Ex­cit­ing new in­no­va­tions

2017 prom­ises a more vi­brant year for the smart­phone in­dus­try, as more com­pelling fea­tures and func­tions are in­tro­duced

New Straits Times - - News -

THE world’s largest gath­er­ing for the mo­bile in­dus­try, the Mo­bile World Congress (MWC) 2017 in Barcelona recently, shows a lot of prom­ise of what con­sumers can expect from smart­phone ven­dors and mo­bile play­ers, such as smart­watches and tablets.

It’s still early in the year, but word is out that a tiny old phone is be­ing re­booted at MWC. They say what’s old is now new, and it’s tak­ing on some of the big guns of the mo­bile phone in­dus­try to­day. Nokia’s best-sell­ing model ever, the Nokia 3310, stole the lime­light at MWC. Said to prac­ti­cally out­last any smart­phone, the 3310’s re­li­a­bil­ity is touted to be bet­ter than ever, boast­ing a month of bat­tery life too. How­ever, you’ll have to give up your apps and touch­screen. Not a good idea, maybe. But then again, as they say, it’s the sim­ple things in life that are the most ex­tra­or­di­nary.

5G is the new hype this year. The fifth gen­er­a­tion of wire­less tech­nol­ogy prom­ises a blaz­ing con­nec­tion like never be­fore, un­lock­ing po­ten­tial to new tech­nolo­gies, such as vir­tual re­al­ity and au­toma­tion of gad­gets. It will be a ma­jor plus point, in my book, to con­nect glob­ally with light­ning speed. 5G is still a work in progress, but it should be here be­fore we know it.

Vir­tual re­al­ity; the thought of the tech­nol­ogy seemed so un­real years ago. Yet, here it is to­day. It’s al­ready on the list of tech­nol­ogy to be in­cor­po­rated into smart­phones with the aid of spe­cial de­vices. I am sure gamers out there are thrilled with this pos­si­ble ad­di­tion to our smart­phones.

We al­ready have the high dy­namic range (HDR) ca­pa­bil­ity on tele­vi­sions, and now, we will have it on our phones. LG shone at MWC with its LG G6 smart­phone with fin­ger­print scan­ner, Dolby Vision and HDR 10.

We all know that we love our cam­era phones. In fact, it’s es­sen­tial th­ese days when it comes to in­flu­enc­ing de­ci­sions when buy­ing a phone. Lead­ing the cam­era func­tions are iPhone, Sony and Huawei. Sony’s im­pres­sive Xpe­ria XZ Premium boasts of its own ran­dom ac­cess mem­ory to im­prove per­for­mance and sup­ports an un­be­liev­able 960 frames per sec­ond slow-mo­tion video, which is a big leap to iPhone’s 240fps. Huawei is back this year with their evo­lu­tion of last year’s P9. With their Le­ica-en­gi­neered cam­era, its two-cam­era com­bi­na­tion has boosted to 12-megapixel one colour (RGB) sen­sor and 20megapixel mono­chrome. iPhone has yet to un­veil this year’s model, but we can be sure that its cam­era func­tions will show more im­prove­ments than be­fore.

There has been much de­bate about the em­bed­ded In­ter­net of Things (IoT) adop­tion in phones. This year, we hope it would be­come a re­al­ity. We’re think­ing of con­nected cars, ma­chines and gad­gets au­toma­tion, re­mote me­ter­ing and more.

Many phones this year will also of­fer faster per­for­mances, thanks to the new Snap­dragon 835 chip. Of­fer­ing a stag­ger­ing 25 per cent faster graphic ren­der­ings and half the power con­sump­tion, it will of­fer longer bat­tery life.

Pretty all-screen, or bezel-less, phones are in. Op­ti­mis­ing the screen to near edges of the phone will al­low max­i­mum cov­er­age with very a slim and siz­able de­sign. LG G6 fea­tures bezel-less de­sign with an 18:9 as­pect ra­tio where most phones are 16:9, which means one can now watch movies on the phone with­out those pesky side black boxes. Other phones with such de­sign in­clude Sam­sung Galaxy S7 Edge, Sony Xpe­ria XA1 and Xiaomi Mi Mix.

There’s also AI as­sis­tance com­ing up, where smart­phones are able to in­ter­act with us. Now, you can check out the weather fore­cast, search for in­for­ma­tion, pen down notes and more with this smart in­ter­ac­tive func­tion­al­ity.

Wait, there’s more com­ing this year. Wire­less bat­tery charge, wa­ter re­sis­tance, fin­ger­print scan­ners, home but­ton hide­away and more. The two go­liaths of the mo­bile phone in­dus­try, Sam­sung and iPhone, have been keep­ing this year’s models un­der top se­crecy. How­ever, ru­mour has it that we can expect an edge-toedge or­ganic light-emit­ting diode screen, TouchID scan­ner, wire­less charg­ing and bio­met­ric fea­tures, such as fa­cial recog­ni­tion or iris scan­ners for iPhone 8, while Sam­sung is ex­pected to un­veil their Galaxy S se­ries with fin­ger­print scan­ner, bezel-less screen, retirement of the head­phone jack, home but­ton hide­away and pos­si­bly the new Snap­dragon pro­ces­sor.

There’s hope yet for more tech­nol­ogy to ap­pear in the later part of the year, so if you’re think­ing of chang­ing your phone, you might want to hold your breath and wait a lit­tle longer into this year. kushairi@me­di­aprima.com.my The writer is ed­i­tor of BOTs, the weekly tech sec­tion in Life&Times. Trained in Maths, he has since traded his prob­lem-solv­ing skills with writ­ing about how tech has helped to trans­form the world for the bet­ter


Vis­i­tors walk­ing past a 5G logo at the Mo­bile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on March 1.

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