From the sublime to the ridiculous: a snapshot of consumer trends in mobile

It's getting to that time of year when we start to review the major events and trends in the mobile industry during 2015, and look ahead to how they will evolve in the next 12 months and beyond -- and what else may also lie ahead.

Reviews of the year and forecasts for 2016 are starting to trickle in from analysts and industry alike. For example, CCS Insight and Ericsson took the approach of reviewing some of the consumer buzzwords and trends that have taken root this year and look set to stay with us over the coming months and years.

Some terms or phrases are perhaps more pejorative than others. CCS Insight listed "device addiction" among the trends that it believes will still matter during 2016, painting a rather dismal picture of a world of smartphone and tablet owners with their heads permanently tilted downwards.

Zero rating is another term to have permeated the collective consciousness of net neutrality proponents. This not so new practice of mobile operators and others to offer content without charging for the data it consumes has become the latest whipping boy for open Internet lobbyists, who believe it represents a major infringement of the principles of net neutrality.

Other terms are just a bit quirky and possibly still a little fluid, such as "moodables" -- wearable devices that can detect a user's mood and adjust output accordingly, as described by CCS Insight.

Ericsson, for its part, placed a focus on broad consumer trends, such as the rather alarming sounding "streaming natives", which conjures up all sorts of images but in fact refers to teenagers who watch a bit too much YouTube. "Virtuality" is also invading the mainstream -- apparently half of the smartphone users Ericsson surveyed want a 3D selfie that can be used as an avatar to try on clothes online. The mind boggles.

As for me, I think my least favourite trend to have emerged in the last couple of years is the selfie stick. That is one I will happily see crash and burn in 2016 -- although apparently by then we will all be using the belfie stick. I'll leave you to work that one out.--Anne

Suggested Articles

Sprint said it will offer discounted service to customers age 55 and above.

Unlimited data plans placed a strain on carrier networks last year, but according to OpenSignal the carriers met the challenge.

Verizon plans to bring 5G to four U.S. cities this year and hopes to have standards-based equipment in place for some of those deployments.