Attributed to Kevin Cha, President, LG Electronics, Middle East & Africa
DUBAI, May 23, 2017: Smartphones are getting smarter every year. Today’s smartphone’s are no more bulky. They are slim, smaller and easy to carry around. The screen is crystal clear and it’s a pleasure to see pictures and watch movies. Some of the cameras in high-end phones are as powerful as a DSLR camera. The operating systems in smartphones today are so user friendly that anybody can navigate through using the touch interface.
2017 is shaping up to be the year for smartphone buyers with devices becoming thinner, faster and even a bit more intelligent than one could expect. Whether it is virtual reality, enhanced graphics, higher resolution or perhaps even more storage, smartphones are being engineered to be an extension of an individual, perform as one’s own entertainment system and perhaps even become their very own personal assistant.
Today, people are sharing more content than ever before. Whether it is free messages, photographs, videos or more, sharing is becoming a significant part of culture across the world and in the Middle East. In fact, according to a recent study - the MENA region is ranked second in the world by number of daily YouTube videos views at more than 310 million.
Furthermore, the report also states that given the demographics of the region – with 50 percent of the population under the age of 24 – the tech-native and savvy youth in the Middle East will only further drive the adoption rates in the coming years.
Many analysts have remarked how the smartphone market has seemingly plateaued this year, both in terms of sales as well as innovation. 2017 is expected to be no different and this actually gives the booming smartphone industry to settle down on its technologies before making another big leap.
As the smartphone technology is all set to evolve at an exponential rate, one can only predict what the future of smartphones will truly look like. Consumer’s today are not just accepting technology that is coming their way – they are also evaluating and assessing it to make the most optimum use of it in their day-to-day lives. While this adds on to the potential of the smartphone market, it also creates a lot of pressure on the manufacturers to create and develop products that are not only technologically advanced but are developed full-proof without any element of doubt for the consumers.
Overall, worldwide smartphone shipments are expected to rebound with single-digit growth, according to market reports. Some industry reports also indicate that the Middle East & Africa markets will continue to be among the biggest Android markets driving volume.
There are many trends defining the smart phone industry today and some of the top trends defining the industry could be identified as below:
Premium and Taller Design
Customers today want a premium feel to their phone and two of the most preferred materials for hardware are aluminum and glass. These two element don’t just enhance the feel of the device, but further emphasize its aesthetic properties. The key to enhance user experience is a bigger display with minimal bezel.
At present, in terms of aspect ratio, the best in class is 18:9 which can be found in the LG G6. Soon more smartphone manufacturers will adopt this specific feature and in the near future, we could even have a phone with virtually no bezel.
As more people opt to consume their content on their phones as opposed to a computer, providing a premium feel with a bigger and thinner display will certainly enhance the overall experience.
Furthermore, with displays getting thinner in size, individuals can expect to see smartphones with the returning folding displays very soon.
Smarter AI (Artificial Intelligence) is what every smartphone manufacturer is currently investing in. The recent introduction of Google Assistant has many smartphone manufacturers doubling-down on smarter Artificial intelligence systems.
As Google improves the accuracy and functionality of its digital assistant, we can expect to have smartphones become our personal assistants to help us with our daily tasks. Furthermore, they will also have deep-learning capabilities to contribute in making smartphones friendlier and efficient – such as regulating power usage in relation to applications in order to improve battery life.
Dual cameras are becoming increasingly popular in smartphones. The dual-camera system works in two different ways. The two lenses are either a combination of wide-angle and telephoto lens that provide more depth of field or a combination of colour and monochromatic lenses to further enhance detail.
Given the fact that the implementation of dual-cameras is relatively new, it has been extremely impressive. However, it will take time for these cameras to take professional photos of superior quality.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Smartphones are getting faster than ever, and one of the key reasons for this upgrade is to enable them to run applications such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) that require significant resources.
A recent study forecasts that spending on VR and AR hardware elements will grow from US$118 million in 2016 to reach US$3.2 billion in 2020 across the Middle East and Africa.
VR is currently limited to a few smartphone handsets, however soon more mid-range to high-end phones should have high-resolution display capabilities to deliver a breathtaking visual appearance.
More apps that require more power to operate will surely deplete the battery faster. However, smartphone manufacturers are beginning to implement USB-C into the devices to replace the aging micro-USB 2.0 ports in Android headsets.
These cables carry more power to the battery enabling it to charge significantly faster than before. Also soon, advancement in Quick Charge capabilities will assists smartphones to run for five hours with just five minutes of charging.
In addition to faster charging, the USB-C cable can connect mobile devices to high-definition displays, headphones, external storage and more making it extremely versatile and further enhancing a user’s overall experience.
Information is being shared and stored constantly on devices, whether it is videos, photos or games. At present, the maximum capacity for internal storage is 256GB with SD storage capabilities reach 512 GB. However, earlier this year, SanDisk showcased a prototype 1TB SD card. Although a launch date was not provided, we can be certain that higher-capacity SD cards can be expected in the very near future.
Besides these dominant trends, companies will also start to adopt other features into their smartphones that include but not limited to: wireless headphones; enhanced waterproofing; fingerprint sensors; faster chips; and more.
According to a latest report - Smartphone demand totaled 41.9 million units, up one percent year-on-year. This was weighed on by macroeconomic weakness in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Egypt. There are also forecasts that year-on-year smartphone demand growth in the region to accelerate in 2017, helped by expected economic improvements.
Regardless of what new technology is introduced or new trend picks up, one thing is for certain, 2017 is the genesis where people can further enhance their productivity and efficiency both professionally and personally whilst making their lives significantly richer and more convenient.