Tech Sitrep: The State Of The Smartphone Industry

Smartphones are the single-most bought tech gadget and or device, in the world. Including the different models, accompanying accessories and all the apps you can buy for your phone, the smartphone industry is well into the trillions of dollars, regarding global worth. According to some of the latest estimates, it’s around $4 trillion.

That alone is the size of many developed economies. So, it’s a truly staggering rise and makes for a huge part of our lives. Nowadays, in reality, we’ve gotten used to these devices. This amazing technology is nothing out of the ordinary for us, we see it as totally normal. Inevitably, this means that our expectations have been driven so high that we now simply don’t bat an eyelid to a new development unless it’s groundbreaking. If you haven’t been following the latest updates and the talk of the town for what the future holds, here’s a little sitrep for you.

A victor is emerging

For just over a decade, one of the all-time greatest commercial battles has been raging. Apple and Samsung have been throwing haymakers at each other, in terms of developing smartphones. Each of their models has been in direct competition with the other. They’re easy, the top brands in the industry. But now, after many years of fighting hard, there seems to be a victor emerging from the dusty. Apple for many years has failed to innovate it’s iPhone. Since the Samsung Galaxy S7 was released, it’s own contemporary model has fallen short of the mark. Now the gap is just too wide, not to acknowledge. With the latest Apple iPhone 11, it seems like the once unchallenged king has been dethroned. Samsung not only came out with a better counterpart, the S10, but it’s leading the way in future smartphone design. The Samsung Fold may be one of the first if not the first truly folding phones, buts it’s by far the best. 

The iPhone 11 on the other hand, was quite literally, more of the same. For a number of years, Apple has not improved its camera quality or features. Although you now have a 12-megapixel front-facing camera, you also have a giant ‘notch’ in which it resides in. Samsung, on the other hand, has pushed its own AMOLED screen further outward. The front camera may be 10-megapixel, but it’s a tiny hole in the top right-hand corner, barely noticeable. And of course, the same old problems plague the iPhone.The iOS platform is smooth and fast in dedicated software, but it doesn’t lend itself to customization or innovation. As this decade finalizes, Samsung has clearly won the battle.

Massive data requirements

With the advent of streaming services, phones have had to adapt in a monumental way. They can’t just offer video viewing, recording and sharing anymore. They have had to increase their hardware specs, to accommodate new apps that allow movies to be watched anywhere in the world and at any time. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Now and Disney Movies are just some of the latest apps to be updated and created for smartphones and beyond.

As you would expect, if you’re going to be watching these movies while you’re on a train or perhaps in a car on a long trip, you’re going to require massive amounts of data. Thus, it no longer becomes a question of can, but if. Yes, it’s possible to watch the new Joker film on your Samsung S10, but if you don’t have a network that can provide fast and reliable 4G internet with enough data, then you’re stuck. 

Thankfully, networks like Three offer just the kind of service, someone who wishes to watch full movies on their phone would want. You have easy to use Wi-Fi calling, 99 % 4G coverage and fast speeds. You’re able to roam in 71 destinations all across the world. The best part is, you get unlimited streaming data specifically for such apps like Netflix. As an added bonus, you get unlimited Snapchat use too. In other words, it’s not the smartphones in your back pocket that will hold you back from watching movies while on the move, it’s your network. 

The incoming 5G

It’s already the talk of the town and it hasn’t even arrived. The future is going to be all about 5G. The greatest selling point is the sheer speed that can be achieved. Currently, the top 4G connections will give you about 2 gigabytes of data a second. That’s no mean feat at all. However, as aforementioned, things have changed. Loading up videos and playing games at the same time is an old hat. Now, customers want to be able to watch movies, browse social media and do a bit of online shopping all at the same time. Folding phones with large screens and multi-app usage will allow this to occur.

Thus, 5G needs to provide customers with a lot of data firepower. And it will. So far, the predictions are saying 5G will total five times the data capacity of 4G networks. You read that correctly; 5G networks will have the ability for 10 gigabytes per second. You could download an entire movie is just a few seconds. You could upload a video in a fraction of the time. You will easily be able to multitask on your phone. The second party piece is that multiple devices can be connected to the same data connection allowing more multitasking by more people, in the same place at once.

Three tied industries

Smartphones may have started the 2000s tech revolution, but this industry won’t be the torchbearer for long. Touchscreen computer technology is being implemented in modern electric-powered cars. The two industries have inevitably intertwined, with things like Apple Carplay coming as standard in most modern vehicles. However, battery technology from the car industry is leading the way for smartphone battery technology too. Cars are expected to deliver hundreds of miles in range, thus cutting edge lithium battery power units are the number one tech advancement initiative for brands like Tesla and Jaguar. 

However, electric planes are also coming onto the market. We’re truly living in the future and harnessing the battery evolution that both the automobile and aerospace industries have managed, is a watershed moment for smartphone brands. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all battery type, thus each industry would do well to learn from each other. However, instead of using lithium, Samsung is developing a new graphene-based battery that could charge your smartphone up to full in around 12-minutes. It’s also hedged that this technology could in fact fully charge Tesla models if implemented in the company’s cars. This is exactly the type of opportunity, that these three industries should utilize to develop battery technology in general.

Under your thumb

Fingerprint sensors are the most used of all the biometric unlocking systems, that all modern smartphones possess. However, the Samsung S10 has now put the fingerprint sensor underneath the glass or rather ‘in-display’. This has been achieved by using sound waves that map your fingerprints in 3D. This ultrasonic scanner is embedded in the screen so you don’t have to change grip angles to unlock your phone. More and more modern smartphones will begin to offer this and many already have. 

The status of the smartphone industry is pretty great. As this decade comes to a close, Samsung is the top dog whereas last decade it was Apple. You’re going to see a great shift in data requirements from users and providers will have to oblige by creating competitive data packages. To help them deliver for customers, 5G development can’t come soon enough. Battery technology for smartphones must be developed in conjunction with the aerospace and automobile industries if it is to become a thriving success in an increasingly on-screen time demanding world. 

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically everything this site is about. You can follow me on Twitter HERE or on Instagram HERE

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