Ng: The future of smartphones

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MOST of the news I read point out that mobile smartphones sales may be plateauing. In fact, this year may have a slight drop.

It is basically because most people are hanging on to their older phones longer, as there seems to be no perceptible new feature or speed worth paying for.

However, there are two pending technologies that could alter this in the next two to three years.

First, is the upcoming 5G technology. 5G is touted to be over 100 times faster, up to 10 Gbps, than the current 4G LTE. To give a comparison, a two-hour movie may take five to 10 minutes to download on 4G will take only a few seconds on 5G.

However, even in most advanced countries, the rollout and the phones won’t be expected until next year. Even Apple does not expect to announce an iPhone with 5G this year. Even if the smartphone is possible, there won’t be many places you can use that speed unless the telcos also upgrade their equipment.

The other new thing to look forward to is the foldable smartphone.

Samsung, Huawei, and some of the smartphone makers have introduced new “foldable” phones, in which the screen can almost be doubled by folding. It’s like carrying a tablet because it has a 7.3-inch display, but you can put it in your pocket because it can be folded. However, the current prices are still at around $2,000 dollars, so unless you are loaded, everybody will be waiting for the price to come down before it gets widespread adoption.

One thing manufacturers will stop making are Blu Ray players. Blu Ray was supposed to be the next generation DVD, able to produce videos that have a 1080p or 4k resolution. However, most people I know, myself included, never went out to buy one. It is because streaming TV or internet downloads can already give that kind of resolution on-demand and with less hassle to go out to buy Blu Ray discs. Even Samsung, the leader of Blu Ray sales, announced that they will discontinue production.

Meanwhile, powering technology now relies a lot on lithium ion batteries. I am sure you now know that lithium ion batteries (particularly power banks) are now banned in most airline check-in luggage and you have to hand-carry it. This is because they have been linked to fires, like those of the Galaxy Note 7, hoverboards, and many other incidents.

Even in some airports, power banks are regulated in hand-carry luggage. In one airport in China, I had a powerbank that they didn’t allow in because the capacity of the device was not indicated.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also announced that lithium ion batteries are not allowed to be shipped in passenger aircraft cargoes anymore. They have to go through cargo-only aircraft, and only if the batteries do not exceed 30 percent when packed with other devices.


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