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The year in review: top mobile trends for 2013

The year in review: Top mobile trends for 2013


You have to know where you've been to understand where you're headed - this old adage applies equally well to mobile technology as it does to other areas of life and culture. With 2013 only just beginning to shrink in the rearview, taking a second look at the year's defining smartphone and tablet trends can be a highly instructive exercise. If you're wondering what 2014 might have in store for the world of smart devices, here's a review of what characterized last year's mobile market.

Mobile becomes more affordable
The reduction in smartphone and tablet prices was one of 2013's most important - and welcome - mobile developments. According to ReadWrite, International Data Corp figures show that the average price of a smartphone dropped from $387 in 2012 to $337 last year. Some of the best and most popular devices released over the last 12 months were quite affordable: Google's Nexus 5 will run you $349, while Motorola's Moto G is a mere $179 off-contract. And while Apple hasn't changed its pricing for the iPhone very much over the past few years, the source noted that the IDC predicts a mobile handset will cost an average of $265 by 2017.

Perhaps the phenomenon shouldn't surprise us, though: As technologies become more widespread, their prices drop, as we've seen in the case of laptops, for example. And with smartphones now outnumbering feature phones worldwide and tablets becoming increasingly popular, lower costs should be a given.

Wearable devices gain traction
For some mobile enthusiasts, handsets and slates simply aren't enough. For these folks, mobile technology you can wear is the next frontier. And in 2013, some companies attempted to make this idea a reality.

Through the Glass Explorer program, Google ran a beta test of its yet-to-be-released Google Glasses, Search Engine Watch noted - so the dawn of eyewear with some of the capabilities of a smartphone may be just around the corner. The source also reported that the Mountain View, Calif., technology giant filed a patent for a smartwatch last year, although predictions of a similar device to be released by Apple are only rumors as yet.

Apple makes waves
Speaking of the Cupertino, Calif.-based titan, Apple claimed most of 2013's headlines in terms of new device releases and software updates. The iPhone 5S and 5C broke the company's first-weekend sales record when they were released in September, with approximately 9 million units sold, according to the firm. And mere weeks later, the iPad Air was released to rave reviews, shortly followed by the much-anticipated iPad Mini 2.

Apple also overhauled its mobile operating system: iOS 7 provided a much more dynamic, graphically complex interface than previous versions of the software. In fact, the changes were a bit too much for many users to handle: Some reported nausea from the increased movement of the app icons, while others noted that the update decreased their phones' battery lives. Subsequent updates worked out some of the kinks, however, and those who had more up-to-date iPhones were generally able to enjoy the new OS.

Windows Phone on the up-and-up
Despite Apple's success last year, Google's Android operating system remains the most popular platform worldwide. The real drama surrounded the No. 3 spot: Windows Phone edged out BlackBerry as the third most popular mobile OS. ReadWrite suggested that this development was due in part to Nokia's effort to broaden the number of devices and apps available for the Microsoft OS.

No matter how these trends might continue or change over the course of 2014, one thing is sure to remain true: Mobile devices are not a niche interest but an integral part of people's lives. ProtectCELL's device protection plans, which offer phone buyback and data backup, can help ensure that your device and its resources are there when you need them.

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