Mobile World Congress (MWC) is the biggest mobile phone event held annually in Barcelona Spain. This year too, the event witnessed many launches and announcements of new products. We closely observed the new flagship smartphones launched or announced at the MWC 2015 and found out some common trends which most brands are following in their flag-bearer phones. These top-of-the-line products also reflect the vision of the brands as well as smartphone industry. Many of these features are based on the feedback of the customers as well as the studies. Some of the features and innovations, which were displayed at the MWC, are the brain-child of the designers and the innovators who are paid handsomely to keep their respective brands one step ahead of the competition. Here are our observations on common trends followed by flagship phones at MWC.
Build over specs
Gone are the days, when a phone will sell because it has a faster processor. Of late, most brands have access to equally fast hardware and the spec war is almost over. And the focus of phone-makers as well as customers is on the design-and-build quality. More brands are now very picky about the choice of the material for making smartphones. We see many of them using metal and high-strength glass more than ever before. Plastics are still in use but there is a drastic improvement in the quality. More and more brands are playing with different type of metal alloys, different finish and textures with an aim to stand out as against their competitors. This is a welcome change as better-built phones not only look premium but are also more durable.
For past few years, every time a brand announced a new flagship, it was larger in display by about half an inch as compared to the predecessor. This happened so much so that some mainstream flagships (Nexus 6) hit the 6-inch display size mark. Thankfully this trend has now saturated for most brands with a 5 to 5.5-inch display size. Beyond a certain size, the phones are too big to fit in a normal pocket and too bulky to carry. The size and weight of most new flagships launched at the MWC 2015 has not increased as compared to the previous generation flagships.
Camera is crucial
Most of the product demos and presentations stress a lot on rear camera as a USP of the product. More than ever before, the cameras are considered to be a crucial factor for customers while buying phones.
OIS (optical image stabilization), which was a rare feature on smartphones just a couple of years back, is now almost a standard for most flagship phones (not all of them though). Low-light photography, fast focus, ability to capture fast-moving objects, quickly opening the camera, and shooting are some features that most flagships are banking on. Also, 4K video-recording feature is something that is offered by most flaghips.
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you took a selfie? Not long ago, right? The trend of taking selfies has caught up like wild fire. Most flagship phones now offer wide-angle front camera with high aperture numbers, larger pixel size and a lot of beauty modes in-built at software level to enhance the beauty of the pictures. Not having a good selfie front-facing camera can be a deal breaker for a lot of buyers who spend their money on expensive flagship phones. And this time, most flagships have come with better front-facing cameras as against what they have offered on their previous generation phones.
Use of biometrics
Making payments or unlocking phone via fingerprint authentication, face and eye scan to unlock the phone, and many such features which make use of authentication on biometric level are picking up these days. There are still many phones which have not included these features, but this trend will be seen on more phones in the coming days.
User experience over marketing gimmicks
Phone-makers are shifting their focus on optimization of their phone software and making the user experience more seamless and smooth as compared to overloading the phones with tonnes of features which are seldom used. This is also a step in right direction. We have seen many brands working on simplifying their phone’s UI (user interface) for a better user experience rather than making them bulky. After all technology is meant to simplify life, not complicate it.
64 bit computing
Most of the latest generations chipsets made by the chip makers, and then used in these flasghips phones, use 64 bit computing architecture. With a 64 bit architecture (compared to 32 bit), the computing and memory efficiency of the system is improved especially if the software is also optimized to support the 64 bit architecture. These changes are at the core of the phones and may not come to a customer’s notice, but underneath, they improve phone’s performance.
Curves are in
This trend was started a couples of years back when we saw the first mainstream flagship smartphone with a curved display. Although it never made its way to many customer’s pockets as it was fairly expensive, yet it started a trend. Since then, we have seen many such innovations like edge displays, more phones with curved displays. The technology is still in use only by a couple of brands, but as we mentioned in one of our previous stories, the trend will catch up soon as the prices of curved-display technology become more affordable.
Did we miss on something important here? Do let us know your thoughts and suggestions in comments section below.