Wearables & Mobile Tech
Report: Mobile Devices Shifting from Touch to Sensors
Over the next five years, mobile and wearable devices will rely less on
touchscreen user interfaces and increasingly on sensors, and the next generation
of devices and the Internet of Things will drive development of voice, gesture,
eye-tracking and other interfaces, according to a new study from
The report, "Mobile
Device User Interface Innovation," looks at popular types of user interfaces
and the emergence of "natural sensory technologies" from the research lab to the
development department. Types of user interfaces covered in the report include
graphical user interfaces, home screens, sensors and perceptual computing, voice
and natural language, eye tracking, gestures and proximity, sensor integration,
global navigation satellite system (GNSS), GPS and augmented reality
applications, as well as hybrid or blended interfaces. The report also examines
the application of user interfaces to smart phones, tablets and wearables.
According to ABI Research, the shift from touch interfaces to sensors and
other interfaces creates complexity for companies developing the next generation
of mobile devices, and the challenge for developers will be translating that
complexity into user interfaces that are simple enough to be intuitive. As the
Internet of Things becomes reality, developers must grapple with the question of
whether each device should have its own unique user interface or whether the
devices should be controlled externally through a mobile device or centralized
“Touch got mobile device usability to where it is today, but touch will
become one of many interfaces for future devices as well as for new and future
markets,” said Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI Research, in a prepared
statement. “The really exciting opportunity arrives when multiple user
interfaces are blended together for entirely new experiences.”
In its examination of 11 unique device features from wireless connectivity to
embedded sensors, the report found that from 2014 to 2019, "hand and facial
gesture recognition will experience the greatest growth in future smartphone and
tablet shipments," and these devices will use gesture recognition for a variety
of purposes, from monitoring user attentiveness to device navigation.
Ultimately, the development of new user interfaces in mobile devices will affect
the design of devices for the home and car.
The full report, "Mobile Device User Interface Innovation," is available for
purchase as a downloadable PDF from the
ABI Research site.
Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.