Opinion, Smartphone

Smartphone Trends That Need to Die in 2019

We wrote about tech trends that we’re excited to see in 2019, and we can’t help but to wonder about something else too – more specifically, trends that we’ve observed in the mobile space.

There were quite a number of…interesting smartphone trends in 2018, and that got us thinking: which of them need to die this year? Here are some noteworthy smartphone trends last year that we don’t need in 2019.

Notched Displays

This is probably the trend that most smartphone users are not thrilled about, and for good reason. While a notched display maximises screen real estate, it can be quite bothersome in everyday usage. To make matters worse, some phones have notched displays…for the sake of it.

Thankfully, we may not see that many smartphones with notched displays this year. After all, some phone makers have already come up with creative solutions to the display notch, including a slide-out display, and even a “hole-punch” design. The latter design has a circular cutout on the display for the front-facing camera.

But will the hole-punch design be as disruptive as the display notch? Only time will tell, though we do think it’s a better alternative to the notch.

Multi-Camera Systems

Of course we have to talk about the increasingly ridiculous number of camera sensors on a smartphone. We wrote about this spec race before, and we still stand by it: you really don’t need more than one – okay, or two – rear cameras on a smartphone. Just look at the Google Pixel 3’s impressive camera performance; it’s achieved with only a single rear shooter.

However, if recent leaks of the Huawei Mate 30 and Nokia 9 PureView are to be believed, we will see the debut of rear camera systems with five different sensors. That’s right, five, and we are puzzled as to why there’s a need for so many camera sensors.

Who knows, Huawei and Nokia may have good reasons to do so. We’ll find out soon enough as the year progresses.

“Gaming” Smartphones

We’re not saying gaming smartphones in general shouldn’t be a thing at all this year. Rather, we’re talking about smartphones that have the “gaming” moniker slapped on them for marketing purposes, and nothing else. There are a number of “gaming” smartphones like these, and we talk about it extensively here.

What we do want to see, of course, are gaming smartphones with unique feature set that further differentiate them from conventional devices. The Asus ROG Phone does this pretty well with its gaming-centric features, and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing more smartphones makers follow suit.

Inflated Prices

In a price-sensitive market like Malaysia, this trend is especially bothersome. Of course, no other smartphones define this trend quite like the new iPhones. After all, the most affordable device in the series, the iPhone XR, retails from RM3,599.

If you want the iPhone XS Max instead, which is the highest-end device in the 2018 iPhone lineup, you’ll have to fork out a whopping RM5,399. On top of that, that’s only for the base model with 64GB of non-expandable storage – not something you’d expect out of a smartphone in this price range.

Considering the fact that Apple is lowering its revenue forecast for this year – a move the company has not made in over 15 years – it’s not far-fetched to assume that the latest iPhones’ steep price tags played a role here. Nonetheless, we really hope smartphones won’t go over the RM5,000 – or even the RM4,000 – mark in 2019 for the Malaysian market.

There are many more smartphone trends that we don’t need this year, but these are definitely some of the most irksome trends we’ve noticed last year. Now, let’s see what awaits us in 2019 – we bet it will be quite an exciting year.

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