Now that we have entered 2016, experts in the industry are predicting what they believe will be the hot topics of mobile this year. Some of our team of developers and designers also have an opinion. Here’s what they had to say:
Ross Hambrick, VP of Engineering
I personally think the the connected home will be huge in 2016 with devices including Amazon Echo, Nest, Samsung SmartThings, Apple HomeKit, Google Brillo. Interfacing with software via voice will become a big thing this year especially at home, controlling things including TV, lights, music, etc.
Mobile applications will continue to improve and become more robust as more companies adopt mobile in order to support more work being done away from a desk. The trend of focusing more heavily on UX will continue to improve mobile apps, but since there will continue to be a lot of new entries into the space there will be a lot of bad ones as well.
On the consulting front, the demand for developers will continue to increase. Because of the shortage of developers, pay will increase resulting in higher prices consulting companies will charge. The shortage of developers and especially good developers will mean that a lot of apps are being built by “lesser” development teams.
Matt Michelson, UI/UX Designer
Many new animation prototyping tools will be born into an overpopulated world, and Adobe's forthcoming Project Comet may steal Sketch's thunder, but either way UI designers still won't be able to settle on an ideal process or suite of applications.
To that end, apps will continue to be flat until the size and orientation of our devices stop changing on a regular basis and responsive design finally goes away (i.e. never). Meanwhile, the iOS and Android design spaces will continue to fragment, and nestled among these diverse interfaces, the falling cost of VR equipment will help establish Virtual Reality as a new frontier for User Interface & Experience Designers.
Ad blockers will endure hard times as native advertising leads brands to victory.
Also happening in 2016:
People are still going to feel weird talking out loud to their devices, Adobe will release a professional design application for the Apple Watch, and someone will create a language entirely out of emoji.
Bryan Richardson, Android Engineer
I think mobile solutions in the realm of FinTech will have greater prominence in the marketplace with wider adoption of tools such as Apple Pay, continued growth of mobile trading apps such as Robinhood or mobile applications that facilitate microloans in developing nations. It’s farfetched, but I wouldn’t be surprised if by Q4 of 2016, the next big app involved digital currencies, such as BitCoin.
Sean Swezey, iOS Engineer
With regards to smartphones, I think more people are going to adopt bigger phones for two reasons: manufacturers are making their latest and greatest in larger form factors, and consumers will continue the trend of having their phone as their primary Internet device.
Because Apple’s sales have decreased, the next iPhone is going to have to really wow to get consumers to buy it. The past couple of releases have not been earth shattering- especially 3D touch, it’s a gimmick that is hard to use, much less get users to figure out how to use.
Chris Logan, Android Engineer
We will see an increase in adoption of wearable technology, such as smartwatches, and we will see a lot of IoT tech focused at consumers because of it. The big things to watch for are audio/video for products such as drones and cars, and bioinformatics such as Fitbit to monitor health and habits. The coolest thing I’ve seen this year so far is the 4-Ounce Wireless Underwater Server, so I’m excited to see how that plays in the industry.
Jesse Black, iOS Engineer
iOS extensions haven’t reached wide-spread adoption, often treated as a nice to have unless it is crucial to usability. Peer pressure is going to kick in and more Product Managers are going to want their app to have extensions. This is the year a lot of dev shops are going to get familiar with mobile VR- it should be fun for them, and it will create a nice app ecosystem.
David Mays, Android Engineer
In 2016 I expect to see some improvements in Android OS from the Android developers as well as better support from Google and device manufacturers. I expect to find devices with better multitasking. There have been rumors about Google working on split screen support for Android tablets.
Hopefully we'll see an improved time table for OS upgrades across all manufacturers and service providers. Faster and more predictable upgrading will help to eliminate security problems that are discovered in the OS.
I anticipate a greater focus on wearable technology. I expect to see Google release improved UI for Wear devices as well as improved developer support for Wear. There have been increasing murmurings regarding an improved Google Glass release as well.
We're already seeing trends toward hardware improvements as well. Larger batteries benefit everyone. Larger displays are nice too look at, but create technical challenges for device manufacturers as well as software developers.
Alex Nachlas, iOS Engineer
This year, I think Apple will release the 4-inch iPhone as part of their product lineup along with the Apple Watch 2 and iPhone 7. With Swift being open source now, Swift 3.0 will continue to make iOS the default language for development. I also think mobile payments will take off with more users adapting to the feature.
Want to see our thoughts about the mobile industry in 2015? Read here.