As 2015 draws to an end, consumers saw phone manufacturers release new devices which changed the view of smartphones forever. From small devices to larger phablets, consumers had a variety of options to choose from dependent on their needs. In 2016, there is already speculation that phones will be cheaper, smarter, and “microbrew.” Advancements in technology in the recent years has impacted the way phones are being made and what specifications can be included on the smartphones as evident with the countless devices offered next year.
Advancing technology and lower prices will greatly impact the way consumers purchase new cell phones in 2016
Among some of the speculated improvements for 2016 are the continued addition and prominence of sensors such as biometric scanners which only some interested consumers will actually use. When Apple introduced fingerprint scanners a few years ago, it did not seem like something that would become as popular as it has however more manufacturers added it to their phones’ specifications this year and it is increasing in demand. Cameras and phone screens will also improve their quality by having a higher resolution and a stronger sensitivity to get the best picture worthy of being shared.
When it comes to actually buying a new phone, the process could also see some drastic changes in 2016. Recently, the process of buying a new phone was compared to the process of buying a car because now there are more specifications to analyze, various data plans to choose from, and even the ability to choose what type of payment plan as most major carriers are now offering their customers monthly payment plans rather than long term contracts. Phone manufacturers that sell their unlocked devices directly to buyers and keep their advertising costs low may also be able to sell their devices for lower. In particular, Apple introduced an upgrade program which sells customers a new iPhone every year if they buy directly from Apple and not through a phone carrier.
This past year, carriers also posted full-retail pricing transparently and offered payment plans without penalizing customers for switching to a rival carrier once the phone was paid off. Or in cases like Verizon’s most recent promotion, carriers are also helping customers by covering the costs of early termination or switching fees. Through the increase of no-contract or monthly installment plans, new or lesser-known brands like Huawei, OnePlus, or Ubik Uno can become more well-known in the market. Although some other countries in the world already engage in no contract installment plans, they will still benefit from United States’ carriers switching to these plans as cellphone manufacturers will have a larger, more lucrative market to appeal to with their new devices.
In 2015, we already saw the shift from the more expensive, flashy models like the curved screen Samsung Galaxy S6+ Edge to the much less expensive, good enough devices such as the Google Nexus 6P, Motorola Moto X Pure Edition, and the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact, all of which offered decent specifications for a reasonable price. In 2016, this shift will intensify and manufacturers will market their handsets in order to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Consumers will have more devices to choose from that look and act almost as good as that top-of-class expensive model but costs significantly less.
There are good reasons that these shifts are occurring mainly due to the quality of internal hardware like the cameras and processor increasing. Since the increase is incremental and isn’t really drastic, the quality will continue to increase while the price of these components will decrease. So even if manufacturers use this year’s camera on a 2016 device, it still will capture high-quality photos while costing a little less to make.
Even more so in 2016, the phone will become more like a remote control to its user’s life. Scary thought right? Well, think about it this way. We already use our phones as a camera and as a hub for communication and entertainment but as we continue to buy smart-home appliances and accessories, your phone will become the unifying factor that makes remote door unlocking and exploring new worlds even possible. For example, people already rely on their phone’s applications to track their finances, emails, and even their data usage, but think about using an application to monitor home energy costs and savings or even security systems. For virtual reality setups, think of using your phone’s screen, processor, and battery to launch these visual experiences so you can monitor your home when you’re away or even automotive applications like smart door unlocking or tracking your car’s health.
The future is progressive and as technology continues to improve, so will our phones which have become a cornerstone to our lives. In addition to the trends mentioned above, there are other trends to watch for in the coming future. Watch for smartphone growth to slow for the first time as markets finally reach saturation and expect to hear more about new global phone vendors giving consumers more choices. Chinese company Xiaomi’s early success in China, India, and Brazil paves the way for phone sales in the United States and other markets which will lead to cheaper phones to rival brands we are already currently familiar with.
Mobile payments similar to Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay will become more mainstream making it easier for users to carry their wallet on their phones. Manufacturers will continue to add sensors like ones similar to Apple’s pressure-sensitive 3D force display which could theoretically make products more interactive or data-driven. Voice input like Google Now, Microsoft Cortana, or even Apple’s Siri will expand support to a number of in home smart appliances making our homes more like a smart house. Finally, major high-end devices like the anticipated Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7 will continue to debut despite the changes in the market.
These trends are just speculations for what the future holds some which we may see debut in 2016 others which may not until years from now. What’s important to note however is that the changes in the cell phone industry will greatly impact the way consumers purchase their phones and what specifications will be included on these devices all while paving the way to a more technologically advanced future.