It’s that time of the year when the grand predictions from ‘Gurus’ come out. After years of industry experts predicting the next big thing, here is what we think is a more realistic take at what would happen in 2015.
Android Manufacturers Would Look For De-Commoditization
If anything, 2014 was a year of affordable Android phones that rocked the market. Motorola, Xiaomi, Asus, everyone stepped up their game and delivered some brilliant value of money smartphones. Clearly, Google has created a monster with Android. They have democratized a great mobile Operating System tied with best available internet services.
But hardware is hard to differentiate. Everyone is bumping up megapixels, PPI & processor cores. In fact in the value for money segment (which sells the most), you don’t really need cutting edge hardware. You just need to do justice to the price tag. So how does one compete in such a market? The Samsungs and Sonys of the world would be rethinking their strategy. Local players like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava would also be under pressure. From the signals that we are getting, it seems that a lot of mobile manufacturers are banking on customization of services as a differentiator.
Manufacturers are getting ready to bring more internet & content services to your mobile to help differentiate their offerings. The road to De-Commoditization would be tough though, most services that people need are fulfilled by Google and 3rd party apps like WhatsApp and Facebook. We can expect manufacturers to try language specific content and local e-commerce tie-ups to make a difference. Will they succeed? We would have to wait and watch.
Wearables 2.0, Incrementally Yours
2014 proved that everyone wants to make a wearable. Apple made its announcement too, thus giving everyone else’s 2015 plans a shot in the arm. Given that the wearable is tied strong with mobile operating systems, any dramatic change in how they work is tough. We do not expect much difference on how they work, but a lot of hardware optimizations would happen. Perhaps better displays, design (slimmer, lighter) and better battery life. Some would try to innovate on the implementation, but largely we would have to wait and see how the Apple Watch or even Android Wear performs to know where this industry is headed. Given that the iPad / tablets are still in question as a market by itself, we wonder if watches would be mainstream in 2015.
Health Is Hygiene
Both Android and iOS are quite capable of taking over your health data. Both Google and Apple have developed health kit APIs to help developers make better apps. Phones will have supporting hardware for better health tracking is our guess. For any platform today, having a great fitness / health tracking support is now a hygiene factor. We would certainly see a lot of first party and third party accessories launching in 2015.
Mobile has disrupted cameras, transportation, TV & entertainment and gaming amongst others. Health is clearly on the list and innovation in this space should only increase with the wearables rush. We would hope to see more non-watch health add-ons in 2015. The Nike Plus shoe chip was a great one for runners, perhaps some more for the regular junta?
Home Automation & Cars, Still A Beginning
It is just hard to disrupt some industries. As much as we would love to see our cars & home to be much more internet & mobile connected, it hasn’t happened yet. This is for a simple reason that the house, home appliances, car and other investments we make are long term purchases. We don’t replace them often and the manufacturers don’t have a need + incentive to update their roadmaps so aggressively. Again, Android, iOS and Windows Phone would have an eye on this part of the market.
Again, Android, iOS and Windows Phone would have an eye on this part of the market. Apple is working on Carplay and Google is working on Android Auto, lots of manufacturers have lined up to integrate the systems in their cars. But this is a market we cannot expect to change in a single year. Hopefully, there would be more cars with better Android & iOS integration this year and perhaps some more home innovation like Lockitron that goes mainstream. Nest made an automated thermostats and after it being acquired by Google you can expect a global push from the search giant.
So that’s our list of what to expect from 2015. What do you think the industry would look like? There is plenty of trends that we haven’t discussed here, right from the possible 4G disruption in India by Reliance Jio to electric cars happening in India.