Everyone loves a shiny new smartphone in their hands. But if you look back into the last couple of months, there hasn’t been much going on in the premium smartphone segment to make new releases stand out from their predecessors. An additional camera here, a more curved edge there, this has been more or less the pace of innovation in this segment. Of course, we have seen things like punch-hole cameras, better & faster processors, rapid charging rates, and bigger batteries, but all of them certainly lack that oomph factor.
However, some exciting things are just on the horizon and we would suggest holding off that big-ticket splurge on your next smartphone, unless, you most certainly need to. We say that with good conviction driven by a number of reasons as you’ll find out below.
1. Snapdragon 865 is on the horizon
Yes, the annual refresh to the best in the processor market for Android phones. The Snapdragon 865 is, in all certainty, expected to be announced in early December and will be ahead of the Snapdragon 855+ in both absolute performance and power consumption. Given the past trends, 15-20% improvement in performance is all but certain.
2. 5G modems are going to become standard
While 5G connectivity is largely missing from the globe (in markets like India, we don’t expect it to be launched commercially anytime before 2021-2022), one can never be too much futureproof. If you are hoping to keep your phone for at least two or three years, it makes sense to get one that doesn’t become obsolete as soon as 5G is available in your region.
We expect most of the flagships next year to come with a 5G modem (along with support for 4G, of course) as standard. That should make you 5G ready. Enough said.
3. Better displays
It is safe to assume that the resolution wars are more or less over. The next big thing in displays is the refresh rate. Most current flagships offer a 60Hz display, but some, like the OnePlus 7T Pro, are known to offer a 90Hz refresh rate on their phones. Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone with a 120Hz display, while we are hoping Samsung would offer at least 90Hz display on the S11, if not more.
Long story short, 90Hz displays are much more pleasing to the human eye. Although, they do consume more battery.
4. Faster memory
UFS 2.1 is on its way out to be replaced by UFS 3.0 which allows data transfer speeds of up to 23.2 Gbps. A faster memory translates into an overall faster phone.
Again, this isn’t something completely new and a few phones on the shelves, such as the OnePlus 7 series, already support the new memory standard. We are just hoping it becomes the standard by next year.
5. In-screen front cameras (maybe?)
This one is wishful thinking on our part, but maybe, just maybe, we might see the first phones with an in-screen front-facing camera. That means no more punch-holes, notches, or pop-up mechanisms. We don’t think anybody can argue with the fact that in-screen cameras beat the rest of the pack in terms of design or practicality (if they can be made as we imagine them to be).
6. Better cameras
Well, this one is a given. We are already seeing sensors with 100+ megapixels crammed into tiny space and wouldn’t be surprised if they get better at low-light photography. Of course, we wouldn’t recommend holding off a purchase just for the camera since the innovation never moves to the slow lane in this area.
Even if the new flagships next year come with half of these features, we think it will be a substantial upgrade by any means. These innovations are a solid reason to wait for a little more and get a flagship phone six-months down the line, provided, there is no urgency. While you might not care about some of these features, but even if you don’t, expect the prices of phones lacking them to fall off of a cliff.