T-Mobile’s move in 2016 to provide only an unlimited data plan at first drew a lot of scorn. But instead of moving back, the company raised the bet. They will announce at CES in January of this year that it will shave off fees and taxes. Its momentum dragged AT&T and Verizon into the infinite game, and now that’s become the default option on all the national carriers.
T-Mobile’s move to cover the cost of fees and taxes in its unlimited plan helped raise its good reputation and popularity. Also, they get the rest of the industry to follow along on unlimited plans.
In the meantime, modern phones took a different look at smart devices development as makers like Apple, Samsung and LG shaved off the bezels around the display. This allows them to pack more screen into a smaller body. Samsung, in particular, was looking to amaze after the flammable and disastrous Galaxy Note 7 in 2016.
Then there was AT&T’s quest to become a Hollywood powerhouse. This is still in question with the Justice Department suing to block its acquisition of Time Warner. The buzz over the oh-so-close fusion between Sprint and T-Mobile capped off the second half of the year, at least until both sides walked away from the deal.
In other words, 2017 was crazy for the mobile world. Today, we are going to find out what the biggest mobile trends are for 2018 and what top mobile companies hold for us in the future. Here’s a look ahead to all things mobile.
1. No Galaxy S9 at CES
The mobile tech New Year kicks off with CES, which sets the direction with a pack of tech themes and gadgets. But with a few exceptions, the show has traditionally shied away from main mobile announcements. It’s usually a time for lower-profile smartphone makers like ZTE, TCL, and Huawei to make their mark.
This seems like it might change because, due some reports, Samsung is going to tease its Galaxy S9 smartphone, the highest-profile mobile device in the hopper, at CES.
Qualcomm CEO, Steve Mollenkopf is just one of many people who can’t stop talking about 5G.
Of course, chip companies like Qualcomm and Intel will be around, and 5G will unavoidably be a topic of discussion. The next-generation mobile technology is supposed to boost our wireless speeds significantly. It also should make it easier to connect a vast range of other gadgets to the internet.
But most specialists don’t expect 5G to show up in a big way until at least 2019. In the meantime, the hype train will continue to chug along.
3. Beyond CES
2017 saw lots of drastic redesigns of phones, predominantly from Samsung and Apple. Analysts aren’t expecting the same level of advancement in 2018. Rumor already points to the next generation of iPhones all featuring the iPhone X’s infamous notch. And leaks of Samsung’s Galaxy S9 show a gadget that isn’t very different from the Galaxy S8. But there’s not much you can do regarding weight, thinness, display technology and Android or iOS app design.
The one exception is a foldable phone. This year’s ZTE Axon M, which has a hinge that allows it to fold, hinted at the start of a potential trend. Samsung CEO, DJ Koh, has said he would like to bring a foldable phone under the Note brand to the market in 2018. Besides, Lenovo showed off a prototype foldable phone you could wrap around your wrist in 2016.
We are waiting and stay tuned to what the smaller companies and app developers will do. The top app developers say that 2018 will be the era of Cross Platform mobile app development. 2017 saw Razer and Essential enter the phone market with unique devices. The Razer Phone is a tank with an impressive display, while the Essential PH-1 offers a modular gimmick with attachments. This year, we all will see how they follow up on those products.
4. Carrier clashes
With the deal between Sprint and T-Mobile collapsing, we’re once again left with four national carriers all vying for your business.
That may mean good news for T-Mobile and Sprint consumers, which continue to be aggressive in taking business away from AT&T and Verizon. The result could be more beneficial, better deals or lower prices for new phones.
5. AT&T v. the US
The other big carrier story will play out in the courtroom. But wait, it’s not a classic boring patent lawsuit. Some ramifications may directly affect you.
AT&T is set to face the US Department of Justice in the courtroom on March 19 in a legal battle to obtain Time Warner. Companies that face a Justice Department lawsuit blocking their deal usually give up. But AT&T’s enthusiasm to pursue this deal shows how vital getting into the media business is to the company.
Well, maybe AT&T doesn’t want “Justice League” anymore.
It’s the brightest illustration of the main 2017 theme of companies getting into the entertainment business. Corporations like YouTube and Apple have invested in shows. Verizon has combined its AOL assets with Yahoo to make advertising and media business Oath. But AT&T definitely has made the larger bet with Time Warner, home to HBO, CNN and “Justice League.”
In 2018, entertainment will become faster, more social, more insightful and more mobile than ever before. How this trial plays out could shape who creates and owns your favorite shows and movies. Besides, it will dictate how they will be delivered to you.