Today’s guest post comes from Eduardo Bridges
Coolest Features of Upcoming Smartphones
Smartphones are always introducing cool new features that would have looked impossible only a few years ago. Who would have thought that flip phones would one day evolve to scan your face? Smartphone tech in the past was obsessed with size, battery power, and camera performance. Some of these priorities remained in 2017, but the innovation landscape is certainly shifting. Here’s a look at some of the mind-blowing features to expect on a smartphone that would be released in the coming two years:
3D Face ID Scanning
Inarguably, the most endearing feature on the iPhone X is the futuristic Face ID. Users can unlock the phone with their faces, supported by a TrueDepth camera and sensors with high-tech 3D scanning technology. Apple may have debuted this tech, but 3D scanning is coming to more phones in the immediate future. Qualcomm recently offered a sneak peek for 3D face scanning that is even more precise than what’s displayed on the iPhone X. Even Xiaomi, the Chinese budget smartphone maker, will soon unveil an Android phone with 3D face scanning features. Newer models that will debut in late 2018 and beyond would have even better TrueDepth camera technology.
Higher Screen-to-Body Ratios
Brace yourselves for the tiny bezel movement. Smartphone screens can always be bigger. But exactly how can you get an even bigger screen on a standard 5.5-inch phone? This year, Samsung Galaxy S8 presented an interesting solution: smaller bezels. Samsung reduced the bezels that surround the screen so much so that the display is seamlessly big. This same technique was mimicked by Xiaomi in their Mi Mix 2. It looks like the bulky iPhone X design is out. From 2018 and beyond, smartphone screens would sport “infinity” displays, where most of the phone’s front face would be used by the screen, with minimal bezels surrounding the glass. It’s a gorgeous solution as it is practical. Smartphone makers can get larger display sizes without making phones necessarily bigger, giving smartphones a significant advantage in its war against the tablets.
Though cool hardware does cause new buyers to flock to cool smartphone models, ultimately it’s the software that truly determines how well a smartphone performs. In the rat race to create the best smartphone operating system, manufacturers are now turning to artificial intelligence. AI can make existing software more accurate, user-friendly, and overall “smart.” For example, consider Huawei Mate 10 Pro and its superb pictures that actually look better than pictures taken on an iPhone X. The secret ingredient here is photo auto tuning assisted by AI designed by Huawei. While Mate 10 Pro doesn’t boast much better hardware than the iPhone X, it still beats the latter in the camera department (arguably). In the future, expect better performance propelled not by hardware innovations, but by AI-powered algorithms.
Augmented Reality Integration
The smartphone industry is not turning back on the Pokemon Go craze. In fact, more and more brands are looking forward to making smartphones more AR integrated. It’s more doable than VR integration. The earlier attempts to integrate smartphones with AR did fail because of mainly hardware issues. However, with new tools like ARCore introduced in Android Oreo or the ARKit coming with iOS, it’s possible to offer users AR features without requiring expensive or bulky hardware accessories. AR is no more a novelty feature on a handful of smartphone models. It’s increasingly becoming a must-have feature on future smartphone models.
Say goodbye to micro USB ports on smartphones. This year saw the grand debut of USB-C ports, which are faster, more convenient, and better looking than micro USB ports. The iPhone X uses a USB-C port to charge the phone significantly faster than before. That’s just the tip of the possibilities iceberg for USB-C ports, which are capable of incredible things unlike the port type it’s replacing. Expect more upcoming phone models to boast this type of connection that will bring better results.
No More Headphone Jacks
Apple definitely made some headlines when the company ditched the headphone jack in favor of the Lightning dock. Some saw this as a crass corporate move to sell more proprietary gadgets, while others saw a genuine step forward toward the future. In any case, a new trend has been born. Apple’s strategy didn’t go unnoticed by other major smartphone makers such as HTC, Google, and Essential. There is a host of new smartphones being released that do not have the once obligatory headphone jack. Some users prefer this while others still prefer to wear headphones instead of AirPods.
Overall, we can expect future smartphones to be less peripheral hardware intensive, more compact, but at the same time more capable and powerful as well. Smartphones are trying to be more like tablets in processing power and usability, but without losing the two most important qualities that define this personal device: portability and cellular communication. In the future, expect to see developers create better performing smartphones that aren’t bigger because of it.
Eduardo Bridges is a software engineer turned entrepreneur. He blogs about all things tech whenever he finds the time. Check out his guides and tech product roundups at bestcheaptech.com