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Home / Technology / Tech Trends 2019: The Straits Times looks at consumer technology in the new year, Smartphones News & Top Stories

Tech Trends 2019: The Straits Times looks at consumer technology in the new year, Smartphones News & Top Stories

Slimmer and 5G-enabled phones

The idea that smartphones have peaked overall steam last year among engineers.

The figures support this.

Global smart phone sales deep in the last quarter of 2017, although the market was back to growth (1.8 percent) in the first quarter last year.

The latest report for the third quarter last year was also anemic – sales increased only 1.4 percent from the same quarter in 2017. [19659003] Sales are plateauing as consumers, especially those in developed markets, do not upgrade as often as before.

But the market slowdown looks like forcing manufacturers to innovate out of the downturn.

Take the collapsible smartphone, which can actually be something this year. Chinese firm Royole Corporation was the first to announce such a unit last year, but all eyes will be on market leader Samsung after revealing its own collapsible prototype in November.

In addition to the rumored price of this Samsung-foldable phone (a hefty US $ 1

800 or $ 2,460), it's a question of usability.

"A collapsible phone can actually benefit business users and processes by enabling mobile employees with a pocket device that can be converted to a larger screen for productivity purposes, at least," says Bryan Ma, vice president of client market research at IDC .

But he feels that it will take time for developers to write programs that dynamically adjust and exploit the larger screen.

At the same time, manufacturers are continuing to reduce the limits of the smartphone displays.

The latest design innovation against this goal is the hole-punch camera display, where a hole is made near the corner of the s screen to accommodate the front camera.

"This technology is complex because it involves cutting through the layers on the screen and adding the camera sensor beneath it. It can cause light scattering around the edges," says Parv Sharma, an analyst at Counterpoint Research.

He adds that holes

Huawei and its Honor sub-brand, as well as Samsung, have already shown smartphones with this feature last year.

Specifically, Samsung's next flagship smartphone is Galaxy S10. The series, heavily rumored to track a similar hole

5G – fifth generation mobile network – is also on the cards, these networks, which promise top speeds of up to 10GB and low latency, are rolled out this year in markets such as United States Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 855 chipset supports a 5G network modem.

Will Wong, IDC's research manager, says the first 5G smartphones will be introduced this year, although most countries, including Singapore, do not have the 5G networks ready yet.

"He's the rise of Chinese smartphone vendors has accelerated the market competition and stimulated the need to be the first mover in the market," he said.

Mr Sharma expects more than 15 manufacturers to introduce 5G smartphones this year. These phones will start at around US $ 800.

Apple iPhone users may have to wait until 2020 for a 5G-enabled iPhone, Qualcomm and Apple have locked horns in a patent lawsuit, the latter switching to an Intel modem for their Newer iPhones

TV screen that hides

TVs with rewind screens are on the cards of TV producer LG, the South Korean electronics giant first revealed a prototype TV with a retractable Oled screen (right) in the fourth CES Mass. According to Bloomberg, this "scrollable" TV will be released commercially this year.

Design of a scrollable TV is a way to minimize the visual impact of TVs, which are increasingly sporting larger screens, said Paul Gagnon, CEO at market research firm IHS Markit. "The idea of ​​a scrollable screen that can be removed from the living environment is attractive and also facilitates the transport of a very large screen."

Another example of this trend: Manufacturers such as Samsung and LG make the TV look like picture frames that can interfere with the surroundings or view. This ensures that the TV does not become a gigantic black hole on the wall when not in use, says Mr. Gagnon.

It is also likely that the start of this year is Samsung's microLED television. As the Oled technology, the individual pixels in a microLED display emit light, resulting in better contrast and deeper blacks than LCD technology.

The difference is that microLED displays use inorganic material (gallium nitride), which has higher brightness levels than the organic material in Oled screens.

Mr Gagnon expects the market to grow slightly, with about 223 million units shipped. Nearly 99 percent of these TVs will use LCD technology, while the rest will use Oled displays.

Oled-TV, despite the relatively high prices, is popular among wealthy consumers. The supplies are expected to grow from 2.5 million units over the last 3.4 million

Vincent Chang

New and updated cameras on the cards

The camera industry has been considered a sunset for a long time.

But it happened last year with the launch of new full-frame mirror-free camera systems from imaging giants Canon and Nikon, EOS R and Z6 / Z7 respectively.

Further stoking excitement was theL-Mount Alliance of Leica, Panasonic and Sigma, announced last year Photokina, the world's largest camera show. The Alliance allows Panasonic and Sigma to create cameras and lenses for the Leica L-mount system.

As such, there is a lot of excitement and expectation for this year.

One thing is certain – photography buffers will definitely see the launch of Panasonic S1 and S1R full-frame mirror-free L-cameras. I had a short hands-on session with a non-functioning prototype in Photokina and loved the feel and handling.

But Olympus seems to be happy with the Micro Four Thirds format, while Fujifilm has not signaled any intention to go full-frame as it has a medium-format mirror-free camera system.

Olympus is likely to launch its next flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II successor this year. Rumors are that it will be called E-M1X and may be released as early as next month.

Fujifilm's 2017 X-T20, AMS-C SLR with its APS-C, needs updating and rumors pointing to a first quarter launch.

With an Olympic year and Tokyo host, Canon and Nikon will probably hold the launch of their flagship DSLR cameras next year.

As such, the two image drivers are likely to concentrate on expanding the lens's lines for their full-frame SLRs. But hopefully they can be surprising by launching a full-frame mirror-free model this year.

At the same time, there is hope that the camera industry will begin to embrace computing photography or image recording using digital computing techniques.

Google Pixel 3's amazing Night Sight feature has shown how photography can benefit when computing photography is done right. It may be the key to making cameras great again.

Trevor Tan

Smartwatches and training tracks get more features

The weary market will continue to grow as the differentiation between smartwatches and basic training tracks becomes more blurred.

Smartwatches usually have more features like built-in GPS, larger touchscreen and faster performance, but they are more expensive. Training tracks are cheaper, but provide only basic training monitoring features.

However, both categories have been ante. Several smartwatches have advanced health features, such as Apple Watch Series 4 with ECG metering, while multiple training tracks have touch screen displays and can display alerts.

Jitesh Ubrani, IDC's senior research analyst, says: "Many new basic wearables have features such as alerts or simple app integrations that bleed into the smartwatch territory. Since more features are added and the price difference between basic trackers and smartwatches narrows, brands can potentially move Consumers upstream of smartwatches. "

According to IDC, Apple Watch will continue to dominate the smartwatch category over the next few years. Apple led the market last year with a 47 percent forecast share. While this is expected to fall to 36.2 percent by 2022, it will continue to be the market leader.

Currently, the smartwatch market is being amplified by the relatively stable and higher average sales price of Apple Watch, says Alan Antin, senior manager of research firm Gartner. But the average sales price of smartwatches is expected to fall due to lower prices and higher volumes.

Worldwide portable unit transfers will reach 225 million this year, an increase of 25.8 percent from last year, Gartner says.

Technology brands such as Apple, Fitbit and Samsung have good management in the smartwatch market, but traditional watch sets will pick up.

Antin says: "Traditional watches like Fossil and Casio will gain market share by offering more style and choice in their portfolio than technology brands."

Montblanc presented the fantastic Summit 2 smartwatch last year, while Casio Wear OS smartwatch WSD- F30 launches this month. Fans can look forward to several such smart watches from traditional and luxurious watch brands this year.

Trevor Tan

Innovative design for PCs

Computers, unlike smartphones, have long reached maturity, with changes in PC design

But PC vendors continue to experiment with new form factors.

Noticeable newer examples are HP's leather-bound Specter Folio convertible and Lenovo's dual-screen Yoga Book.

In fact, Ms. Mikako Kitagawa, senior research analyst at market research firm Gartner, says several vendors can take a page from the Yoga Book, which comes with two monitors – an E Ink display and a standard touch screen – and comes up with their own versions.

Change brews also in computers. Over a year ago, Qualcomm revealed its plans to compete with Intel in the PC segment with a Windows 10 laptop powered by a Qualcomm chip.

The company increased its efforts last month with the Snapdragon 8cx platform, which promises constant connectivity, including 5G support, as well as long battery life.

Qualcomm says these units will be launched in the third quarter of this year.

In the first half of last year, the PC market seemed to be in its best form for several years. Global PC shipments made a slight increase (2.7 per cent) in the second quarter of 2018 – the first time in six years – according to Gartner.

But the market became flat in the third quarter, and it is unlikely the fourth quarter of last year will show an improvement due to the ongoing lack of Intel processors running most computers.

Intel's top-ranked AMD has been re-energized in recent years and has a good product in its Ryzen processor.

But PC Suppliers, especially portable suppliers, cannot easily switch chip suppliers at short notice to relieve Intel's processor capacity.

Ms Kitagawa expects the processor to ease later this year. She does not believe that the current shortage will have a lasting impact on demand, as this is driven by companies upgrading to Windows 10.

Overall, she expects worldwide PC shipments to increase somewhat this year compared to last year.

Vincent Chang

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