Consumer platforms and devices predictions for 2019, according to GlobalData

Leading data and analytics company, GlobalData, has revealed its top predictions for the consumer platforms and devices industry in the report: ‘2019 Predictions: What to Expect in Consumer Platforms & Devices’.

Avi Greengart, Research Director at GlobalData, offers his view on five top areas:

5G Devices

“2019 will be the year of 5G deployment, but with each carrier having its own set of frequencies and technologies, achieving reasonable coverage for mobile 5G using dense millimeter-wave frequencies could take years.

“Any 5G device bought in the first half of 2019 could be obsolete later in the year, as some carriers have a mix of frequencies and technologies that will change over time. Consequently, device purchase decisions will be very complicated for at least the next two years.”

Home Media Devices

“Microsoft’s launch of xCloud game streaming could pave the way for Microsoft to gain entry into mobile in a meaningful way without owning the mobile OS, if Microsoft can piggyback on low-latency 5G mobile networks being deployed in 2019.

“As cord-cutting accelerates and consumers switch to OTT streaming services in ever larger numbers, Amazon, Roku, Google, and Apple will battle for the HDMI input. Amazon was extremely aggressive in 2018, but it left one obvious product out of the line that we still expect to show up in 2019: an Amazon soundbar with Alexa and an integrated Fire TV.”

Wearables

“With fitness tracking and basic heart rate sensors fully commoditized, the push in wearables is to turn smartwatches into proper medical devices. Apple and Fitbit are leading the way to get employers, healthcare providers, and insurance programs to discount or purchase devices on consumers’ behalf. Apple, Google, and dozens of start-ups are keen to use wearables for disease identification and management. We predict that Apple will have some level of blood sugar tracking for diabetes management in trials by the end of 2019.

“None of the platform providers do a particularly good job of making the wrist a compelling computing platform. Google will try to address this with more AI and IoT controls in the next Wear OS and pair this software with first-party hardware such as a Pixel Watch, possibly with Google-designed silicon in late 2019.”

Consumer IoT

“The consumer IoT market has become a battle between Amazon and Google to establish their AI as the control point for the digital home, while OEMs focus on point solutions or self-contained home security systems which are easier to bring to market.

“Google has been growing rapidly off of a smaller base, and a larger Home Hub is almost a given in 2019. Amazon still has a huge integration lead and is churning out new Alexa-related products at a frantic pace. Apple has squandered its opportunity in consumer IoT and even a HomePod mini will not materially change Apple’s fortunes if it cannot dramatically broaden the HomeKit program.”

Augmented & Virtual Reality

“The problem with VR is that it is considered nothing more than an exciting demo, not a platform to invest in. Nothing on the immediate horizon looks to change that, but if HTC exits phones, it will need to accelerate VR adoption for its Vive division to survive.

“AR is much more promising, but technology and cost are limiting reach. Magic Leap, launching for consumers in 2019, already looks like a disappointment. Microsoft HoloLens 2.0 should be announced in 2019, but it will be focused on enterprise use cases.

“Technologies introduced in 2019 could turn into products in 2020 or 2021 that could get the industry out of its post-hype slump. Watch Apple’s acquisitions: a small start-up that Apple buys in 2019 could be the key ingredient for an Apple Visor in the future.”

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