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<div>STORAGE</div><div>Sandisk recently launched a microSD card with 200GB capacity. Most smartphones rely on brands like Sandisk for their SSD/flash memory, so watching developments and new products from these manufacturers delivers an insight into future storage trends. In the next 5 years the nano-scale manufacturing process which are currently being developed will further improve the capacity of micro storage and enhanced connectivity will further drive cloud based backup and remote storage solutions. By 2020 it should be possible to cost effectively deliver 1TB of local storage in a mobile device with unlimited cloud based storage.</div>
<div>IMAGE SENSORS</div><div>Every year at Mobile World congress Imaging Sensor manufacturers deliver the latest breakthroughs in Image sensor quality. If you take the combination of currently available multi camera solutions like the LIGHT camera and lightfield technology like the LYTRO and combine it with the continued evolution of core image sensors it is feasible that by 2021 smartphones could easily be equipped with 50Megapixels sensors shooting UHD4K video as standard (without the current limitations of storage and battery issues) Still Images will be near DSLR quality and continued development of Apple's Lightning based MFI programme and expansion of the USB OTG standard for Android devices will mean that external camera modules will be the solution to overcome optical image magnification issue. Devices like the DXO One, Flir One, Seek Thermal camera and the Insta360 Nano indicate that the "Add On" camera module market has huge potential going forward offering diverse solutions for different markets. </div>
<div>BATTERY</div><div>The current achilles heel of every smartphone/tablet is limited battery life - particulalry if you are using them for processor intensive activities like shooting 4K or editing. Battery technology however is benefitting from a boom in research and development investment. Companies like TESLA are driving all other car manufacturers to offer all electric vehicle solutions and that future demand is in turn driving even more research into advanced energy solutions. A recent report on EV market growth indicated a 300% growth to over 3million vehicle sales globally by 2021. That will place huge demands on battery manufacturers to develop and deliver more efficient battery technology - principally to overcome "range anxiety". The smart device industry will benefit in kind from these developments..</div>
<div>5th Generation Mobile Network</div><div>Probably the biggest evolution over the next 5 years will be the launch and roll out of the 5G mobile standard. This will deliver peak connectivity data transfer rates of between 1Gbps and 10Gbps. Aside from playing a pivotal role in the Internet of Things and connected devices this means that delivering high resolution 4K video on demand or indeed live-streamed will become a viable offering. The mobile device could in time, be more than just a control surface for your smart/connected home it could become the defacto OTT solution for 4K delivery to your large-screen 4K TV for shared experience social events (Sports/Movies) but equally be your personal 4K screen for news and niche/social/personalised content. </div>
<div>VIDEO CODECS</div><div>Even though 5G will bring substantially better bandwidth, users will still be mindful of data tarriffs, particularly when roaming. As the trend towards more video continues and as the development of 360 video content grows exponentially it will be necessary for new video codecs to make compression more efficient. H.265 otherwise known as HEVC is the most well known (and likely) successor to MP4/H,264 upon which most mobile video and web video traffic runs currently. However HEVC appears to be fraught with expensive patent licencing and this may in fact stifle its adoption. Companies like Cisco (Thor) Google (VP9) and others including Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix and Intel have formed a strategic alliance to create an alternative to HEVC. With brands like those mentioned driving the evolution of the next generation video codecs you can be sure that by 2021 4K or even 8K delivery will be a reality and if current video consumption trends are anything to go by, mobile will be a key beneficiary of those developments. </div>
<div>SCREEN RESOLUTION</div><div>Apple has had "Retina Display" screens on some of its mobile devices for a number of years now. Retina Display refers to devices and monitors that have a resolution and pixel density so high – roughly 300 or more pixels per inch – that a person is unable to discern the individual pixels at a normal viewing distance. The key part of that description is NORMAL VIEWING DISTANCE. What is guaranteed to change over the next 5 years is the normal viewing distance of your mobile. Consider if you will, what happens when you put your mobile device into a VR Viewer like Google Cardboard. The two lenses magnify the screen to give you a limited field of view which create the effect of a sterescopic image. They also magnify the pixels meaning that current viewing experiences are pretty poor. Now consider the fact that Sony has already dropped a 4K resolution smartphone (the Xperia Z5 Premium) with 806PPI (thats more than double Retina Display) but it means that the pixel density is so dense that even when magnified in a VR Viewer the dots should be substantially less noticeable leading to a much more immersive and higher quality VR experience. Also, for the time being neither Youtube or Netflix offer 4K streams to smartphones- why would they? The bandwidth is not there over 3G and even if it were over Wifi there is no phone (other than the Xperia Z5) which can view the content at full res. However if you take the other driving forces mentioned (Storage, Optics, Battery, 5G and codecs) you will see that by 2021 4K or higher will be an absolutely viable platform for mobile.</div>
<div>360 Video | AR | MR | VR</div><div>The jury is still out on whether Immersive experiences will be the "next big thing" or the next 3DTV. For what its worth I think Immersive is going to grow exponentially over the next 5 years (with a few* caveats) Having experienced Facebook's Oculus Rift I can absolutely see how Virtual Reality will fundamentally change the way people experience gaming. I think it will also have a huge impact on tourism, real estate, shopping and education. Once users have passed their initial *WOW* factor experience the challenge will be creating content which really utilizes the experiential nature of VR/AR. The thing is, the amount of people who will spend $600 on an Oculus Headset plus an additional $2000 on a powerful enough PC with a super Graphics Card to drive it, will be quite limited. However Mobile, as it will evolve over the next 5 years, will become the point of access to 360 Video | AR | MR | VR for the majority of users. Couple with this the continued growth of wearable technology, watches, glasses, sensors etc and the SmartDevice will become the thread that binds the user of 2021 to his/her digital, experiential, connected self.</div>