January 9th 2019
SMARTPHONE TRENDS IN 2019
According to Statista, the number of worldwide mobile phone users is expected to pass 5 Billion by 2019 this year. There always seems to be year-on-year growth because smartphones are constantly evolving.
Take a look at one of the most powerful smartphones in 2015 (iPhone 6s Plus), compared to one of the most powerful smartphones released in 2018, the Huawei Mate 20.
There is already a clear difference in not only looks, but also power under the hood. So, what can we expect to see in 2019?
TRUE BEZEL-LESS PHONES
If you aren’t a fan of the notch, you’ll be excited to hear that 2019 will probably be the year of the true Bezel-less phones.
Already, we have seen ‘true’ bezel-less phones in 2018, with the likes of the Oppo Find X, or the Vivo Nex, which opted for motorised units housing the front and rear cameras, as well as adding either a facial recognition system or an in-display fingerprint scanner.
Then, we saw the bizarre ZTE Nubia X and the Vivo Nex Dual which both managed to fit touch-screen OLED displays on the back of the devices, allowing you to take an easy selfie using the rear camera. Or, you could use the back screen as an alternative to the front.
And to top it all off, we have a nostalgic throwback of the slider phone. The Honor Magic 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 are in my opinion a much smarter (and probably cheaper to manufacture) alternative solution to remove the notch.
As unfortunate as it is, these devices don’t allow a keyboard to be slide out, but instead allow the whole back of the phone to slide above, revealing their front camera arrangement.
These are all quite extreme measures to eliminate the notch and I expect that the future bezel less phones will adopt a camera and fingerprint scanner underneath the screen. Who will be the first major manufacturer to release a phone like this? My bet’s on Samsung. I do think however the new slider phone design will stick around.
THE RISE OF THE ‘GAMING PHONE’
Did you know that Mobile has the biggest share of the whole Gaming Market, reaching an estimated $70.3 Billion? More than games consoles ($34.6 Billion) or PC’s ($32.9 Billion). In general, phones are getting much more powerful, have better battery life and are able to run high-demanding games.
There were a few interesting phones that came out in 2018 that were built with mobile gaming in mind. Most notably the Asus ROG and Razer phones.
These devices came with the latest and greatest specs at the time of their release and aimed to maximise performance by building a phone with more aggressive cooling on the devices so they wouldn’t thermal throttle (decrease in power when the device gets above a certain temperature).
The Razer phones came equipped with impressive front-facing speakers and a 120Hz screen that displayed animations with pretty much no stutter, and the Asus RoG phone had additional buttons that acted like the triggers when the phone was in landscape mode.
For 2019, I predict we will see more gamer centric phones enter the fray. With such a huge profitable market to explore, it wouldn’t make business sense if it were ignored.
MORE CAMERAS! QUALITY VS QUANTITY?
The Huawei Mate 20 has 3 cameras on the back of the phone, with a further selfie on the front. The Samsung A9 has 4 Cameras on the back, with another on the front. Multi-Camera phones are usually standard now, but those are a lot of cameras on a phone.
The debatable king of Smartphone photography, the Google Pixel 3/3 XL only has one camera on the rear and produces some of the most impressive smartphone photography we have seen.
Either way, whether a phone has 4 cameras on the back, or just one. What is clear to see is that camera quality looks lightyears ahead compared to 5 years ago. Of course, camera software will improve, but as for hardware?
My bet for 2019 would be manufacturers to follow in Samsung’s footsteps and introduce Dual Aperture (or even more!) lenses on their camera units.
The ability to change apertures (or at least have more options available) will allow smartphones to step on the toes of DSLR’s and Mirrorless Camera systems, making investing in a dedicated camera for the general user less desirable.
The big flagship phones of 2019 are probably going to be more expensive than those released in 2018. Especially the ‘true’ bezel-less phones that will have to opt for either a secondary display on the back, motorised cameras or in-display tech which is going to cost much more money to not only manufacture, but initially design.
Not to mention, much more expensive to repair. To replace just the back-glass of the iPhone XS Max (which doesn’t have secondary screen technology implemented) costs £596.44!
This is a trend that has been going on for quite some time, even ‘budget’ brands like Oneplus have been increasing their release price of their phones every year. It’s the unfortunate side-effect of improvement in the technological world.