Two Smartphone Trends that Wooed Us
The year 2017 started with probably the biggest promises that the technology world has seen in its rapid growth of the past 10 years. The televisions that were promised for starters were all at least 4K and the phones promised more real estate on their displays than what the consumers were used too. The biggest consumer tech platforms, CES 2017 and MWC 2017 showcased early on the trends that we would encounter in the consumer tech space in the world as well as in India. Surely we were looking forward to these trends and hoping to see some fantastic gadgets in the year 2017. Here’s my pick of the best gadgets and gizmo trends of the year 2017.
The Bezel-Less Display
A full-vision or a bezel-less display was first offered by LG with the LG G6, but that did not gather much steam initially, until Samsung came out with Samsung Galaxy S8 with an infinity display. That was the device that captured the attention of many and also the imagination of other device manufacturers. What we call as bezel-less displays come out on budget-friendly android phones as well, and as the year progressed we knew that Apple will also give in to this trend of smartphones. Companies like Honor, Xiaomi, Gionee and Vivo were happy to oblige their customers with beautiful bezel less phones throughout this year. Some of my picks from this lot are the Honor 7X and Vivo V7+ which were quite potent smartphones in their respective categories. OnePlus missed the boat on bezelless design early on this year with OnePlus 5 but were quick enough to recover in a short span of four months to offer the OnePlus 5T that came with a full-vision display. Samsung followed up with the Note 8 that also came with the famous infinity display. The one phone that we all waited for in this design theme of 2017 was the iPhone X (Ten). It came with Apple’s first OLED display that was bezel-less but did run into its own share of problems with most of the folks on the internet calling it Notchgate. Apple iPhone X has an amazing display, but the top notch of the front camera and sensors did ruin the fun for some consumers. Having said that, in my opinion, it was one of the best displays on a smartphone to come out in 2017. The fun of these bezel-less display phones was in the aspect ratio that they offered. Almost every device offered an 18:9 aspect ratio than a traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. For 2017 most of the apps were just getting a fit to screen option, but with this continuing trend, app developers in 2018 would want to get an 18:9 aspect ratio compatibility on their apps. All these devices that wooed us with their fantastic displays in the year 2017 have made sure of one thingin 2018 we are going to see almost every device come with a full-vision display and more real estate for consumers to exploit.
The Dual-Camera Trend
Early on when 2017 began, we did have a certain sense that the dual-camera trend would continue this year. Apple with iPhone 7 Plus and Honor 8 had already set the ball rolling in the year 2016 for manufacturers to capitalise on dualcamera smartphones. Almost every flagship phone that was launched in the year 2017 by any company had a dual-camera setup. The configurations did vary from device to device but the overlaying blueprint remained the same. People wanted bokeh images to preserve their memories. They even wanted selfies that could do that. Oppo and Vivo along with Honor also obliged these consumers by offering bokeh effect selfie taking abilities on some of their devices. InFocus and Honor also went a step ahead by introducing phones that had four-cameras on them – two at the back and two front cameras. This did intrigue us to ask a question – how many camera modules can a device have in the future? The best camera phones to come out this year came with dual-camera lens setups. The ones that impressed us the most were Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Honor 8 Pro, iPhone X and even when it came to budget, the Xiaomi explore Mi A1. Having said that, Google still believed that they didn’t want a dual-lens setup on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, and they proved as well that a single lens camera could still do wonders for images if it is done right. Despite the exception here the dual-camera trend is something that smartphone manufacturers will try to juice out in the year 2018 as well. These two trends sure set the ball rolling for smartphone manufacturers in 2017 and in 2018 we are already looking at Augmented Reality and Artificial intelligence to take Centre stage in the smartphone arena. This was also my third year being a jury member at the Exhibit Tech Awards and the list of dual-camera smartphones and full-vision display phones that were nominated was by far the biggest and a difficult one to deliberate upon as well. Nonetheless the year 2017 has given both technology journalists like us as well as smartphone manufacturers to think about the narrative that they would like to take forward in 2018. My advice would only be one – Innovating is always better than repeatability, it keeps things fresh and also makes us look forward to their upcoming products.