Technology develops at such a rapid pace that it sometimes seems like true innovation can happen in the blink of an eye. With the news, prototypes and first-gen products that we saw in 2018, these are the technologies we hope to see in their final form in 2019.
New battery technology
Smartphone makers in particular always have to tread the fine line between making their models slim and trim, and giving them batteries that allow them to easily run for at least an entire day without needing a top-up.
We hope that companies come up with new battery technology that makes it possible to go for days without needing a socket. Hydrogen cells are looking promising, and there are other efforts that may pay off by next year.
Widespread in-screen fingerprint readers
Smartphone screens look better without any distractions, and relegating the fingerprint reader to the back or replacing it with facial recognition security are the typical ways to clean up the front.
Some companies have already come up with in-screen fingerprint readers, although these are typically relegated to midrange or flagship models. Performance can often be slow or inaccurate, which is why we hope to see this feature become faster and better, and be applied across the different price ranges.
Cheaper and better true wireless earphones
Wireless earphones have a tough job. They need to stay connected to each other and to the audio source, all the while providing good sound quality and decent battery life.
This far, there are very few models that can do all these things, and all of them cost an arm and a leg. We hope to see more affordable models that can do the same in 2019.
Innovative ways to avoid the notch
In 2018, we saw various takes on motorized cameras and sliding mechanisms of different types. Towards the end of the year, the “punch hole” look (which involves putting the camera to the left or right of the display’s top) was starting to spread.
Hopefully by next year, we will see less-obtrusive ways of fitting in front cameras and IR sensors. Prototypes of under-screen cameras have already been seen, and perhaps these will be included in upcoming smartphone models.
With smartphones already hovering at the too-big-for-a-pocket size, we know for certain that there is a limit to how big they can feasibly be. The strong demand for larger screens hasn’t changed, however.
To deal with this, Samsung and Huawei are among the big manufacturers that have promised to start selling foldable smartphones in 2019. We hope this actually does happen, and that there are no deal-breaking compromises to this tech.
Lytro’s Light Field Camera was perhaps the first commercially available product to offer image refocusing (changing the focus of an image after it is taken). While this was a cool feature, getting an extra camera just for it wasn’t very appealing for most people.
In 2019, we hope to see image refocusing built into the feature set of native camera apps of smartphones. This will probably come hand-in-hand with new lens or image sensor technology.
Real modular devices
After we said goodbye to the promise of Google’s Project Ara, we never stopped pining for an actual modular smartphone, in which you could choose which components to add, and upgrade existing ones instead of buying a completely new device.
We hope that by next year, we see the launch of these real modular devices that let you swap the processor, camera, display and other major components on demand.
While efforts to raise the “I” of AI continue at a brisk pace, we have yet to see artificial intelligence that is at the level in which it can carry on a natural conversation at a human-like level. Perhaps a breakthrough in quantum computing would provide the brainpower necessary to make this happen.
Hopefully by 2019, we see the rise of AI so good that we won’t have to remember the trigger phrases and cue words, and we can just tell them naturally what we need them to do.
With LTE still not completely rolled out across the country and with the majority of manufacturers not including 5G modems in their devices, the chances are low that we will actually get this technology in the next 12 months.
But for the sake of the faster data speeds, wider bandwidth, lower latency and increased connectivity that 5G promises, we really hope to see it begin to roll out in 2019.
Faster speeds, more bandwidth, more service reliability and no data caps or throttling? We can only hope to see these improvements in home internet in 2019. We’re crossing our fingers (but not holding our collective breaths).
No matter what actually makes it out in 2019, one thing is for sure: you’ll find it and a whole lot more great tech when you #CheckCyberzone. See you there!