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2017: Smartphone trends to look forward to

The wireless world is evolving rapidly, with fancy new smartphones and wearable gadgets emerging all the time. The industry is changing at such rapid pace. It can be difficult to predict the next smartphone trend. With 2017 right around the corner, tech enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting what will come next in the world of mobile, gadgets, and smartphones. To gain some insight into possibilities in tech, we asked a panel of mobile enthusiasts to weigh in on smartphone trends for 2017. We asked them:

“What’re the biggest cell phone/smartphone trends  you’re the most excited about for 2017?”

Meet our panel of mobile enthusiasts and tech bloggers:

Michael Ajah


Michael Ajah is the CEO of NaijaTechGuy Inc. He’s a researcher, Web Developer, Programmer, and ICT expert.

“2017 is just around the corner. Here are some trends in smartphones you should expect next year…”

1. Faster LTE

4G LTE speeds will get a serious boost with new modem technologies. Smartphones like the Galaxy S7 and Apple’s iPhone 7 can download data over LTE networks at a maximum speed of 600Mbps (bits per second), and upload data at 150Mbps. Download speeds could reach close to 1Gbps with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X16 modem, which should reach devices in the second half of 2017. Achieving high speeds depends on the network capabilities of the service provider .


This is the year USB-C will be replacing the old micro-USB 2.0 ports in Android handsets. USB-C is very versatile. Apart from charging, it can also be used to connect mobile devices to high-definition monitors, headphones, flash drives, and external storage devices.

3. Wireless audio

There’s a huge chance that the majority of smartphones continue to include headphone jacks. But like Apple, some may become courageous enough to remove it. Those handsets will then have to switch to Bluetooth earphones. That means eliminating the headphone jack could result in thinner and lighter handsets. Some LeEco and Motorola devices have this setup.

Lindsay Boyajian


Lindsay Boyajian is the chief marketing officer of Augment. Augment, backed by Salesforce Ventures, is the leading augmented reality enterprise platform. Lindsay is the author of Content Engine: The Growth Hacker’s Guide to Content Marketing, and she was a 2016 finalist for Everstring’s Discovery Awards for Emerging Marketers in Tech.

“The single biggest mobile trend for 2017 is…”

Augmented reality. The success of PokemonGo in 2016 has primed consumers for more augmented reality mobile experience in 2017. Augmented reality applications will extend beyond gaming into retail. Top retailers like Wayfair and Lowe’s have already introduced augmented reality shopping applications for consumers. This trend will continue into 2017.

Kevin Carter


Kevin Carter has 20+ years of successful experience in all phases of marketing and sales management in the cellular sector. In the last four years at SmoothTalker he has seen the cellular signal booster category explode into a billion dollar category throughout the world.

“The need for additional cellular coverage, cellular performance and Cellular signal boosters for vehicles, in building and M2M applications will make a huge impact in 2017 and continue to expand at a lightning pace.”

Consumers have started taking matters in their own hands and improving their own cellular coverage. The more devices that connect to the network, the more anyone with a cellular device will need a cellular signal booster.

Marc Chen

Chen’s an inventor and CTO of Radient Micro-tech, a company that developed and has patented radio frequency harvesting technology for smartphones. He’s been granted nearly 15 patents over the course of his more than 20 years’ experience designing wireless and analog devices.

“The main energy priority of most smartphone manufacturers until very recently was to…”

Design the highest capacity battery, in the smallest package, and with the ability to charge as quickly as possible. This can make product design and high volume manufacturability very challenging. And, in response, I expect the emphasis to shift to battery efficiency in 2017 and beyond. This could include adding technology recycled from within a smartphone itself, which is a concept many people don’t know is already a reality. These new features will allow consumers to charge their device less frequently, while also enjoying the benefits of longer battery life.

Reducing the size of batteries will also allow manufacturers to minimize the environmental impacts associated with the mining, refining, and recycling of lithium batteries, which can be environmentally costly in the long term unless properly disposed.

Radical new technologies tend to be slowly adopted by manufacturers. But I hope and believe certain smartphones will begin to incorporate features aimed at promoting environmental consciousness and lessening their total environmental impact — and batteries are the logical place to start.

Mike Cobb


Mike Cobb oversees the daily operations of DriveSavers engineering department, including; scheduling and quality control, as well as developing custom solutions to handle unique data loss situations. He has been an integral part of DriveSavers for over 23 years.

“It seems that none of the smart device manufacturers had much in the way of features or technology to get super excited about in 2016…”

Possible technology that can come out in 2017:

  • Longer life batteries.
  • Better “live streaming” from phones.
  • Wireless charging. We’ve heard that Apple is working hard on getting this accomplished.
  • Modular phones. This would be for non-Apple devices. Google was going to do this, but seems to have pulled this out of development. Motorola is currently seeing some success in this department.

Jay Crain


Jay Crain is the CEO of Useful, an app that improves job management for field service companies. He enjoys time with his family and dogs in the mountains of Boulder, Colorado.

“A leading trend in 2017 will be…”

The increased use of smartphones for work, especially in traditionally non-digital sectors. As Steve Case lays out in The Third Wave, we are entering a period of transformation for real world sectors and smartphones will play a huge role in digitizing work.

One way this plays out is when businesses move toward digital and away from analog, or paper forms. The reaction can be astounding when an owner understands the efficiencies possible when they run a business through their tablet rather than the tried-and-true paperwork order and invoices route. Plus, research shows that getting off of paper is more profitable for businesses – an average increase of 17.5% in revenue for field service companies, for instance.

Apps like Useful are at the forefront of this movement. The Useful app allows crews to complete more jobs and allows the GM back at the office to know their location and any pitfalls they may have encountered. Getting rid of paper makes field service work more efficient! All thanks to employee smartphones and tablets.

Andrew Gazdecki


Andrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, one of the best app makers for small businesses, with over 500,000 customers worldwide.

“The biggest trend I predict for 2017 is that…”

Android instant apps will begin to emerge. Instant apps are the solution to abandoned apps. Google’s new technology will allow apps to run instantly when they are needed — no downloading, no installing. Simply search, have your app turn up and do its job, then move on. Instant apps are the perfect solution for a quick mobile experience.

Sagi Gidali


Sagi Gidali is the Founder and CPO of SaferVPN, a leading VPN (Virtual Private Network) service providing online security, privacy and freedom to hundreds of thousands of business leaders and consumers worldwide.

“I think the biggest trend coming to cell phone technology in 2017, and one I’m the most excited about, is…”

More advanced mobile security for unsecured Public Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi security is a growing concern for all of us – From the slew of fake Wi-Fi hotspots at this year’s summer Rio Olympics, to the growing threat of shared Airbnb networks.

In fact, a recent study by Kaspersky revealed that 1 in 5 people have been hit by cybercrime while abroad. This is because people are more likely to connect to open access, unsecured public Wi-Fi networks while they’re traveling. But unfortunately, networks are nearly always unsecured, and are therefore easily compromised by snoopers and hackers.

Meanwhile, Public Wi-Fi is only becoming more and more prevalent and popular. Cisco projected in their Visual Network Index Forecast that the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots will multiply seven times to 432 million in 2020. For us, this trend is highly relevant. In fact, we see it to be so significant, that we’ve altered our product accordingly to offer a new Automatic Wi-Fi Security feature on our mobile apps. Now, as soon as a person’s device connects to an unsecured Wi-Fi network, we automatically activate VPN security to immediately protect all their cell phone data — even if the phone is in their pocket and in locked mode.

I’m confident that the more we seek to remain connected online, and the more standard public Wi-Fi becomes. And the more this kind of security will be a must for businesses and consumers alike.

Simon de Haan


Simon de Haan is the Chief Engineer at and has the rare talent of demystify software systems and platforms for non-­engineers. He was the team lead on the organization’s Vumi platform, an open source messaging platform. Vumi is the technology that powers various groundbreaking initiatives such as Wikipedia Text, PeaceTXT, MomConnect, MAMA, and the Libyan election registrations.

“In 2017, I think the trend we should be monitoring is…”

Increasingly offline access for web applications, a move away from native applications. The installation of native applications poses many challenges for emerging markets, adding offline capabilities to web applications moves these applications into the space traditionally held by native applications without the hurdles of app stores, accounts, and credit cards.

Grayson De Ritis

Grayson De Ritis is a New Media Expert who creates websites, graphics, photos, paintings, and motorcycles. When not running Adobe CS through its paces, he’s riding around on two wheels or turning wrenches in the garage. Every day is a good one.

“I’d have to say that what I’m most excited about in 2017 among mobile trends is…”

The enhanced durability of cell phones, to the point of foldable screens. Smartphone features are as vast and varied as ever, but up until now have not really offered much by the way of sheer strength in construction. Shattered screens from a mere drop on the bathroom floor may soon be a thing of the past with Samsung, Oppo and others teasing mobile devices that bend and flex to the point of true fold-in-half tech. If you’re looking to upgrade or get into the smartphone market, 2017 could prove to be a very attractive year.

Tieece Gordon


Tieece Gordon is a huge fan of tech, particularly smartphones. He’s using his love of phones with A1 Comms, providing business phone solutions to help with everyday activities and communication.

“We’ve been screaming for it for years and it looks as though 2017 will be the year that we’ll be able to…”

Charge our smartphones quickly. The micro-USB ports of Android handsets are set to be replaced by a powerful USB-C.

There’s potential to charge for five minutes and run for five hours which is perfect if you’re always out or in a rush. It gets even more exciting when you consider that USB-C can connect smartphones to monitors and external storage devices such as flash drives.

Samsung have already introduced Fast charging and it’s been met with applause. 2017 will see this go even further.

Hamid Hameed


Hamid Hameed works for the mobile app XNSPY.

“Well, 2017 will definitely be the most competitive, even more than 2016 now that…”

Pixel has also joined the race. If I have to choose among the numerous 2017 unveilings, I’d say I’m excited for the HTC 10’s successor. There hasn’t been much said about the new HTC 11 but given this year’s overall impact in the smartphone industry things are just getting better and better. I would really like to see HTC up their game as they have never been the one to shy from bringing new innovations like the Sense Touch Feature going on in the news.

Brandon Landis


Brandon Landis heads up marketing & customer success at mobile app development platform Aquro.

“As someone working with a young company whose success will be made or broken on mobile trends, I wanted to weigh in on an aspect of cell phone tech in 2017 you might not hear as much about…”

Development. Hardware gimmicks like projectors, wireless charging, etc. will skyrocket to vogue in the coming year or two. But an unexpected trend will be the development and underwriting of apps. Quicker coding methods like hybrid (writing Android/iOS apps in HTML/CSS/JavaScript) or even progressive web apps will overtake native app writing. People work to bridge the gap between mobile web and the native app experience.

All the way back in 2013, Gartner predicted that by the end of 2016, over 50% of apps deployed to the app store would be created with hybrid technology. Mostly, it’s because writing with an HTML5 codebase instead of Swift for iOS and then Java for Android, lets people make apps for multiple platforms simultaneously instead of having to code twice.

That said, a segment of devs have invested a lot of time in learning to code in native languages, and it will be interesting to see how they adapt as more developers have the skills needed to create app. And if it forces native devs to lower prices/switch to hybrid to be able to complete projects quicker.

Z. Ed Lateef


Z. Ed Lateef has successfully founded businesses across many different sectors. He is the Chairman of Intelliverse, a global leader in enterprise software and managed services. With a strong passion for innovation, he drives the vision for growth and evolution of the businesses for the group. He founded some of the key growth and innovative companies of the group.

“Apart from what has already being launched in the market, there are few trends that are likely to be dominating the year 2017…”

Among them, OLED displays, wireless charging, and biometric identification.

These technologies will be adopted by most of the smartphone manufacturers. After the LCD displays, the next-gen smartphones come with OLED and AMOLED displays. The advantage of OLED display is not only bright high-resolution display unit, but it’s also effective in optimizing battery usage in smartphones.

The implementation of 5G wireless technology

would be one of the biggest game changers in the industry next year. The major telecom providers in the United States are preparing the 5G launch in 2017. And there are claims that the 5G network will have a download speed of 1 Gbps.

Wireless charging is the next trend that is predicted to increase.

Although this feature is currently available in a few Samsung phones but more awareness about the technology is required. Touch-id technology is supposed to become more prevalent as it is immensely popular among customers of iPhone and Samsung. There are few more sophistications in the next-gen smartphones, along with more features in cameras and battery optimization of the phones.

Phillip Lutz

Phillip Lutz runs a cellular device-based website, Unboxed Reviews Today.

“I tend to keep up to date on the newest findings like 5G. In 2017, Verizon plans to…”

Launch the first 5G in the world. This will change data use as we know it. Support for self driving cars, and a world connected.

Katie Lynch


Katie is the managing editor and a frequent contributor at Family Living Today, the Web’s leading, free resource and trusted advisor on family living. She’s been writing about family lifestyle topics and trends since 2013.

“One trend I’m really excited to see in 2017 in mobile is…”

The growth and improved usability of family safety mobile tech. Sure, there are dozens or more of those child safety apps already. But with gadgets like Verizon’s GizmoPal 2, the mobile world is stepping up to the plate with user-friendly devices that actually work in real-world scenarios with younger kids.

In other words, you don’t have to buy your 5-year-old a smartphone in order to add a layer of safety. Yet, it is important to gain peace of mind when your child is out of sight for a few minutes.

Bruce Macfarlane

Bruce Macfarlane is the founder of, which helps helps MDM and TEM software companies receive invoices from any service carrier. Kansoly turns any service carrier’s invoice into a structured .csv file. Kansoly provides invoice data integration between service carriers and their device management solution.

“For me the biggest trends are in the software to…”

Support the management of cell phones (and more broadly mobile devices) by corporates.

Mobile Device Management and Telecom Expense Management are becoming increasingly integrated so that IT managers can both manage the applications on devices as well as manage user spend. This will result in mergers and aquisitions, fewer device management applications and an increased need to manage the lifecycle from carrier invoicing to device management.

SC Moatti


While working at Facebook, Trulia, and Nokia, SC Moatti built mobile products that are used today by billions of people – one of them received an Emmy nomination. Some people call her “a genius at making mobile products people love.” Today, she helps companies succeed with mobile.

“Mobile in 2016 is moving into big industries: shipping, oil & gas, insurance, transportation, etc. Here is how…”

Big service industries like insurance and banking have made only very small inroad into mobile. But 2017 might be the time for them to go big. Now that smartphones are mainstream, these companies are uniquely positioned. Think about Amex for example, they know what we buy, where we travel, and much more. What if they used that information to recommend purchases right where and when we need it?

Heavy industries like oil & gas, or shipping, will be forced to turn to innovation in 2017 due to low oil prices. Their margins are shrinking and they need to find ways to cut cost. Take shipping for instance, an industry that is mobile by essence. None of the top players in that space is able to monitor their ships in real time, let alone the inventory that travels on their ships. Using mobile technology onboard can create a competitive differentiator, by both lowering inventory cost and increasing reliability of deliveries.

One thing all these industries need to watch out for: building poorly designed mobile products. Why? Employees, just like anyone, carries mobile products with them and treats them like extensions of themselves. They want their mobile products to “just work.” And that comes with expectations of usability, efficiency, personalization, continuous improvement, etc. Large industries assuming their tools aren’t required to follow these rules will get disappointing business results from their mobile initiatives.

Mark Pedersen


Mark has been developing for the web since 2001, always with a penchant for open-source technologies such as PHP. Since 2010, he has been working full time with app development, these days being employed at Nodes, a leading European app agency. He also regularly contributes to WordPress and other open-source projects.

“In the coming year, on the hardware side, we’re seeing…”

Processing power becoming increasingly significant in terms of rivaling desktop computers, and that in turn enables machine learning and other artificial intelligence movements to gain serious traction.

Microsoft opened up a new department with 5000 employees dedicated to researching and developing AI/ML hardware and software solutions. And with Amazon, Google, IBM and Apple also following suit, I believe we’re on the verge of a new era, in terms of small device intelligence.

Progressive Web Apps as a concept could also prove quite significant in the upcoming months, since it  saves battery usage. It saves battery by allowing website visitors to browse pages with PWA’s enabled in offline mode, thus saving on one of the biggest battery consumers, the network/Wi-Fi antenna.

While PWA’s are just one example, I believe we’ve reached a point in terms of hardware where the battery technology has reached almost a peak in terms of capacity and durability, and the focus could very well shift from battery hardware, to improving the software on phones to better handle antenna connections in bursts, compared to now where most users have their Wi-Fi on at all times.

Evan Rose


Evan Rose is a web/mobile applications developer and entrepreneur. In 2014, he started Rose Digital, a New York based minority-owned digital agency focused on mobile and single page responsive web applications. And since then has built and delivered web and mobile applications for companies like Ford, American Express, and Zoetis.

“We’re most excited about the merging of…”

Mobile and mixed reality. As phones become better equipped with the hardware (both camera and display) to develop immersive experiences, I think we’ll see a great deal more interactivity with the real world. This means that your phone will be able to capture 360 photos/video. You’ll be able to annotate it like you would with Snapchat. At the enterprise level, it means that you could walk into a store and have your phone overlay the physical store with directions to sales you might like based on your profile. There are still issues with latency and frame rate, but mobile phone technology is moving in the right direction to enable these experiences.

Katia Shabanova


Katia Shabanova is the Head of Public Relations for Paragon Software Group.

“Mobile applications have started to apply machine learning…”

Google Photo and Apple Photos started using training grids to recognize people and events on photos. Several applications released, in which machine learning was the main appeal. For example, in Prisma — the app uses training grid for photo processing.

Machine learning has come to personal assistants as well. So, starting with iOS Siri it started to adapt for the user, and Google has also released its own Assistant. Google and Amazon have used it to improve speech quality in Text-to-Speech. For developers we now have ready services, built on machine learning. Google has expanded its Cloud Vision API, Amazon introduced at once three services and one framework. Next year, we will see more examples of successful implementation of machine learning on mobile platforms of different types. Machine learning is the trend.

Michael Sueoka


Michael Sueoka is Head of User Experience at The Mobile Majority in Los Angeles, currently the fastest growing tech company in Los Angeles. He helped Grindr, Honda, EXOS, MC & Saatchi, Daily Associates, Ohio State University, HCHB, DivX, and Entertainment Arts. He taught at UCLA and Cal State Long Beach.

“The single biggest cell phone / smart phone trend I’m most excited for…”

The growing access to VR / AR technologies. People use many of these technologies for entertainment  – but soon people will use them for much more.

Ashley Turner


Ashley Turner is director of Gadget Valuer – one of America’s biggest gadget trade-in comparison sites. Launching in 2009, the founding team wanted to create a completely independent recycling comparison website after running an actual phone recycling site. Such experience in the recycling market means Turner is constantly in touch with the latest trade-in trends and consumer habits.

“One of the most exciting bits of cell phone technology advancement…”

… caused another “Samsung versus Apple” debate in our offices recently was the rumors of Apple’s next device offering wireless charging.

Foxconn Technology Group (based in New Taipei City, Taiwan) is said to be the company working on making wireless charging modules for Apple’s upcoming flagship phone, the iPhone 8. The release of the iPhone 8 is expected to be in 2017, and will include the ability to charge wirelessly.

The patent application (filed in late 2015) from Apple was recently published and goes into the key details of the new charging device. It shows multiple illustrations of a circular charging station with a clear support surface. You can place your device on it and receive wireless charging. This device will also have a USB port enabling it to be connected to the standard Apple plug socket or charge through portable devices like laptops and USB outlets.

John Turner


John Turner is CEO/Founder of QuietKit, which provides guided meditation for beginners (for free).

“The single biggest cell phone technology trend for 2017 is…”

The growth of importance of encryption and data security. As more and more people use smart phones, and more people become worried about who can access our data, more encryption related products and apps are more widely used. And consumers want to know prying eyes are shielded their data and information. So data encryption continues to grow.

Lyle Underkoffler


Lyle Underkoffler is General Manager of Mobile for IAC Applications, leading the company’s Apalon business unit. In his role, Lyle manages all facets of business strategy, product innovation and growth for Apalon’s mobile applications for consumers and businesses. Prior to joining IAC Applications, Lyle served as Vice President of Digital Media for The Walt Disney Company, where he oversaw the kids and family mobile business for Disney Consumer Products. In addition, he served as Director of Strategy for Disney Publishing Worldwide, leading strategy and business development aimed at driving global growth.

“There are two trends I expect to see in 2017…”

1. The new personalization: Apps used to be about personalizing the hardware and communication. But the future is focused on health and well-being, which serves to fundamentally change society by extending lifespan/preventing illness/etc. Sensors and Artificial Intelligence will be the power behind this.

2. Consumer Augmented Reality: With advances in camera technology to include depth (+ the power to compute in the cloud) Augmented Reality will reach consumers’ hands and be more impactful than Virtual Reality.

Kris Wagner


Kris Wagner is the marketing director at ViewRanger, a leading developer in GPS and augmented reality based in Cambridge, UK.

“In 2017, I’m most excited about Augmented Reality”

It’s going to change the way we view and interact with people and places. AR is going to help us build and fix things, teach us about the objects around us, and allow us to explore the world like never before. We also overlay navigation arrows and interesting points on the real landscape to help guide them on the trail. But this is just the beginning, we are entering another age of discovery. Everything around us has a story or info about it. AR can layer all this information layered onto the real world.

Summer Wier


Summer Wier is the Director of Operations at Fix It Fast, a leading provider of mobile device repair services.

“Consumers are excited about the idea of ‘shatterproof’ screens in 2017.” 

But for now, we believe they’re no more than an over-hyped trend. Unfortunately, shatterproof doesn’t exactly mean unbreakable in our experience. While shatterproof screens may have a big future in mobile devices, in 2017 the juice isn’t yet worth the squeeze.

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