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The biggest mobile device trends and news stories of 2016

What do Samsung, BlackBerry, Pokémon GO and the New England Patriots' coach have in common? All were part of mobile news stories that made mainstream headlines in 2016.

Like a heartwarming moment with the Tanner family on Full House, newsworthy mobile moments are everywhere you look.

Mobile devices made the mainstream news several times this year, from Samsung's explosive new phones to New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick telling us how he really feels about using tablets on the sidelines.

Without further ado, here are four memorable stories of mobile device trends from 2016:

BlackBerry devices bite the dust -- almost

After CEO John Chen said in September that BlackBerry would hang up its hardware hat, he backtracked in November with the news of another smartphone -- complete with its trademark physical keyboard -- in the works.

BlackBerry has yet to provide details on the phone or its release date, but it will most likely run on Android; the company ditched its own operating system in favor of Google's for its previous 2016 smartphones.

BlackBerry devices may have come close to kicking the bucket this year, but the company continues its push in enterprise mobility management (EMM) software. Last year, the company bought rival EMM provider Good Technology, taking a 21% chunk of the EMM market. BlackBerry is also working with Ford Motors on security software for connected cars.

Samsung's explosive year

If Billy Joel's hit song "We Didn't Start the Fire" were set in 2016, it could point the finger at Samsung and its debacle with the Galaxy Note 7.

The Note 7 garnered rave reviews for its curved design, biometrics security features and overall performance, but a spate of battery fires led to the company recalling, and eventually halting all production of the device. Some analysts fear the fires damaged more than just the product line -- Samsung's reputation as a smartphone giant could be tarnished as well.

Pokémon GO teases AR in the enterprise

Judging from the headlines, 2016 was a newsworthy year for mobile devices.

Pokémon GO, the popular mobile game, brought augmented reality technology -- meshing the physical and virtual worlds through the use of digital objects appearing in real-world settings -- to the mainstream. But other than sending employees scrambling around their workplaces brandishing their smartphones in the hopes of "catching them all," has Pokémon GO had any real effect on the enterprise?

The question has yet to be answered. Most companies giving augmented reality a spin are still in the experimental stages, and it could take a while to determine AR business models and uses, such as hands-free design documents or data gathering.

Organizations wanting to implement AR have roadblocks to encounter that they can't defeat by summoning a Charizard, including high costs, low ROI and lack or user readiness and development tools.

NFL coach not a tablet fan

Belichick gave his quarterback Tom Brady a run for his money when he angrily threw a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 after his team suffered a loss in October. In a follow-up conference call, the typically taciturn coach let it fly when it came to discussing his dislike of his NFL-issued tablet.

The coach said he was not impressed and would rather stick with printed pictures, claiming tablets cause too many hiccups and thus hurt the team's performance on the field. Part of the problem, according to Belichick, is that the NFL gives teams their tablets a few hours before game time, and that doesn't give the IT department enough time to troubleshoot the devices.

Despite the use of tablets in the enterprise becoming one of the more popular mobile device trends, for old pros like Belichick, using newfangled tech just can't beat kicking it old-school.

Judging from the headlines, 2016 was a newsworthy year for mobile devices, and 2017 should prove to be no different. With the tenth anniversary iPhone 8, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S8, on the way, the rise in popularity of 2-in-1s and Windows 10 Mobile starting to make a dent, expect to see even more mobile device trends make headlines next year.

Next Steps

What mattered in mobility in 2016?

How PCs could push mobility in 2017

Mobile security tops 2017 priority list

This was last published in December 2016

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