2017 is set to be a big year for smartphones. We always have new smartphones to look forward to, but this year, updates to phones from Apple, Samsung, LG, and Google are starting to look more intriguing than ever before.
Thanks to phones from 2016 like the Pixel and the iPhone 7, there are a number of trends that companies are looking to implement this year.
1. Headphone Jacks
Thanks Apple. Despite what you think about Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack, we always knew that the decision would send reverberations throughout the industry. Even in 2016, we already saw phones like the Moto Z and the iPhone 7 switch over completely to digital and wireless audio.
We already know that phones like the Galaxy S8 and the iPhone 8 will be without headphone jacks, but don’t be surprised is you see other manufacturers following suit. In addition to the removal of headphone jacks, you’ll also see nearly all flagship Android phones moving to USB-C ports, which is was a big trend from last year.
2. 18:9 Aspect Ratio
We haven’t gotten to use it yet, but LG’s G6 is the first phone with an 18:9 (or 2:1) aspect ratio. Most phones have a 16:9 aspect ratio, but don’t be surprised if we start to see more phones moving to an 18:9 aspect ratio as well.
This means the phone will be a bit taller than normal—and maybe even a bit better for one-handed usage.
3. Digital Assistants
It’s fair to say that having “smarter AI” is pretty much always on the docket for a smartphone manufacturer. However, this year in particular, don’t be surprised to see Samsung and Apple double down on machine learning and better digital assistants.
This is primarily due to the introduction of the Pixel and Google’s incredible Google Assistant late last year. Google is continuing to make strides in increasing both the accuracy and functionality of its digital assistant—and other companies are going to have to keep up.
4. Dual Cameras
LG and Huawei led the way last year with its dual camera setups Apple followed suit later in the year. In 2017, we’re going to see the rest of the smartphones released have similar dual-cameras on their backs.
The iPhone’s dual-camera is used to both to create a bokeh effect and for an analogue zoom. Not only are we going to see a lot of dual cameras in 2017, we’re also going to see expanded functionality, allowing these cameras to do more than single cameras could ever do.
5. Buttons Be Gone
As per the rumors of the iPhone 8 and the Galaxy S8, we’re going to see smartphone manufacturers headed in the way of smaller bezels, and bigger screens. The size of the home button has made the iPhone’s jump to big screens particularly awkward. But this year Apple is looking to fix that problem with rumors pointing to the fact that the iPhone 8 will get rid of the home button in favor of a smaller phone with a bigger screen.
To see a glimpse of the future, you’ll want to take a look at the Xiaomi Mi Mix, a smartphone that never made it over to North America. This beautiful, bezel-less future is what we can all look forward to if smartphone manufacturers can pull it off.