Friday, July 20, 2018

2017 was filled to the brim with innovation from smartphone makers. Everywhere you turned, phones were getting thinner. Their bezels became impressively small, that is, if they weren’t eradicated completely from the design. In a way, the future arrived.

But what does that mean for 2018? Based on some trustworthy rumors that we’ve scooped up in the past few months, the likes of trendsetters like LG and Samsung look to be placing their bets on fleshing out their respective platforms. The ideal end result? What’s inside will appeal to you as much as their highly-polished shells do.

MWC 2018 is the launching point for what the year in mobile holds. It’s where we’ll be on the ground to see the latest trends crop up. So, what will we see?

LG V30 Alpha hints at refinement, not reinvention

LG is rumored to be launching the LG V30 Alpha, a new version of its acclaimed 2017 flagship smartphone that we’ve heard carries its biggest changes on the inside, with the inclusion of several AI enhancements.

It seems like a strange move for the company to release a rehash of the LG V30, but looking back at an interview we held with LG executive Frank Lee at MWC 2017, it’s not coming from nowhere.

He teased at LG’s lean toward refining the experience, saying “…our heart is looking toward deeper integration with the camera. How do you make photography and video a lot more natural and richer? You’ve seen it already in Google Photos, with its layers of contextual information and intelligence.“

Will the LG V30 Alpha be a brand new model or just an update to pre-existing phones? We’ll find out soon.

Samsung Galaxy S9 rumors tell us it’s what’s inside counts

Details on the Samsung Galaxy S9 aren’t as concrete, with what we know about 2018’s heavy-hitter being based entirely on rumor and speculation. Most of the chatter is focused on its camera, which is said to be vastly improved over what we saw in the Samsung Galaxy S8. The Galaxy S9 Plus is rumored to push the boundaries on RAM and internal storage, too.

It’s possible that Samsung will, too, be injecting AI smarts into its Samsung Experience software, or just planting Bixby wherever there’s a space to do so. But looking at the leaks, it seems like this year’s Samsung phone will be but an iteration on the S8’s bezel-reduced design, not a brand new look.

Not all smartphone makers take part in the MWC 2018 festivities, but it’s where we’ll be seeing the trends that hit (or miss) mark their start. To keep up, make sure you hang around on TechRadar when the conference starts on February 26.

Sure, there will still be plenty of shake-ups in smartphone design. The fingerprint sensor embedded in a display will likely hit it big with several major manufacturers, and, of course, we’ll continue to see companies try to stand out with unique bezels and try to out-notch the iPhone X.

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