We asked a handful of Sandbox retail experts the following question: How do you predict wireless carriers and OEM technology will evolve over the next five years?
Here’s what they had to say:
David Kutcha, Digital Strategist The future of technology trends will shape how wireless carriers need to adjust to keep up. With the boom of additional “sensory” ways to interact with technology (voice technology, AR glasses, smart watches), the way consumers are getting their information is slowly evolving away from the phone itself. Even in our own house, we typically ask Alexa: “What time is it?” rather than pulling out our phone, never mind actually looking at a clock. In the next five years, I think the technology will continue to trend away from just looking at one particular screen but rather allow you to interact with a number of different technologies to connect with the rest of the world. The wireless carriers that are able to seamlessly integrate and connect those touchpoints will be set up for the most success.
Cassie D’Arpino, Account Supervisor OEMs are becoming complacent, and smartphone technology – as we know it – is starting to peak. Every new iteration is now only an incremental improvement on the last. What we’re finding from some of Sandbox’s recent in-store research and customer interviews is that many of these latest bells and whistles that OEMs are touting aren’t even what people want. It’s truly coming back down to the basics: great camera, speed, easy-to-use interface and aesthetically pleasing yet functional design. Remember when we all thought the Palm Pilot and BlackBerry were the epitome of smartphone technology – _and then Apple introduced the iPhone? Consumers didn’t know what they wanted or needed until Steve Jobs came along and shattered everything we had come to expect from a smartphone. Perhaps not in the next five years, but certainly in the next decade we’ll see this happen once again. A disruptor company will emerge, presenting us with a technology that we can’t even fathom right now. We’ll see Apple “dethroned,” and it won’t be by Samsung or Google. OnePlus has put forth a worthy effort, but their R&D simply can’t compete with that of Apple (at least, not yet). And perhaps, this disruptive new take on the smartphone won’t even be a smartphone at all!
George Bird, Director, In-store Experience Carrier pricing is going to have to drop, and we will see a bigger gap in use types (i.e., 5G will be a premium; 4G will still be the standard operating speed). Not all people will need the speed and power of the upcoming 5G network. Users are talking about how they want to be untethered from their phones, which will drive OEMs to produce a more defined set of phone types. A “minimalist” category will emerge, and a more “advanced” smartphone will come into play for power users. We are starting to see this with LG and Samsung pushing dual-screen phones. (What goes around comes around.)
As IoT and wearables become more advanced, the Google/Android user gap will have to blur similar to how Microsoft and Apple have been able to share operating systems. (Have an Android phone but want an Apple watch.) My overall prediction is that people will want to live a simpler life and all the current social apps will see a hit as the system becomes more corrupt. At what point do people burn out from too much personal input?