At the beginning of 2017 I threw out an article on how it was going to be the year of the biggest smartphone battle. Boy oh boy did they deliver! Even threw in a couple of new kids into the arena, the Razer Phone and the Essential Phone.
It was fought tooth and nail and if you hadn’t noticed it was all about erasing the frame round the display and adding Artificial Intelligence. However if you were paying attention in 2017 you should have noticed something interesting too. Mid-range smartphones that often bask in the shadow of flagships have been getting impressively capable.
Manufacturers like OPPO, Huawei/Honor, Meizu, Xiaomi, Gionee, Samsung just to name a few, have been serving up some really mean mid tier devices. Some of the devices are offering dual camera set ups, beefy batteries and very generous displays. Best part they are retailing for very pocket friendly prices.
Flagship Tech In A Budget Phone
Take a look at this scenario. A lot of research and development is packed into the latest and greatest currently. But they don’t just end there. This tech spills over to devices just a bit lower down the food chain costing way way less.
So for a decent US$350 you are able to join the tall display revolution and the dual camera tribe with the Honor 7X. Try getting a Galaxy S8 or an LG V30 for that sorta money.
Some might say it’s not as refined or it is not as powerful as the flagships and yes they would be right. However that difference is only seen in benchmark scores. In the real world VERY few individuals will max out their devices.
Moreover, smartphone processors have been getting waaay more powerful in such a short space of time that a 2017 mid tier device will have comparable performance to a 2016 flagship.
What To Expect This Year?
Most certainly battle of the best bang for the buck! Expect the mid tier part of the smartphone world to get really competitive…well it already started 2017 but 2018 it will be just fire. The interesting part is that mid tier smartphones will be dominated by Chinese OEMs.
Expect a lot of flagship features to deliberately make their way to mid tier devices like edge to edge displays, sharper displays, bigger/more cameras, more powerful and efficient processors and sensors.
Even expect AI to start rolling out to your mid tier smartphone really soon. Word on the street says another Nokia 3310 is coming this year with 4G LTE onboard. How about that huh!?!
And The Flagships?
Oh those are still well in play. Expect more OEMs pushing for edge to edge displays. There was a bit of a buzz on docks that allow your phone to turn any monitor into a full desktop PC so expect more powerful processors that can do more demanding work loads than last year’s flagships.
Expect more flagships to bring AI to the table as well as personal assistants getting much smarter as well as talking more naturally like humans eventually handling your online shopping, appointments and the like.
Oh and if we cross our fingers hard enough we might just get new battery technology that allows supersonic charging speeds and insane battery life. 12 minute charge from 0 to 100% and 45% more battery life? Anyone?
Thinking about it now it almost seems like mid tier devices are on the road to dethrone flagships. Flagships are marching towards dethroning your laptop…they already cost as much as a laptop…
Welcome everyone to 2018. Tell me what you expect to see in the coming smartphones. I’ll grab the popcorn.
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