Future Industry Outlook: Top ICT Predictions of 2019

After the 2018 wrap-up and in anticipation of upcoming 2019 trends, it’s a must to assemble an ICT predictions list.

While the more prominent news platforms have their own listing, there is certainly room for more. Unlike the smartphone industry, there is no such thing as over-saturation for such articles. After all, ICT predictions cannot be exhaustive as there are just too many segments to consider. The consumer space alone is overwhelmingly massive and will be daunting for even the most thorough to cover everything.

Hence, this start-of-the-year ICT predictions effort will be the first of many on In-Forge. While it will feature certain insights that are obvious to all, the pointers below may have some surprises in store:

Mobile Leadership Changes

Cupertino started it all with the trend-setting. A smooth as silk performance for smartphone that uses a unique yet easy-to-engage user interface – that became the benchmark for all mobile device makers. It took Google and its engineers many years to crack the code that Apple has so cleverly crafted. However, it took the China smartphone makers to turn the tide of innovation. In fact, Apple lost that thunder to brands like Huawei, honor, OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi as they’re now the ones setting new benchmarks.


For 2019, the Torch of Innovation had certainly been passed on as progressive designs are now coming out of China. Samsung’s attempt doesn’t count as its Samsung Galaxy A9, with its Quad-Lens camera setup, just packs in more lenses. The latest take — in terms of ICT predictions — comes from Huawei and its sub-brand, honor. In playing up its more premium position, the network hardware giant focused on boosting the role of artificial intelligence (AI). The latest mobile CPU it has put out on the all-new Huawei Mate 20 Series is all about AI. In fact, the advanced features for this latest flagship smartphone are managed via the AI-powered HiSilicon Kirin 980 processor.


Bye Notch

What about the notch design that almost all Android devices copied from Apple? Predictably, the fad is a phase as upcoming smartphones will feature new front façade designs. What will replace the cut-out look are pop-up camera concepts, dual-screen powered devices, and punch-hole designs.

Coincidentally, the first two are already in use on three specific flagships. The pop-up system, which has OPPO, vivo, and Xiaomi as its champions, ensures the front is utilised at almost 99%. While all three apply the sliding function differently to reveal their sharp-shooters, the upcoming iterations are completely different. Of the three, only vivo is moving up the innovation ladder as it put out a dual screen smartphone; the dual-lens main camera at the back also doubles as the ‘front’ snapper when the secondary screen fires up. For now, vivo confirms a new successor is on the way that may show up at MWC 2019.

As for the last one, both Huawei and honor confirm that something will appear in the coming weeks; this will likely be at or after CES 2019. Of the two in terms of ICT predictions, only the latter has something to shout about; after all, the all-new honor View 20 makes its official debut in China at the end of 2018.


Fold It Forward

Doing away the notch and empowering AI further are not the only changes that will become trendy topics for the smartphone space. Hot ICT predictions for 2019 include talks of a clam-shell design that will show up soon; like in the months of 2019. Interestingly, a newcomer tried to get an oversized clam-shell smart device to market in late-2018. While interesting, the Royale FlexPai comes with an unfavourable tablet mode and equally as jaw-dropping price-tag.

What the world knows so far is how both Samsung and LG are sitting on experimental designs. The two Korean tech giants are the ones behind flexible screen concepts, so this is the next logical step. Since China already made in-roads, it is not surprising to see how the Koreans are accelerating their efforts to take the lead. If not, it could very well be Motorola stepping up since it’s literally synonymous with the clam-shell design.

Death of the Phab?

With bigger and more innovative features now available on smartphones, one can imagine how large the chassis must be right now. Even as top-tier smartphone makers still fight for the thinnest space, they have somehow manage to make smartphones taller. The ideal 5.5″ form factor always had to deal with the near-6″ exception. For 2019 ICT predictions, that is now no longer the case as flagships now come in dimensions that top 6″ and already tipping towards 7″.


Somehow, the general masses are more accepting of super-large chassis designs. From complaints of being too big for one’s hand, everyone is asking what else can go onto smartphones. The dreaded phablet nightmare is now a reality. Even if the messed up naming is no longer in use, its legacy lives on as feature-heavy smartphones.

The Identity Crisis

Information security is no longer confined to simply using an anti-virus, a firewall, and practicing preventive measures. Now one has to be mindful of their online activities and remain alert for any dubious activities that harvest data. Threat actors are now becoming more pro-active in discovering and falsifying user behaviour to break in.

As data leaks become more common, it is best to be equally as vigilant in keeping one’s user profile safe. That means knowing more than just best practices and being wary of phishing attempts. Data loss, once a rare occurrence, is happening too frequently and has become an enabler for threat actors. Unsurprisingly, malicious activities are now accelerating at a rapid pace; among the many competing for most virulent and heavy damage are ransomware, identity theft, and the resulting frauds. Thanks to these information leaks, phishing scams are at an all time high. Ecosystem players, in their ICT predictions, believe black hats are also creating new processes to steal or circumvent personal identities, directly compromising more advanced authentication methods.


Immersive Reality

Just like how identity theft and information breaches are more personalised, next-gen ideas are also altering the user experience (UX). As next-gen technology becomes more engaging, user content have gain new levels of immersion. Both virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) concepts are now no longer single user-based. Instead, they are now in use at theme parks and team simulators, providing groups with even higher levels of interactivity.

As smartphones exceed 7″, VR/AR making way for mixed realities, and stronger gamer narrative, the UX is now richer. This goes beyond videogames as on-demand video streaming platforms and live sporting events are developing new user engagement processes.

ICT Predictions Coming True?

Like any other prediction list out there, these opinions have a 50-50 chance of being right. Anything related to honor and Samsung are likely to be true, going by the teasers they’ve been dropping. Gaming notebooks and smartphones might still be a big deal thanks to the CES 2019 hints from Intel and NVIDIA.

As for the rest, the incoming major tech events for the first-half of 2019 will be telling. Let’s hope there will be more big and happy surprises in the coming weeks and months.

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