10 mobility forecasts for 2020: AI, 5G, folding telephones and more

Jack Wallen stares into his crystal ball and makes his mobility predictions for 2020.

Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

Are you ready to say goodbye to 2019? I know that I am. Why? For many, many reasons. Tucked away in that long list is the excitement of what 2020 will bring the mobile world. Although 2019 was not exactly a banner year, it certainly paved the way for many new technological trends.

And so I pull out my +10 Ball of Prognostication and look deep into the shady realm to see what the coming 366 days – 2020 is a leap year – have in store. Don’t you want to join me?

1. Google doubles on AI

If the Google Pixel 4 has proven to be one thing, it is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not just here to stay, it will continue to drive mobility costs. I’m pretty sure that Google will push to weave AI deeper into the structure of Android, leading to improved photos, better assistant interaction and drastically improved battery life (thanks to what it learned from the Pixel 4).

More than that, I believe that Google will insert AI into other areas, one of which is security. AI can be used to predict when / or a user will install an application with malicious code and automatically report the software to Google. AI can also detect if a device has been stolen and is used differently than the original user.

SEE: Rental package: Android developer (TechRepublic Premium)

2.5G becomes the standard

5G technology has had a difficult time; with almost insurmountable obstacles, carriers are reluctant to adopt the standard and have not pushed OEMs to develop devices with 5G. I’m pretty sure that 2020 will see major changes in 5G. With more 5G-ready devices on the market, only the first provider is needed to switch the wide switch. As soon as consumers experience the speed of 5G, this becomes the new standard.

Although Android is the world leader in operating systems for smartphones, the iPhone is often the device for boosting technology standards in the US. Sometime around the third quarter of 2020, Apple will release a 5G iPhone and then 3 / 4G must sit in the back.

3. Foldable devices will take off

The foldable device will finally hit the market en masse in 2020, although I think it’s going the wrong way, because moving parts tend to fail. This trend will be led by the fashion-forward, not technologically inclined, and these folding devices will be more of a trendy accessory than a tool. Moreover, the price remains unaffordable for most people. It will be 2021 before we start to see foldable devices with a reasonable price tag; by this time two things will have happened: OEMs will have perfected the foldable screen, or my concerns will be verified and foldable devices will fade to ambiguity.

SEE: Android gift guide: the best gifts in 2019 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. An Android smartwatch will dethrone the Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is the leader in smartwatch technology, but 2020 will tell a different story. Samsung has already proven that it can release a good smartwatch with the Galaxy Watch Active 2, which cannot hit any other Android smartwatch. This device will launch a good amount of competition; I even think the first Android smartwatch will overtake the Apple Watch in 2020. I wouldn’t be surprised if Google released a Pixel watch along with the Pixel 5, and if that happens, it could be the watch in 2020.

5. Larger mobile security threats

From the ‘no brainer predictions’ office come larger and worse security threats. We have witnessed a steady increase in malware attacks on Android, but I believe that 2020 will see an increase in the number and severity of those threats. This can be the perfect storm – with 5G, the revival of always connected smartwatches and a constant push of adware attacks – for an ideal incubator for the security threat of all security threats. Users must be alert, work smart and never be wary of their devices.

SEE: The best Android phones of the past decade (TechRepublic)

6. Face recognition: the new standard for mobile security

Although the Pixel 4 has some serious problems with the life of the battery, it comes with impressively accurate and fast face recognition technology that makes the fingerprint sensor unnecessary. OEMs will soon realize that face recognition is a better biometric security tool and distances itself from fingerprint sensors. Just as the fingerprint sensor has replaced the PIN code, at the end of 2020 the fingerprint sensor will be replaced by face recognition. With the widespread use of face recognition, mobile users will enjoy a higher level of security with their devices.

7. Samsung Galaxy S11: goodbye, hello full screen

2019 is the last year that we see a widespread release of Android devices with a notch. The Samsung Galaxy S11 comes with a pinhole camera or an “behind the screen” camera, so that the notch and bezel disappear and the proof – once and for all – that a smartphone can happen in full screen. It will be the most wanted device on the market, and if OEMs don’t follow it, every device they release will look outdated and awkward against Samsung’s flagship.

SEE: 10 largest Android flops of the decade (TechRepublic)

8. Samsung Galaxy S11 is becoming the most popular mobile device

See # 7 above. The Samsung Galaxy S11 will sell every new device on the market, including the first 5G device from Apple, which will fade in comparison. Samsung has already shown that it can design some of the most elegant devices on the market. Once Samsung overthrows the ring, the company can no longer be stopped. The Galaxy S11 will be the must-have device and will rocket Samsung’s bottom line and strengthen the company as the OEM to be surpassed in the mobile space.

9. Google will focus on the battery life for the Pixel 5

The Pixel 4 is not really the failure that most people / reviewers say. Although the Pixel 4 may not have the best battery life on the market, the camera cannot be beat and the 90Hz screen is really something to watch. For many, the life of the battery is a deal break and Google is returning to the drawing board with its flagship devices and is reconsidering its priorities. When rumors begin to fly over the Pixel 5, they will focus on a new battery technology that will give the Pixel phones an unprecedented battery life. The Pixel 5 is the best phone that Google has released so far.

SEE: Cheatsheet: Google Pixel telephone (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

10. The return of the flip phone

The Razr used a folding screen in a way that nobody saw coming. This return to the form offers an interesting take and other manufacturers will have to follow soon. There are rumors that Motorola has its own flip phone in the making, which will lead to copycat flip phones and perhaps the only viable option for the folding screen. Wouldn’t it be great to hang out with people again with a tap of the wrist?

There you have it. I looked at the crystal ball and he spoke. Anyway, here is a successful, safe, reliable, joyful and productive 2020.

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