Five smartphone trends you should know about

  • TECH
  • Thursday, 02 Mar 2017

As the improvements between smartphone generations become smaller and smaller, consumers are being offered less reasons to consider buying a new phone. 

But a look at five areas of mobile technology being hyped at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona shows that there are plenty of reasons to hold out hopes for future models of smartphones. 

1. 5G – networks fast enough to control cars 

As the amount of data sent and received by smartphones continues to explode, the next generation of network technology is working hard to keep up with demands. 

But thanks to a new set of standards currently being established, networks should be extremely flexible in dealing with massive boosts of data volume. 

In addition, reaction times are set to become so extremely short that even cars may soon be controlled remotely. Users can expect to see these advancements in 5G technology running on a variety of phones by the year 2020.  

2. eSIM – change your provider faster 

Currently, if you want to switch mobile providers you also need a new plastic SIM card. But eSIM is changing that. It's a chip that's built into a device that can allow the network provider and telephone number to be changed wirelessly. 

This could lead consumers to react far faster than they do today in terms of changing providers. These eSIM chips are already frequently used in cars and industrial machinery. An expansion into the smartphone sector, however, isn't expected for a few years. 

3. NFC – pay with your smartphone 

Developed in 2002, the wireless technology Near Field Communication (NFC) is used to transfer data by holding a chip up to a scanner. 

NFC chips are already used in ATM cards and admission tickets, but are finding increasingly more uses in smartphones. 

The chip uses the electromagnetic field of the scanner to transfer information and is currently being used to refine and expand capabilities for easily paying in shops, restaurants or bars by waving your smartphone over a scanner.  

4. OLED – pretty picture for a pretty penny 

LCD screens currently dominate the market, but the organic elements in used in OLED technology offer a hugely better quality and higher contrast, not to mention being just a few millimetres thick. 

But that also means a hefty price. Manufacturers have been able to drastically cut the prices over the past few years, but OLED televisions are still out of many consumers' price range. The technology is, however, increasingly finding its way into flagship smartphones and thinner smartwatches. 

5. HDR – from your TV to your smartphone 

High Dynamic Range technology is much more at home in the photography industry. The goal of this technology has been to deliver a more contrast-rich picture that presents both lighter and darker details more evenly. 

Inevitably, this technology is also being used in televisions and is now even moving into smartphone displays such as the new LG flagship G6. — dpa

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