2017 gave a solid rebuttal to the often asked question on whether hardware innovation has dried up in the smartphone space. We saw some new trends last year. Many manufacturers wholeheartedly adopted bezel-less designs and also roped in new features like FaceID facial recognition. Most importantly AI and machine learning made their way into smartphones from Google, Apple, and Huawei.
But there are so many more different innovations still in the offering. So what will 2018 give us in the smartphone space, especially from a hardware perspective? Here are some of the smartphone trends we think will shape the future of mobiles in the coming year.
Tri-Lensed and Better cameras with AI
It seems like only yesterday dual rear cameras became the norm for high-end smartphones in 2017. Almost all manufacturers have their own techniques to bring out the usefulness of two camera lenses instead of one. There were big players – like Google, who are currently still invested in the single lens camera, and we saw this implementation in the Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 2, with a better effect than many of the dual lens cameras.
However, as we kick off the New Year, it is more than likely we will see artificial intelligence help smartphone cameras improve their results drastically. Matter of fact, a lot of talks has arisen of a new triple camera concept which could end up in Huawei’s upcoming P11. The buzz is that it is the first smartphone to feature a rear triple-lens camera which can take up to 40MP shots and will come with a 5x hybrid zoom feature.
Dual-screen, foldable displays
The trend was set at the end of 2017 when the ZTE Axon M came with a dual-screen display. Though not perfect, it was this phone’s foldable display which made it unique and we are sure that the Axon M will not be the last dual-screen phone as many reports are suggesting Samsung, LG, Lenovo and Huawei all are planning to bring dual-screen, bendable smartphones to the market.
Fingerprint scanners in displays
A lot of rumours had arisen around the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Apple iPhone X of supposed in-display fingerprint scanners back in 2017. But they never made it to smartphones at the time. At the end of the year, however, biometrics company Synaptics announced that it has developed the world’s first in-display fingerprint scanner designed for smartphones which had bezel-free OLED displays.
The company claims its Clear ID will perform better than alternative biometrics such as 3D facial recognition and requires only one touch to access the smartphone. Synaptics is in the process of mass producing these displays and is likely to feature it with one of the “Top 5” manufacturers soon, most likely China’s Vivo.
Clearly, there’s plenty lined up for 2018. Hopefully, we’ll get to see even better cameras, non-intrusive fingerprint sensors and (if it’s your thing) – foldable displays!