There’s little left to innovate on with the now-traditional slate-style smartphone, with the screen spanning from edge to edge and internal hardware capable of meeting nearly any typical consumer’s needs, and that extends to most other mobile devices, like tablets, as well.
Here are a few ways companies are looking to add tech to push consumers to upgrade their devices heading into 2020.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Vivo is looking to use AI-powered 5G devices to drive growth in India. The company reached 21% market share in India in October 2019, its highest-ever level in the country, and is looking to build on that momentum with greater use of AI to better serve users’ needs. Its AI products and tools can help consumers go about their activities with the Jovi AI assistant, which is built in and can present information based on common user scenarios. It also uses AI to improve camera performance. Whether Vivo will be able to take advantage of 5G networks in India in 2020 — where the first spectrum auctions haven’t yet begun — is unclear but unlikely, but mid level devices with capable features should help the company continue on its upward trajectory.
Samsung is potentially planning to use glass in an upcoming foldable phone design, rather than plastic. Leaked images and designs show a clamshell-style folding smartphone — akin to the revamped Moto Razr, rather than the Galaxy Fold — that reportedly sports a glass top layer. Glass has been the touchscreen material of choice since the release of the iPhone and the rise of capacitive touchscreens, but Samsung, Huawei, Motorola, and other companies looking to use the emerging foldable form factor have had to return to plastic since they don’t have glass flexible enough to bend yet. Should Samsung move toward glass for folding, it could do better in offering the premium-feeling devices customers expect at foldable phones’ price points, while also making the devices tougher and more scratch-resistant.
Samsung is also aiming to boost its standing in the tablet space by introducing a 5G-enabled Galaxy Tab. Apple dominates the global tablet market with 31% of shipments as of Q3 2019, with Samsung coming in third behind Amazon. The company’s efforts at the forefront of 5G device development could help it offer something that competitors on the market can’t yet, but at the same time, the paucity of 5G network coverage and the likely price premium such a device would carry with it mean a 5G tablet is unlikely to make a marked impact on the market.
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