Top 5 Mobile Trends to Watch Out for at SXSW

March 2, 2016

4:13 pm

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For many in the tech industry, SXSW is an event where many of the year’s upcoming mobile trends display themselves in the form of various product launches and announcements. From startups hoping to make it in the everyday tech discourse to well-established tech leaders like Google, SXSW provides an opportunity to look at how tech companies respond to the incessant changes in our modern ethos. This year, expect to see a continuation of some of the trends spotted last year – such as further development into connected devices and growth in civic engagement apps (particularly considering this year’s U.S. presidential election) – but also look to a few others that we predict will have a larger presence.

These are the top 5 mobile trends you need to be on the lookout for at SXSW 2016:

Pressure-Sensitive Display Utilization

Thanks to Apple’s 3D Touch display, we should expect to see the nascency in apps utilizing pressure-sensitive displays. While adoption of this mobile tech is still at its early stages (indeed, with Apple’s 3D Touch itself only available on the newer iPhone 6S models), we’ve already seen some interesting uses of it.

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

With simple solutions like Google Cardboard, mobile users already have access to basic tools to experience virtual and augmented reality from their phones. In 2016, we’ll see an even bigger push into the VR/AR space, as devices like the Oculus Rift (and many others) begin to launch their products. At SXSW, we may see a push towards mobile-centric immersive content delivery similar to the experience provided by Facebook 360.

Mobile Finance

Financial tech (Fintech) is booming around the world (with American companies leading global investments at around 80 percent of all funding in the industry). While we’ll certainly continue to see growth in the mobile payments space specifically, we should also expect to see rising diversity in other kinds of mobile finance apps – from personal finance management to investing.


Last year, we saw the emergence and rapid adoption of Meerkat – quickly followed by the rise of Periscope. In a recent podcast interview with Brian Solis, the social media marketing expert predicted that there’s huge potential for these kinds of live-streaming apps. With increasing consumer desire for on-demand video, more nontraditional methods of streaming content will arise.

Health and Fitness

We’ll see increased dependence on our mobile devices to monitor and manage our personal health and fitness. From apps that help families manage their child’s cancer treatment to continued interest in personal wellness monitoring, expect to see more companies turn to mobile.

This article was brought to you in partnership with Mobile Future, whose expertise in wireless innovations is helping to inform and connect tech innovators, mobile entrepreneurs, and policymakers.

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Can’t make it to SXSW this year?

Check out Mobile Future’s free webinar on March 24th for a look at ideas, ideas and startups that stood out at SXSW:

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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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