Twelve years after the revolution of the iPhone, the Smartphone is about to experience one of the most significant changes in its young history. The coming years will bring with plenty of innovations, beginning with 5G.
The mobile network of tomorrow will permit new uses to emerge and the “Smartphone” to evolve. On the eve of the Berlin IFA, it is already possible to imagine how the Smartphone of the coming days will look alike.
An impressive success that hides yet another reality is the market has been going through the worst crisis in the history of recent months.
5G: the trigger for the new revolution
Before dwelling on the technical evolutions that await our devices, it is essential to discuss 5G. The mobile network of the future has already been launched in some countries and promises to disrupt uses. If its launches in 2020 in Europe, it will take time before 5G is – especially in France – a reality for all.
The latter will also allow cloud gaming to democratize, a sector that particularly interests Google with Stadia or the Shadow service of French Blade.
Approach a demonstration of 5G cloud gaming on the Qualcomm stand. For the general public, game on demand could be one of the first advantages of 5G, and manufacturers are not mistaken by betting on Smartphone’s dedicated to gaming.
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The 5G race has already started
The whole sector is preparing for the 5G revolution, and some manufacturers are already offering 5G models in a few countries (South Korea, the United States, China, etc.). It is mainly the case with Samsung or Huawei, while Apple is expected to wait until 2020. Several Chinese brands are also preparing 5G compatible models, and the arrival of the first 5G packages will allow them to exist on the market. According to Gartner, sales of 5G Smartphone will account for 6% of total mobile sales in 2020 and 51% by 2023.
From next year, the most upscale models (flagships) will be available in the 5G version.
Foldable, full, double, new formats: the screen in all its forms
The most visible element of our Smartphone, the display has already much evolved since the early days of the phone. With the advent of the foldable screen, it continues to fuel debate by being touted as the next industrial revolution.
The beginnings of foldable devices are complicated, and the two giants of the sector preferred to review their copy before marketing – at a high price – their respective models. This costly innovation has not yet thoroughly convinced but remains promising. It could allow the Smartphone to transform into an even more versatile 2-in-1 device and offer new uses.
However, it will be necessary to wait for a price drop to see it democratize. For its part, LG
has bet on the dual-screen and will present its new model at the IFA.
In the short term, the future of the mobile industry could be focused on the full screen. In recent years, manufacturers have been increasing their efforts to offer “borderless” devices by opting for a notch or a retractable camera.
The latest notable example comes from Asus with its Zenfone 6 equipped with a rotary camera. However, these improvements are only temporary. The innovations brought to the slabs (with sensors under the screen, curved, holes…) and the arrival of the hidden camera under the surface of the screen will make it possible to see landed truly borderless Smartphone without “gadget” at the level of the Front camera.
Several manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Samsung, or Oppo with the Waterfall screen
This year, we could see many models (Samsung Galaxy S10, One plus 7 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 9T …), but this option is reserved for OLED panels. However, manufacturers are starting to talk about its arrival on LCD screens, and entry and mid-range models will be able to benefit from it. The Smartphone also tends to lengthen when switching to 21: 9 formats.
The models dedicated to gaming were the first to opt for this frequency – which allows a more fluid experience – and they are no longer alone. The OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro have made this choice and Google could imitate the Chinese brand with its Pixel
The camera: the megapixel race is back
The camera is key to choosing a Smartphone, and again, the progress is spectacular. Practical, the mobile is a great ally to capture your best moments and share them on social networks. Smartphone’s have signed the decline of compacts, and the trend is not about to reverse.
Photo sensors tend to multiply – Nokia launched a Smartphone with five sensors on the back this year – and Samsung has relaunched the megapixel war. Many models today carry a 48-megapixel sensor (Sony or Samsung), and we will find models equipped with 64-megapixel sensors signed Samsung. It has already announced a 108-megapixel sensor in partnership with Xiaomi.
At the front, manufacturers are trying, by all means, to make the sensor disappear (retractable, rotary camera, drawer, spoiler, etc.) and have been opting for punched screens for a few months. This option is expected to multiply as Oppo and Xiaomi recently introduced selfie cameras hidden under the Smartphone screen.
Components: better control of power and AI at all levels
Smartphone’s continue to carry ever smaller and better ingredients. Even at entry-level or mid-range models have been able to offer satisfactory performance for most uses.
From 2020 and the arrival of 5G, the Smartphone will need even more power to meet new uses. The most recent chips (Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, Samsung Exynos 9825) are already ready for tomorrow, and some are capable of supporting screens displaying WQUXGA (3840 x 2400 pixels) or 4K UHD (4096 x 2160 pixels) definitions, 22 MP cameras, with 8K video recording at 30 fps or storage in UFS 3.0.
The future of smart phones goes through augmented reality.
These improvements will allow virtual and augmented reality to democratize on Smartphone. While Pokémon GO has previewed the potential of augmented reality, and Maps is starting to offer AR functionality, augmented reality on Smartphone is still in its infancy. The two giants of the sector, Apple and Google, have been working for several years on this technology, which will take advantage of the 2020s to upset our smartphones. Many games and applications (e-commerce, social networks, and navigation) should benefit.
Smartphone built for AI
Artificial intelligence is not to be outdone, and it is even this which must allow the smartphone to become “smarter.” Google multiplies improvements in this direction with its Assistant, while its Pixels (XL) have seduced by betting on AI. The latter will continue to bring its share of improvements in various areas such as photo, performance, battery management, or task automation. More and more devices are going to embed dedicated chips called NPU (Neural Processing Unit).
Battery: ever faster recharging
Already present on many models, rapid recharging will continue to progress in the years to come. Always more efficient, the Smartphone is struggling to increase its autonomy, and it is still difficult to find models capable of exceeding, or even merely reaching two days of use without recharging.
2020 will still not bring the Smartphone closer to the illustrious 3310, but there will be some progress. In addition to less energy-consuming components, rapid charging will become even faster in the years to come. The rising brand, Xiaomi, presented a 100 W charger that promises to charge your device in 17 minutes. At Vivo, the 120W FlashCharge technology promises to charge a 4000 mAh battery in less than a quarter of an hour.