Being against the all you can eat trends, and trying to have a realistic opinion about what works and what will fail is a very risky bet, let’s run it.
1. Application store download will shrink
This prediction is a bottom up evaluation, but also a very logical one. With the maturity to not say the saturation of the smartphone market in western world, consumers have their habits to use their 12 to 15 applications for their daily needs. Except for games, they have no incentive neither qualitative, neither through clever e-crm to explore the application world, and try new apps. As direct consequence, more the market is matured less the application store will be an efficient way to reach the consumer. For the publishers, competing with more than 1.5 million applications in order to reach a small stream will be like running a marathon to hit a dead end.
2. Smart TV will stay dummy
A countless number of smart tv generation were launched by Samsung, Logitech, Google and now Apple. Tim Cook claimed the future of smart TV is application. I’m sceptical about the future of TV (and will explain the rationals of this opinion in a coming post. At best TV future is simply TV. With a center of command around the smartphones (for navigation to thermostat), and a trend where families spend time around their own personal screen, television has the wrong positioning. It is likely to be a dumb vertical tablet.
3. Smartwatches still dumb watch
2015 saw the launch of the famous Applewatch, that came with dozens of similar models. Nevertheless, 8 months after it, it is hard to see anybody wearing a watch even in San Francisco or in the silicon valley. As shown in the graph, usage dropped considerably. I continue to be convinced that smartwatch has great potential. To reach the deserved success it needs to have 2 features :
– B smart, meaning that it should be independent from the mobile. To do so, it has to have its own cell phone module, and a sim card with the same phone number. The dual sim card has just be released in Q4 in US (and 20 years ago in Europe), but only the Samsung Gear S had a GSM module at launch.
– Screen of the device is still too small. It is likely that high definition screen is good enough to have the consumer able to read article. The size must be at minimum 2 inches with 360 x 480 pixels resolution.
It is unlikely that 2016 will see those 2 events happening. Nevertheless the global trend is there, and the sports features will provide a key rational to buy smartwatches.
4. Virtual reality continue to be virtual
Billions of dollars were invested in virtual reality kicked off by Facebook acquisition of Octopus for $2 billion. Like for the drone, there is not doubt that business to business opportunity exists. But for massmarket, user experience is far from where it should be. To start you need to be able to set up a complex configuration on a high end computer. Your helmet is linked by cables to your PC. To have fluid experience a 4K screen with a 90 frame per seconds must be provided. None of the solution of the market is able to offer it. If Samsung has a product being close to a massmarket offer, it will take at years to have a full eco system up and running including relevant content and at a decent price.
5. Tablets reached its tipping point
Surviving thanks to its legacy, tablets is dying slowly. In a precedent post I revealed a decrease of usage of iPad in US. Customers does not want to carry it on top of their phone and their laptop. They let it at home, and it becomes time after time a product for other members of the family. Usage has been decreasing for the last 2 years, despite the flow of new tablets less and less expensive. The size of the latest phone on Android and Apple, as well the crucial need for a keyboard, is giving the last hit to this great product.
I will be pleased to review with a critical and a cynical eye these 5 predictions in early 2017.