Coolest Smartphone Features to watch for in 2017 and beyond

After the big ‘bang’ of Samsung Note 7, and the fizzle of Apple iPhone 7 (it’s being called the least innovative iPhone ever), let’s take a relook at our feature wishlist and track what we can expect in 2017 from the two giants of the smartphone field.

iPhone 8

Apple has a lot riding on this year’s release of the iPhone – as it would be the 10th year of the original iPhone release. Now, it may not mean much to Apple, but consumers’ expectations are certainly peaked since iPhone 7’s most innovative feature was.. well.. another camera.

But this year promises to be worth the wait. Check out this rendering of the possible iPhone 8, based on what we know so far.

Key Features to look for:

  • No physical home button: we are finally starting to see advancements in screen technology that allow the fingerprint scanner to be integrated into the display itself, and be cleaner. No one loves reducing the number of buttons more than Apple, so this would be a win
  • Smaller Bezel: with no home button, the screen can now be larger, even if the phone size remains the same.
  • Brighter Screen: Apple may be looking to integrate in OLED displays – the ones used by Samsung to deliver simply stunning visuals. iPhone screens are, by today’s standards, nice – but OLED would make it stunning.


Samsung Galaxy 8

Samsung normally launches their phones at the Mobile World Congress (usually Feb/March). However, given the recently Note 7 debacle, they are likely looking to start fresh. Samsung has two flagship devices – the Galaxy and the Note, with the Galaxy usually launching in the first half of the year and Note launching in the second half of the year. This should give a good opportunity to start fresh with a positive Galaxy launch.

Key Features of Galaxy 8 to look out for:

  • Smaller Bezel, Brighter Screen, OLED: Samsung is a large organization, and one of their business units is a major manufacturer of displays as well. This teaser from their display division is a good hint of what to expect: larger, brighter screens and similar to the upcoming iPhone, no home button.

  • Dual Display: Samsung may be looking at breaking the mould with a radical redesign, and may include a dual display. There were rumors that the upcoming Note 8 may include Dual display, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a smaller implementation in the Galaxy series itself. This video from 2013 CES by Samsung is a good prelude to what they have intended:

  • Smart Artificial Intelligence Assistant: 2017 appears to the year of AI, with everything from cars to toothbrushes now having AI. With the popularity of Siri, and Amazon Alexa, Samsung will now be pushing heavily on AI to provide a wide array of Smart features from taking better pictures to payments. Samsung’s AI expected to be called Bixby, and would effectively push out Google’s own assistant.


Dare to think beyond 2017?

  • Longer Battery Life: While we expect manufacturers, including Apple, to optimize the software and hardware to maximize the use of the battery so that it lasts longer, we haven’t seen any fundamental breakthroughs being committed to. Now we know there are emerging technologies that promise 100% charge in a few minutes, lasting for days (remember when we had Nokia’s that would last a week). We keenly await when smartphones last more than 48 hours.
  • Wireless Charging: At the Consumer Electronics Show 2017, several companies, including Energous (video below) showed their advancements in wireless charging. Eventually we should be able to charge all of our devices by simply being in the room (similar to how WiFi works now), which will forever change how we think of electronics.

  • Better Ecosystem: Having a smart phone in your pocket capable of running new apps is hardly an game changer in 2017, but rather how it fits into your life as part of multiple devices. Apple has Apple Home, which allows you to turn on and off lights at home, Amazon Alexa devices to order products online with your voice, and Google has the Nest products of home thermostat, cameras, etc. We expect to hear about how your Smartphone now works as a gateway to other devices to enable to live a better life.

Now we focused on Apple and Samsung for the key features, but we also expect to see new innovative features from the likes of Xaomi, Huawei and Oppo, and perhaps the best of them eventually brought into true mainstream by Apple and Samsung.

Let us know your thoughts about this article, and which features are you most keen to see in 2017 in the comments below.










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