The phone keeps getting better

Jan 13, 2019, 09:16 IST | Jaison Lewis

Everyone will get their own PA, thanks to digital assistants on phones. We give you a lowdown on what to expect in tech this year

The phone keeps getting better
Foldable phones

Foldable phones
The rumours of foldable phones have been around for the last few years, but other than a few prototypes there have not been any official announcements by any of the big manufacturers. This will change this year as a Chinese manufacturer called Royole has already announced that its flexible screen phone/tablet will launch this year. A live device was available at CES during the last few days. The company has already started taking pre-orders for the 128GB FlexPai developer model at $1,588. Expect other companies to follow suit and launch at least one flexi phone in 2019.

5G phones and laptops

5G phones and laptops
5G devices will make their debut in 2019. 5G will boast speeds of upwards of 3000Mbps. To compare, 4G is capable of speeds of up to 150Mbps. OnePlus has already announced that it will be launching a completely new device with the 5G capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. However, the device may not make it to Indian shores this year because of no availability of 5G. At CES this year, manufacturers have already announced a slew of 5G capable devices including robots, laptops and WiFi hotspots.

Multiple rear cameras

Multiple rear cameras
Multiple rear cameras will not go away this year. In fact, you can probably expect to see phones with four maybe even five cameras integrated at the back. A combination of different cameras shooting at different focal lengths result in photographs that rival any capable DSLR. The groundwork for most of this technology has been laid out over the past year. With a few three-camera phone setups launched in 2018, we can expect to see more of that in non-flagships this year. This may very well be the final nail in the coffin of dedicated cameras, though professional cameras may still hang around for a few more years. 

OnePlus TV

OnePlus TV
OnePlus may jump into a completely new device segment either later this year or early 2020, taking on the TV. Their objective is to make a TV that is truly smart and affordable, applying their design sensibilities and software prowess to device. India will be one of the first countries to get the OnePlus TV when it launches. The device is rumoured to run android, will possibly have a 4K HDR screen and will be a flagship killer. The pricing is rumoured to be competitive when compared to similarly spec’d flagships of established TV brands. Though actual details of the TV are still a secret, it would be interesting to see how OnePlus will balance price versus performance when competing against the likes of Xiaomi and VU in India.

AR glasses

AR glasses
Augmented Reality glasses might finally make it mainstream this year. There is even talk of Apple working on a secret holographic lens project, which if true, will mean that AR will finally go from a niche product to something mainstream. While Apple might not launch one this year, other manufacturers have already highlighted some of their upcoming AR lens devices. With the infrastructure, network capabilities and processing power in place, augmented reality glasses are ready for their time in the sun.

Digital Assistants in everything

Digital Assistants in everything
Expect almost every consumer durable company out there to launch at least one complete range of home products with integrated Digital Assistants like Alexa, Google or Siri. In fact, LG has already jumped the gun and announced its ThinQ line of products that has Alexa built-in and can interact with Google assistant to work through voice commands. Samsung may announce a similar line but use their in-house assistant Bixby instead. Not to mention various car manufacturers have already started implementing Siri, Alexa or Google assistants into their smart cars. We wonder how long it will be before our shoes start talking to us.

Notchfree displays

Notchfree displays
The ugly notched display will be a relic of the past with teardrops already replacing the notch in 2018, manufacturers are well on their way to eliminating it completely. In the coming year, phone makers will figure out how to hide cameras in their display. This will all be possible thanks to transparent OLEDs, which are already in use in a few flagships. The concept will be similar to the way in-screen fingerprint phones work, where a camera hidden behind the OLED screen captures the image of your finger. Expect the first few phone with a hidden camera by the end of 2019.

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