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Foldable big screens the next big thing for mobile?

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February 5, 2015

Duncan Clark is head of global research at Netbiscuits

Duncan Clark is head of global research at Netbiscuits

By Duncan Clark

Every year, competition in the mobile space becomes more intense than ever. But we have now reached a tipping point. Even the big guns, such as Samsung, are under massive pressure to innovate to stay ahead of the chasing pack.

All vendors will be looking for a killer differentiator and this means things can, and probably will, get crazy. So, expect to see some whacky concepts making it to the front line of vendor’s product offerings.

Never one to shirk a challenge, looking into the crystal ball, here are six things in mobile that marketers should expect to see this year.

1. Foldable screens have been on the agenda of many mobile vendors for some time now. The main issue being that to date they have been truly awful in both design and execution.

Yet, 2015 may well be the year when vendors, specifically those of the South Korean variety, go hard on foldable screens. Especially as phones are now getting to the size where people are weighing up the hassle of carrying a larger device versus the desire to have a large screen for Web browsing.

Solving the challenge of viewing experience versus portability could be a huge area of differentiation for many vendors. Could foldable screens be the feature that helps Samsung reverse its recent decline?

2. Big screens revolution gathers momentum, with phablets at the core. The desire for larger screens will grow steadily through 2015.

Every study conducted by us in the last 12 months has revealed a consistent conclusion: more people are using their devices primarily as an interface to access the Web – and as a phone device second. So, the trend towards larger screens has to march on throughout 2015.

Phablets will emerge as the winning market area. This is great news for marketers. Phablets display higher conversion rates, which are much closer to those of tablets.

Marketers will need to understand the context in which their users access mobile, not simply just the devices that they are using. They will also need to consider what the emergence of this category means for expected bounce and conversion rate targets.

3. He who wears, wins. The huge growth of wearable devices will mean an even closer integration of technology into our daily lives.

Consumers will become hugely selective about what streams of information they tune in to and out of as these hit their devices.

Beyond fitness and health tracking, we will start to see fashion and technology lines begin to blur as big brands see the importance of making wearable devices more aesthetically pleasing if they are to conquer the mainstream.

Expect to see high-end fashion houses such as Gucci break into the wearables revolution.

4. Minority report coming to the majority. Wearables will also prompt growth in the gesture tech market.

There will be lots of claims throughout the year from companies such as Aquifi that will say that they want to put gesture tech absolutely everywhere.

By the end of the year, we will be seeing gesture controlled technology being showcased not only in tablets and mobiles but also in items such as cars, televisions, household appliances and other common user interfaces.

5. Brand loyalty will disappear. People will use Web sites that work and that deliver content how they want it delivered. There is huge opportunity here for smaller brands to provide great online, cross-channel, joined-up experiences.

Google will help by positively ranking its search results more on user experience across different devices. It will help smaller organizations to differentiate. It will also disrupt the old guard of brands that fail to keep up with the pace of change and that are leap-frogged by more agile competitors.

6. Mobile Big Data needs human intuition as well as hard numbers. More data means increased analytics benchmarking techniques are needed.

Data scientists should focus greater effort on testing hypotheses, setting sensible benchmark levels against these and building algorithms to provide automatic feedback alerts, instead of relying only on people to interpret data streams manually.

Unlocking the value of data is a huge opportunity for all in 2015. There will be some great success stories to come from organizations that nail this during 2015.

Duncan Clark is head of global research at Netbiscuits, London. Reach him at d.clark@netbiscuits.com.

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