The newer generation of Android phones will be rolling out over the next few months. They’ll be vying for attention, and money, with the promise of better performance and enhanced user experience. This year, however, isn’t about incremental updates—the first crop of Android phones is positively refreshing, though some developments have been perplexing.
The high dynamic range (HDR) feature is now becoming quite common in 4K televisions. In a nutshell, HDR allows a wider and richer range of colours, much brighter whites, and much deeper, darker blacks, all of which make the picture more dynamic—hence the name. Now, smartphones are joining in.
Sony’s forthcoming Xperia XZ Premium smartphone has a 4K HDR10 display—the first of its kind in smartphones. Sony has also tied up with Amazon for 4K HDR content on the video service. LG, on its part, has used a 12-bit Dolby Vision display in the G6. Streaming service Netflix has also announced that it will support both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision standards, and will soon stream 4K HDR content on phones.
New aspect, new perspective
Big-screen smartphones are becoming quite popular with users. And the LG G6 will be a rather interesting option, considering its 5.7-inch FullVision Display with 2,880x1,440 resolution. This could be the first to indicate a shift to the 18:9 aspect ratio. The idea is to make big-screen phones better to hold and use with one hand. Right now, the problem is that most apps aren’t designed to support this aspect ratio and you’ll see scaling issues where an app wouldn’t be able to use the full screen. However, things will improve as developers add support for 18:9 screens.
More screen, less footprint
Last year, the flagship phones averaged around 70% for the screen-to-body ratio. The screen-to-body ratio is indicative of the space the screen takes on the front of the phone. Designers have been hard at work, because we are already seeing a significant change with the newer flagship phones. Take the example of the LG G6, which has a 78% screen-to-body ratio. The result is that it is able to fit a 5.7-inch display in a form factor that is actually less tall and less wide than its predecessor, the LG G5, which had a 5.3-inch display—148.9x71.9x7.9mm compared to the G5’s 149.4x73.9x 7.7mm. Expect the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy S8 and the next Apple iPhone to have even thinner frames and bezels.
Juicing up faster
After dabbling with the idea of wireless charging, which turned out to be cumbersome, even sluggish, the focus has shifted to developing fast-charging standards. OnePlus is the undisputed leader at present, with the Dash Charge charging the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T’s batteries as much as 60% in 30 minutes. Now, Chinese phone-maker Meizu has introduced the Super mCharge feature, which will be rolled out with its forthcoming PRO, MX and M-series phones. It works with an 11V/5A charging connector with 55W maximum rated power—it’s claimed it can fully charge a completely discharged phone in 20 minutes.
Affordable phones will be more expensive?
When the Moto G5 Plus rolls out in markets globally later this month, the 32 GB variant will be priced at $259 (around Rs17,200). It has a newer processor and a new design language, but it is hard not to compare this with its predecessor—the Moto G4 Plus 32 GB is priced at Rs14,999. While we expect significant price jumps when it comes to the more expensive flagship phones, such as the LG G6, which is $50 more expensive than the LG G5, such steep price increases with the more affordable phones are a little worrying.
Old is gold?
History, it is said, repeats itself. BlackBerry, after multiple indications that it would give up on Qwerty keypad phones for good, is back with the same keypad in the KEYOne phone. HMD Global, which now makes Nokia branded phones, is resurrecting an old favourite, the 3310. Why? Battery life, perhaps, or maybe even the rock-solid build quality that the original 3310 offered?