We’ve already told you which are the top phones launching next year. Here we want to talk about general trends that will shape the high-end devices launching in 2014. Or trends that these devices will enable. Here’s our list:
The industry will move beyond full HD screens, with Vevo scoring the bragging rights to launch the world’s first smartphone with 2K display (2,560 x 1,440 pixels). Other vendors will join the race featuring the same panels in their top-end models. We’re talking about such devices as Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3.
Closely related to the previous point, phablets are here to stay. Pixel density is cool, but we don’t really need 2K resolution on a 4.something-inch screen. Rather, this resolution will be reserved for phablets, which we take as devices that pack 5.3-inch screens or bigger. And with specs wars raging, suddenly everyone will want a bigger phone with flashier display.
Samsung and LG have pioneered this market with their Galaxy Round and G Flex smartphones, respectively. That’s just the beginning as both companies are working their asses off to further drive this trend, helping them score points (and technology) for the future growth. I doubt curved phone will become dominant in 2014, but we pretty much won’t stop talking about them.
NFC-based contactless payments have started becoming mainstream in some markets. However, until Apple decides to implement this technology, we’ll still be looking at something only geeks use. Presuming the iPhone 6 does rock an NFC chip and an accompanying software to make the “magic possible,” mobile wallets will finally take off, big time.
Both smart watches and smart glasses are set for a period of growth. Smart watches in particular are interesting as they allow even smaller companies to enter the market as we’ve seen with numerous crowd-funding campaigns. Smart glasses will also grow during next year, but the technology will still be too expensive for most folks. So they’ll have to “settle” for smart watches, instead.
Microsoft launching its own smartphones
Microsoft will complete the acquisition of Nokia in early 2014 and we may see their own smartphone launching later in the year. Whether it will be called Surface Phone or something else, it doesn’t matter. The Redmond giant knows this is the market worth fighting for and it will spare no resources to stay relevant. And in that sense we’ll see not one but few updates to Windows Phone released next year.
The first Ubuntu smartphone will launch next year, offering the “real convergence” to the users. And this means allowing them to use one device for all their needs. We can’t wait to see what these guys can do and whether their product could really change the way we think of mobile devices.
It remains to be seen what will come out from other platforms, namely BlackBerry, Firefox OS and Jolla/Sailfish. All of them think there’s more space in the market for growth but at the same time, they’re having hard time convincing key developers to jump on board.
BlackBerry will focus on its enterprise clientele, Mozilla will keep pushing Firefox OS to emerging markets, while Jolla will sell its platform as a viable alternative. While all that sounds plausible we’re not sure they’ll succeed in their efforts.
And that sums it up. Do you think we’ve missed something?
[Image from GSMA]