Mobile phones are subject to experimenting, which when proven to be useful stick to the industry and become trends and when not they only fade away. In the last years, we have introduced to numerous of patterns that had a peak but vanished and others that resisted the time. For example, a few years back, there was a race of creating ultra-thin phones or powering them up with massive batteries, adding the multi-OS support, or giving them military-grade durability.
Based on the past, and mostly on what proved to be a success during this year, we can somehow estimate what phone makers will be choosing to bring on their upcoming flagships during 2017.
While Apple is barely considering retiring the 4.7-inch standard version of its iPhone line of devices, we hardly see any other company regularly releasing flagships of this size. Noting the success of flagships sized above 5-inch, even Apple decided to add more improvements to the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus, such as dual-camera setup or more pixel density on display.
Size in smartphones is not shrinking, but either expanding uncontrolled, the maximum size of a successor smartphone is limited to 5.7-inch. Everything above that gets considered as too large because the device looks more similar to a tablet computer rather than a mobile phone. A trend that will be sticking to phones in 2017 will be 5.5-inch to 5.7-inch phone models becoming favored by manufacturers. Thus, these models will be the ones to have better cameras, faster performance, improved displays, more storage, and be receiving system updates first.
Oled screens are not only thinner than the LCD units, but they also provide better imagery, durability, flexibility and require less battery consumption to function. An AMOLED display is an OLED screen with a back panel of Thin-Film-Transistor (TFT) that operates as a switch to control sub-pixels in AMOLED displays accurately.
The advantages provided by OLED displays have driven major phone makers like Samsung, Huawei, ZTE, Google, Meizu, Huawei and more to substitute LCD screen panels on the flagships with AMOLED ones. The rumors suggest that even Apple might be considering of overthrowing its Retina displays with an OLED screen with the release of iPhone 8.
The bright side of the competition in the mobile industry is that is allowing phone buyers to possess the fastest performance on almost every cell phone despite the price tags. The latest chips made by Qualcomm or MediaTek are no longer housed on the top pricey phones but in nearly all budgets. Samsung Galaxy S7 and Lenovo Zuk Z2 run on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset, but Samsung’s device is 50% more expensive than that of Lenovo.
The race of improving performance is landing to mid-range handsets the latest technology in mobile processors, XiaomiMi 5s, Google Pixel, OnePlus 3T, to name a few different price-range phones which are all powered by one of the fastest technology Qualcomm has to offer.
Not only smartphones in 2017 will be two models that differ in size, but also the number of phones sporting a curved display will be increased. What gave a headstart to larger phones with a curved screen in 2016 was the Samsung’s disaster with Galaxy Note 7. Since Samsung drowned in its waters, there was a race of creating the best alternative to the Galaxy Note 7, by far the closest ones are the MeizuMi Note 2, Elephone S7, BlackBerry Priv, or Doogee Y6.
The Note 7 was the best phone made by far, but behind the mind-boggling features and supports lurked a dangerous destabilization with the battery. The phone was subject of countless of reports for catching fire, the company recalled the phones and offered replaced units but later the scandal blew up again because the returned units also were catching fire. Samsung was forced to kill the Note 7 and causes its self a damage of $1B.
The huge disappointment caused by the Note 7 was used by phone makers to offer alternatives to it that will not catch fire, and currently, the hottest alternative is the brand-new Meizu Pro 6 Plus.
As smartphones in 2017 are expected to come running the latest and fastest mobile processors, their makers will expand memory for advertising them at their best. This approach will not be defining mobile phones manufactured by established brands like Samsung or Apple but will be in abundance among semi-popular Chinese names.
During 2016, China phone makers like LeEco, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo, Asus, and OnePlus have each released at least one device with 6GB of RAM. The more RAM initiative also attracted a major brand like Samsung; its Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro launched as company’s first phone with 6GB of RAM. Gadgets360 has released a list of smartphones with 6GB of RAM from where you can introduce yourself to them all.
More RAM is not the only thing phones will be receiving in the upcoming year, more internal storage and larger expandable memory capacity will be added as well. Phone makers began to dismiss the 16GB storage of standard model and move forward to 32GB or 64GB of flash memory as a standard version.
Brands like Asus, ZTE, Huawei and a few already have phones featuring 256GB of flash storage. iPhone 8 and Samsung Galaxy S8 are rumored to have 256GB flash storage versions as well.
Fingerprint recognition technology has half of decade that features on the mobile phones for additional security measures. Motorola firstly implemented the technology in 2011 and now it gets carried out in all types of phones, from high-end pricey ones to sub $100 units. This technology will become a must-have support for every phone of the future, including those launching in 2017.
The next best thing to permanent battery life in phones is fast charging. The Quick Charge technology has a couple of years that was around in smartphones but hasn’t appeared yet in all three levels of devices. Fast charging is normally found in flagships or phones priced at above $400. Currently, the fasted phone to charge from 0% to 100% is LG G5 that does it in just one hour.
Quick Charge technology is another section where Apple’s iPhone line of devices looks outdated compared to Android phones. By far Android devices supporting Quick Charge technology are in abundance, and there are a few supporting Wireless Charging. Several reports suggest that Apple’s upcoming flagship iPhone 8 will be supporting Wireless Charging, but this will require official confirmation.
VR Enabled Phones
With Samsung and Google leading the mobile industry toward VR, doesn’t necessarily means that only their goggles and devices are suitable for this technology. The requirements for a smartphone to work fine with any VR goggles consist of having a size of above 4.5-inch, HD display, accelerometer, and gyroscope.
By citing these elementary specifications, you realize that most of the phones launched during this year were VR-ready. And the reason their makers didn’t mention it is that they do not provide their own VR goggle and probably choose to ignore it simply.
The most popular goggles for VR available today are the Samsung-made Gear VR and Google’s DayDream.
More Android Phones
While not all phones of the upcoming year will be having 6GB of RAM, the latest Qualcomm or MediaTek processors or ship with their own Virtual Reality Google, what you can surely be certain of is that there will be more, much more, Android-based phones.
The only direct competition currently Android has are Apple’s iOS devices, the rest are fading away. BlackBerry has already given up making phones, Microsoft’s Lumia line of devices running Windows Mobile is shrinking, and Nokia is returning to producing mobile phones that join Android festival.