December 24, 2013

What does your next mobile upgrade hold for you?

Written By Martin Sandhu

The recent uptake of smartphones and subsequent explosion of apps and content-on-the-go took many by surprise, even those within the tech industry. Now that the swing towards mobile is well underway and unlikely to ever swing back, many are asking what lies in store for the next generation of mobile upgrades.

According to a report from the Ericsson ConsumerLab global research programme, customers have accepted their mobile phones so completely they’re happy for it to log biometric data. There is a growing interest in using apps to log data about health, exercise, steps taken and even heart rate and blood pressure, monitored through a ring tethered to the phone. Over half of respondents said they would be happy to use their phone to record such data, and 40% said they’d like their phone to log all physical activity.

This information is much more personal and in-depth than any current profile or public domain method of personal profiling. It’s indicative that not only have people accepted their devices as going far beyond the original intention of being a telephone, they’re also trusting them with data on a personal level.

Even for those who aren’t fully prepared to allow their device access to their most intimate of information, over half of people want their device to use fingerprint scanning technology as a method of securing against unauthorised access. Even with fingerprinting being primarily used in law enforcement and the connotations that go with that, 48% would like to see eye recognition as a way to protect hardware.

For those who aren’t necessarily interested in having their phones start taking notice of what could be sensitive data, for most they’re accepting it as an inevitability; 74% expected biometric phones to be mainstream in the next 12 months.

With so much information stored on phones, online privacy continues to be a concern for phone users, and 56% of people in the Ericsson survey had worries about security but only 4% subsequently limited their time online. Instead, others preferred to take precautions over their activity online.

As mobile devices have been taken so much to heart already, there is a growing demand for their connectivity and network stability to become more reliable, with traditional ‘dead’ time such as commuting now being a key period for mobile usage. The ability to connect on subways to stream content is one key area that Ericsson notes room for improvement. The report also states that 19% of overall content streaming occurs via a phone or tablet, indicating that people often begin playing the content in one location, pause it and resume later in an entirely different location. This is a huge leap away from people using the internet to stream content to a laptop or even smart TV, showing that content-on-the-go is one of the key areas for consumers.