The Smartphone market keeps evolving at a very fast pace and a year is a very long time when it comes to technology.
A lot has changed in the past year, but here are a few notable trends that already have and will continue shaping our smartphone experience appreciably in the time to come.
Here are the major Smartphone highlights of 2016:
It seems like all OEMs have unanimously agreed that the best possible way to trump smartphone camera constraints is to use two instead of one camera sensor.
Most major players, including Apple, have resorted to dual rear cameras. Even the chipset makers have upgraded ISPs in all current generation chips to duly assist dual camera technology.
At the same time, it must also be noted that the implementation differs from brand to brand.
For instance, the iPhone 7 Plus uses the extra shooter to accomplish 2X Zoom, and the Huawei P9 adroitly clubs same resolution color and monochrome sensor to gather more light. Other low-cost dual camera alternatives simply use the secondary shooter as depth sensor to differentiate foreground and backdrop and then use the information for rendering artistic defocus effects.
It would be interesting to note how the dual camera tech evolves next year.
For reasons that aren’t entirely convincing, Audio Jack has suddenly become a bothersome inconvenience for smartphone manufacturers.
Since we have almost transitioned to a USB Type C world, an extra port to thrust audio is being marketed as superfluous.
With the likes of Apple, Motorola, and HTC already siding with the jack-less world, the trend might catch on. And 2016 is the year where the painful transition phase started.
Mammoth selfie camera sensors
With 13MP shooters trickling down to inexpensive phones priced in the vicinity of 5000 INR, we thought the myth of “more megapixels equals better camera” was finally put to rest.
However, this year, mid-range Chinese offline brands have successfully initiated and benefited from another Megapixel rat race – this time for the front camera.
We saw phones with 13MP, 16MP, and even 20MP selfie shooters which have indeed done quite well in the Indian offline market. The selfie wars are still raging.
Also Read: Vivo V5 Review – It’s not all about selfies
Smartphone batteries got bigger and better
Battery backup from phones in 2015 was excruciatingly bad. The half-baked chipsets which lifted ARM core architecture off the shelves without proper optimization also shared the blame in equal proportions.
This year, however, things have changed for the good.
Both Qualcomm and MediaTek have modeled their SoCs to be super battery efficient. On the other hand, average battery capacities have also increased thanks to the denser batteries.
3000mAh have become the bare minimum standard for phones across all budgets and phones with 4000mAh power units are increasingly becoming commonplace.
The 2.5D glass was a big hit among consumers this year.
For those new to the subject, the 2.5D Glass is a flat glass layered on the display that has subtle curves at the edges. These slight curves go a long way in differentiating the overall look and feel of your phone.
It’s not so much your eyes, but your fingers which instantly notice the difference with each edge swipe.
Closer to stock software
More and more manufacturers are cutting down on Android customization options and bloatware in favor of faster and more efficient user interfaces.
Online takes a back seat
While the online competition is still stiff, we saw more and more manufacturers flogging to offline market because that’s where the lush profit margins lie.
Yesteryear online exclusive brands like Asus and Honor are now modeling their phones for offline realms, and others like Xiaomi and LeEco have also released products offline.
On the other hand, offline exclusive brands like Panasonic, Vivo, Oppo and Gionee aren’t showing much online inclination.