Mobile Device User Interfaces Will Evolve Beyond Touchscreens During the Next Few Years

Since the emergence of the smartphone, touch has been the primary user interface technology for mobile devices, developing over time from single-point touch to multi-touch gestures.

Touch will remain the primary interface in smartphones, tablets, and smart watches. Haptics, which provides physical feedback to the user through vibration, will also remain widely used. However, according to a new report from Tractica, the future of mobile devices lies in multi-modal user interfaces.

“Voice-based technologies are the most important area of growth for mobile user interfaces,” says principal analyst Peter Cooney. “Well-established and emerging use cases, such as virtual digital assistants (VDAs), hands-free use, and always-on interfaces, will drive increasing use of speech recognition technologies. Additionally, voice recognition, which identifies the voiceprint identity of an individual user, will also be a key growth area for mobile device interfaces.”

The market intelligence firm forecasts that different emerging interface technologies will reach the following attach rates in mobile devices by 2020:

  • Speech Recognition: 82%
  • Localized Haptics: 45%
  • Gesture Recognition: 37%
  • Voice Recognition: 36%
  • Touchless/3D Touch: 28%
  • Eye Tracking: 18%

Tractica’s report, “Emerging Interface Technologies for Mobile Devices”, examines the market and technology issues surrounding interface technologies for mobile devices and then presents forecasts for interface hardware and software during the period from 2014 through 2020. Interface technologies and applications are analyzed in depth, and the report also includes detailed profiles of 24 key industry players. Market forecasts, segmented by mobile device type and world region, include four major interface groups and provide unit shipments and attach rates for eight technology segments. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.