiency gains.
Google: In the key areas of social and messaging, the Californians will not win in 2019. The former Facebook competitor Google+ will be shut down soon and the gap to WhatsApp & Co. is not exactly closing.
Blockchain: 2019 will be the year of realization that one can not or should not use Blockchain for everything. With the creation of virtual money, no real money can be earned anymore.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality will still play a minor role than some hope. Why? Because creating such applications and content costs far more than many can afford.
Microsoft has abandoned its own mobile operating system and is instead making use of the huge share of Android and iOS for its apps (Office, ToDo, Launcher) and services.
Samsung will launch the first mobile phone with a foldable display in 2019. Big deal? Not at all. But at least there is a refreshing field of innovation in an industry that got boring because of its baby steps of marginal improvements.
What to expect from the 2019 class of superphones
- After a period of price increases, there will be cheaper flagship smartphones again this year. Apple’s crisis at the turn of the year has shown that price gouging has clear limits. With Android, users of cheaper flagship ships benefit from the enormous inner-Chinese competition. In addition to Xiaomi, Motorola, Huawei, Oppo or OnePlus, there are still at least five other manufacturers who are pushing towards the West. Samsung, LG or HTC have to dress warmly in 2019!
The so-called “notches” are getting much smaller – as with the Galaxy S10, often only the selfie camera looks out of the display. In addition, almost all manufacturers will integrate a fingerprint sensor into the screen.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming more important. They are not only ensuring impressive picture quality but also improve the speech quality or help with noise-canceling for even more pleasurable musical enjoyment.
Mobile events in 2019:
Consumer Electronics Show (CES): January, 8th to 12th Las Vegas, Web: ces.tech
Mobile World Congress (MWC): February, 25th to 28th, Barcelona, Web: mwcbarcelona.com
CeBit: after 33 years the IT trade show has been canceled most likely forever, Web: cebit.de
World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC): June, San Francisco, Web: developer.apple.com/wwdc
Google I/O: May, Mountain View, Web: events.google.com/io/
Internationale Funkausstellung (IFA): September, 6th to 11th, Berlin, Web: ifa-berlin.com
Apple’s iPhone event: September, Cupertino