It was the year of iPhone X, the Galaxy S8 and bezel-less screens, but what does 2018 have in store? Find out the top tech predictions from those in the know as we reflect on 2017’s mobile trends…
The end of the year is coming up fast, but what will 2018 bring for mobile? Stay on top of current and future trends in tech with three of the web’s best-known mobile commentators…
Big screens and small bezels
As reviews editor for Stuff, Tom Morgan knows mobile. His standout trends for 2017? A lack of bezels and an influx of glass.
“The skinny bezel, huge screen thing? Yeah, that. If your handset is still rocking a 16:9 display, it’s going to look seriously out of date in 2018,” Tom says.
“LG kicked off the trend with the G6, but Samsung did it better with the curved edge galaxy S8, and now Apple has its own notch-ified version on iPhone X. All three use 18:9 aspect screens which are long, thin and sit better in your mitts than a chunky 16:9 display. Now that Honor and OnePlus have managed to do something similar in the mid-range, there’s going to be no excuse for big bezels on phones anymore.”
If 2017 had a definite design obsession, Tom says it was all about glass over metal.
“Loads of phones made the switch from reliable metal to gorgeous-but-precarious glass this year, with HTC doing it best thanks to a stunning solar red colour scheme. But Huawei, LG, Apple and Samsung all had their own take on the stuff. It opened the door to cool tech upgrades like wireless charging.”
Editor of T3, Dan Grabham agrees:
“We’re all about the latest devices,” he says, “so the move to near bezel-less screens for many flagships has stood out for us. We’re really interested to see how this extends down the ranges in 2018.”
“The move to near bezel-less screens for many flagships has stood out for us.” – Dan Grabham, T3
“We’ve also seen the advent of super-premium handsets costing up to £1,000 – will we see this from others?”
For Chris Hall at Pocket-lint, AI has been the highlight.
“This has been the year of artificial intelligence in devices. It was a key focus for Google when launching the Pixel 2 with the suggestion that we’re moving beyond key hardware specs and into an era where evolving AI will adapt and enhance the mobile experience.
AI isn’t just about smart speakers – another huge 2017 trend – but in adding skills to your device, like always-on music recognition or recognising elements of photos and helping create better results. In this sense, Android’s skills on the Pixel 2 are a great example of how AI becomes an integrated part of the experience,” he says.
Predictions for the year ahead
“2019 is shaping up to be a truly exciting step forward for mobile for the first 5G devices” Dan says. But in the more immediate future, he’s predicting advances in AI, facial recognition and other biometrics:
“We’ve seen with Apple’s Face ID that facial recognition really is ready for the big time, but will the rest of the market fully reflect that change?” You can find out how Face ID works here.
Chris agrees that 2018 will see an increase in the number and quality of AI applications across the board:
“While the experience of using your phone remains broadly the same, it’s going to be the additional personal experience enabled by AI that really moves things forward.”
For Tom, 2018 could well be the year of animoji, for similar reasons…
“iPhone X’s party trick is certainly great fun, so it’s a safe bet other phones will be looking to add something similar,” he says. “Sorry if you thought you’d seen the last of the talking poop.”
He also expects water proofing and wireless charging to really make their mark.
“Water resistance was a big deal this year, with most companies finding a way to protect their tech from the elements. Sony set the trend a while back, but it took Samsung and Apple to give it a go for the rest of the world to take notice. If your phone can’t take a dunking, expect it to lose a few brownie points.
“2018 will most certainly do a similar thing for wireless charging,” he says. “Now that Apple has it in iPhone 8 and iPhone X, expect to see those oh-so-convenient wireless charging pads pop up in coffee shops across the globe, while other phone companies add it to their handsets by the time Mobile World Congress rolls around in February.”
Will these tech predictions prove prophetic? You’ll have to wait and see! Until then, take a look at what the future may hold for Face ID and biometrics.