The big news is that 2019 will bring smartphones equipped with 5G modems and foldable displays – though not necessarily in devices that incorporate both. To be fair, most smartphones sold in 2019 will have neither as the cost early on will be prohibitive and we still have limited initial 5G coverage. But they’re on their way, and certainly the idea of a foldable phone will be very tempting for many consumers.
Next up is game streaming. This should enable gamers to play top-end, popular games across a wide range of devices from smartphones to PCs with high-quality visuals and lag-free responsiveness. But, to take off properly, it’s got to be easy to use and perceived to be worth the money. Not an easy task, but improvements in overall WiFi, connectivity, wide area networks and the widespread adoption and optimisation of GPUs in cloud-based servers should help. Besides this, advancements in software like split or collaborative rendering (where some activity is on the cloud and some on the local device), as well as AI-based predictions of necessary actions, and preloaded content, appear to have brought us to the brink of a new era of gaming services.
Undoubtedly, cloud computing has changed expectations about performance, reliability, and security. The DevOps (a set of practices automating the processes between software development and IT teams to release software more quickly and more reliably) environment has reconfigured how software is built, tested and deployed. Consequently, companies are shifting their focus away from the public infrastructure-based aspects of cloud computing and towards the flexible software environments it enables. The public and private multi-cloud platform is likely to become standard.
Data privacy is a hot topic and as a result, so are tech companies’ data handling practices. Consumers have high expectations of technology’s ability to personalise services and apps to meet their specific interests. They expect technology to make devices and services faster, more efficient, and more compelling. But to provide high levels of personal customisation, there has to be some access to an individual’s personal data and patterns of use. This has usually meant that they have shared information with many different companies to receive a customised or personalised experience. Now, thanks to the AI-based software and hardware capabilities becoming available on our personal devices, more of the data analysis work could start being done directly on devices, without external sharing. On-device AI inferencing is now becoming a reality.
It seems that science fiction might get real this year with personal robotics devices becoming available. Movement, motion, and environmental awareness capabilities have advanced significantly in the robotics world. Together with increasingly empathetic AI capabilities being brought to voice-based digital assistants, this points to commercial and consumer applications of robots in 2019.
It also looks as if cloud-based services are reducing the relevance of the usual platforms as what we do on our devices is becoming increasingly separated from operating system user interfaces. And, as it’s becoming much simpler to run critical applications on any device, we may end up in a situation where the most relevant platform is the cloud for both consumers and businesses.
The future’s on its way.