Well this certainly came true but to be honest no-ones getting any prizes for predicting this. Android came of age in 2014 and here are some reson why:
- We sold as much Android hardware as we did Windows Mobile
- v4.4 and v5.0 launches with huge enterprise focus
- There was definite focus on Android hardware this year with brands like Motorola even only launching new Android focussed ones.
Well lets see. Windows 8.0 was not such a great success, forcing Microsoft to take step back and bring back the start button in 8.1. We haven;t upgraded here because we can’t develop WM apps on W8.1 and we don;t want to develop Windows Phone ones. Windows Embedded 8.1 was launched and we’ve even been part of the first UK pilots here but it has been woefully poor in my view with only 2 devices currently sporting the OS and shameful support and communication all round. Whilst the numbers might have picked up on the smartphone side of things, I still don’t think Microsoft are working in the right way if they want great success in the coming years.
I think we’re seeing devices get smaller, thinner, with bigger batteries but they’re still IP67 rated with a decent drop spec. It’s was only a few years ago that IP54 was the benchmark for ruggedness but this year saw a whole army of IP67/IP68 devices built for Android with 1.5 to 1.8M drop specs. Rugged has never been more popular, it just wears different clothes.
Cheaper for sure, we’re now selling fabulous devices based on Android for £300 and we’re innovating all kinds of business services around them. Mobile hardware came of age this year and like people say about new cars, it’s hard to buy a poor device these days. Only buck to this prediction was the rise of the Phablet, so things didn’t get smaller they went larger for many!
I think we saw customer types polarizing some what this year so I think this trend will continue through 2015. There was a trend, especially in smaller customers, to buy cheaper 12-24 month cycle hardware so they could keep up, not have to rely on support packs to keep them running and then leaving them open for technology change if they needed it. I’m pretty sure we also saw our Enterprise customers looking to shorten their hardware recycling times. A lot of devices now have 2-3 year life cycles, 5 and beyond that seem to have disappeared with all but the few larger customers.
Again I think there are 2 customers here and we saw more of a split between those who like the TCO service pack model and those that don’t. There has also been a push of responsibility out to the user with BYOD and businesses who simply charge their users for breakages and so we saw a definite shift with many customers simply not wanting any support at all. Support is changing and there;’s no doubt in my mind that the service packs on offer today are not what many people want.
So this definitely happened this year. You can practically find 1000’s of devices with all kinds of OS on them and the choice has now officially become overwhelming. We “culled” many brands from our website last year and we’ll continue to do so in order to maintain a shared value approach with our customers and suppliers for that matter. When choice becomes infinite, customers look for resellers they can trust to help them through the maze. This trend will continue and we’ll see some big brands who just don’t get it lose support next year .
Innovation has increased but it hasn’t been the established brands that have lead the way. We’ve sold more kit this year to people looking for specific features and where we’ve had to really work on configs and manufacturers to deliver something more bespoke and that trend will continue. We don;t live in the year 1900, you can now have any colour you want (it doesn’t have to be black) and China has woken up to that.
RFID and NFC hasn’t quite caught the imagination of the masses just yet. You only have to see the shop keepers amazement when I use my phone to pay them to see that most bods on the street still see NFC as witch craft! However Apples Pay and NFC based iPhone’s are helping buck this trend and we have seen a rise in the use of NFC in business based applications this year. We seeing NFC and RFID finally start to get into businesses thinking when they innovate.
We really saw this take off this year. Watches, Drones and generally things that talk to each other without the need for human input saw a huge increase in popularity this year. I think this trend will heat up next year and today’s Mobile device will need to keep up!
So there we have it, last years trends reviewed! Later this week we’ll take a stab at what’s going to captivate and lead us into 2015.