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10 Mobile Technology Trends & Predictions for 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of ChannelE2E's Top 10 Predictions for 2016. Here, we reveal our Top 10 Mobile Technology Predictions for 2016 -- based on what we're hearing from multiple sources and our own knack for tracking down news and views.

Now, onto the list…

10. Mobile M&A: Enterprise mobile companies will consolidate. Expect enterprise tech giants like Adobe, Amazon, Cisco, HP, Intel and Salesforce to shop for smaller players like enterprise mobile application companies like AnyPresence, Appcelerator, Kinvey, Kony, Xamarin or Xively. Sources: Forrester and CNBC.

9. MDM Profits: Managed service providers (MSPs) in the small business market will still struggle to charge a premium for mobile device management (MDM). Instead, MSPs will continue to roll MDM into overall per-user pricing experiences for desktop, mobile and smartphones. MDM-related revenue will flow a bit more freely in midmarket and enterprise accounts. But even there, vendor consolidation will be a warning sign that MDM never quite lived up to its hype.

8. Mobile Big Data, Machine Learning: Smartphones will continue to evolve into mobile sensors that feed data into beacon networks and cloud-based machine learning systems. But Apple will buck the trend a bit, continuing to load more and more intelligence onto smartphones (as endpoints) rather than crunching all the data back in the cloud.

7. Apple, IBM Go Midmarket: The IBM-Apple relationship will gradually move downstream -- extending beyond large enterprises into midmarket accounts. Gradually, the relationship could even impact smaller businesses -- as IBM helps to deliver more vertical market applications on Apple's iOS operating system.

6. Apple Watch 2: The next Apple smartwatch will ship somewhere around April 2016. It will allow Apple to leapfrog Fitbit as the No. 1 provider of wearable devices. But Apple's success will still be a failure, since Apple Watch 2 will remain a niche device rather than a must have mobile add-on.

5. Microsoft Surface Phone: Microsoft will ship -- or at least unveil -- its first Surface Phone. The device will have strong similarities to the Surface tablet and Surface Book notebook. Though not a huge mainstream hit, Surface Phone will enjoy a strong attachment rate among Microsoft's tablet and notebook customers -- making the smartphone a niche but respectable success.

4. Mobile App Consolidation: Even as the app market grows, consumers will spend more and more time in fewer and fewer apps. A prime example: US consumers current spend 84% of their time each month in five or fewer apps. That means app developers will need to partner and share data in order to raise each company's visibility in the mobile app economy.  Source: Julie Ask, Forrester.

3. Mobile Developers: Multiple vendors will strive to shift the mobile app development focus away from iOS and Android. Microsoft will double down on PowerApps, while Apple tries to strengthen its cross-platform strategy (iOS, OS X, tvOS, and watchOS) with the Swift open source application development language.

2. ChannelE2E Mobile: After Nines Inc. has already fully optimized ChannelE2E for mobile devices. But our company will experiment in a new way with mobile, offering something to select ChannelE2E readers to test...

1. Mobile Security: This will become the number-one hot-button issue of the year, amid heightened terrorist activity. Government leaders and Silicon Valley will continue to feud over mobile encryption on Apple iOS and Google Android devices. The situation will become heated as government authorities confiscate encrypted mobile devices from suspected terrorists. Massive service providers like telcos may bow (again) to government spying requests and pressures. However, device and software giants like Apple and Google will continue to insist that government back doors into encrypted devices cause more risks than they resolve.

Note: ChannelE2E is running 2016 technology predictions throughout the month of December 2016.Submit predictions for consideration to [email protected]. Read all daily predictions here.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.