2016 saw a lot of developments in the smartphone industry with new technologies springing up, and old ones being improved upon.
Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Xiaomi, Huawei and Oppo experienced notable growth as they gained more grounds globally. The big players in the market, however, had one thing or the other on their plate – Samsung and the Note 7 dilemma, while Apple faced a decline in its market share and sales.
Notwithstanding, it turned out to be a great year and its time to take a look at some of the smartphone trends that rocked 2016.
Fingerprint sensor technology on mobile devices has been around for a while, but it became popular after Apple added the feature to the iPhone 5s in 2013. Today the technology has gone mainstream, and is being featured in high-end as well as budget devices to enhance security. Aside from unlocking devices, the sensor is also used to make secure transactions. In most devices, the sensor is either placed on the back like in the LG G5 or embedded in the home button as seen in the HTC 10. Manufacturers are also making sure that the sensors are more accurate and boasts faster unlocking speed.
Dual camera setup on the rear was a major highlight in flagships like the LG G5, Huawei P9, and Apple iPhone 7. The HTC Evo 3D was the first device to feature this setup, and then the One M8 by the same company also shipped with it. The functionality is implemented differently on various devices. In the Huawei P9, one camera has an RGB sensor while the second one is used to capture monochrome details. This two work together to create a high quality image. The LG G5 however works differently – there is a normal camera with a standard field of view, and a second one with 135-degree wide angle lens for wide shots.
Better Selfie Cameras
Selfie has come to stay, and many manufacturers are taking advantage of the craze. ViVo recently released a “selfie-focused smartphone” dubbed V5. The device packs a massive 20MP front-facing unit for the selfie lovers. A lot of features are also thrown into selfie cameras to make them more appealing.
Fast charging technology is gradually becoming a standard. It works by reducing the time it takes to charge your phone by increasing the power supply to it. Smartphone manufacturers adopt different technologies to achieve this, but Qualcomm’s Quick Charge is the most common. Qualcomm recently announced Quick Charge 4 which can give you five hours of battery life from just five minutes of charge.
4G VoLTE Support
Many devices offered VoLTE support in 2016. The VoLTE (Voice over LTE) technology allows users to place and receive calls over an LTE network instead of the traditional voice network. This makes for better call quality, improved coverage and connectivity.
Although not widely adopted yet, many devices shipped with USB Type-C connector, allowing for faster and efficient charging. Another awesome thing about the connector is that it’s reversible (you can plug your cord in whatever manner). USB Type-C is also versatile. Aside from charging, it can be used to connect smartphones to monitors, headphones, and external storage devices.
Are there other trends you noticed in the smartphone industry in 2016? What trends do you expect to see in 2017? Please share in the comments below.