As all non-quantifiable things, it's obviously hard to tell with too much of a certainty, but a pattern definitely emerges, should you decide to dig deep. We won't bore you with academic research, of course, but before you step right into our pick of the latest smartphone industry trends, a primer should set the mood of what to expect in our pick.
Consider the LED (Light-emitting diode). It was first conceived as early as the beginning of 20th century, entered commercialization during the Sixties, yet (depending on where you live) chances are that if you look around right now, more than half the light-sources around you won't be LED. Doesn't that strike you as a little bit odd? After all, LED lights have many times higher watt-to-lumens efficiency than, say, a fluorescent bulb, they lower your energy bill and therefore also reduce greenhouse emissions. They're not ubiquitous just yet, but they're definitely trending right now – a 100 years after their conception. It's needless to say that the entire smartphone industry is built and is being actively governed by these facts of life, and while the speed of diffusion is far more rapid now, it still took a long while for most the innovations below to become a trend.
Lesson's over, but the point is, our pick is targeting trends, meaning that these have already become/ or are on path to become the norm. We're shooting for concise, so, as always -- feel free to add your insights right below!
Top 12 latest smartphone industry trends
1. The days of a charge per day may be numbered!
Fortunately for everybody involved, users are considerably more demanding as to battery life nowadays, seeing as smartphones have become an increasingly important part of our daily routine. The trend is pushing manufacturers to actually view a bigger cell as a point of differentiation, a sales pitch, and it's not unheard of for people to refuse buying into a new phone based on the size of the cell. To that end, phones like the LG G2, Motorola's RAZR MAXX line and others have shown the way for giant cells that are good to go for a day minimum, while also preserving the phone's good looks.
2. Smartphones finally outpaced feature phones
Ever heard Steve Jobs' prediction as to what is to happen with the desktop computer? While feature phones admittedly have a different place in the phone world, one could venture a guess that they will ultimately become a simplistic tool for communication whenever anything fancier simply doesn't make sense.
3. Value for money is going through the roof!
Never before could you afford as functional and powerful a smartphone than you can today, and it's become more and more common that the main trade-off is simply settling for a brand with a lesser status cache. This fact, of course, is one of the main drivers for the increasing ubiquity of smartphones.
4. Full-HD, 1080p screens and beyond
The HTC DROID DNA, the first 1080p device, was released almost exactly a year ago, and even as we speak, the industry is making its first tentative strides towards even greater heights, with as pixel dense screens as ones with a 2560x1440 resolution.
5. Nearing edge-to-edge screens
It's now not uncommon to have a device as big as 5-inches (say, the Galaxy S4) that is pocket-friendly.
6. Mini versions of flagships are running amok!
There certainly are plenty of people that feel that way. Luckily for them, despite the predominance of large-screened Android flagships, manufacturers have definitely banked on the trend of creating smaller versions of their most prominent phones. Phones like the HTC One mini, the Galaxy S3/S4 mini, along with Sony's upcoming Z1s are becoming a 'thing' that appears sure to stay.
7. Flexible screens are a go
Regardless, this is one trend that we'd love to watch as it unravels, and pioneers like LG certainly appear to be on the right path.
8. 64-bit chipsets
What's perhaps a tad more important, however, is the unmistakable clickety-clack noise one can almost hear whenever Samsung, Qualcomm or Intel speaks on the matter. Things are brewing boys, and 2014 could very well when 64-bit platforms explode.
9. Fingerprint scanners
But Apple's iPhone 5s did. And then HTC followed with an admittedly inferior version, with the HTC One max. Fingerprints are not reserved for just smartphones, with some tablets already employing one, not to mention a whole army of speculation, claiming that a number of future phones will arrive touting one.
10. Dedicated co-processors
It all really started with the Moto X and Motorola's in-house X8 chipset (based on the Snapdragon S4 Pro) and its dedicated low-powered core chip that allows for the phone to have an always-on listening feature. Apple's M7 chip also falls into this category, though Cupertino is using that one for different things. With these in mind, we're definitely interested in seeing what other manufacturers can think up in this particular field.
11. Smart wearables
Your fancy new smartwatch or Google Glass still needs to connect to your smartphone in order to be a fully functional perk, and it might be a while still until this changes and manufacturers are able to stuff all the essentials in a watch or whatever may come next.
12. Optically-stabilized image goodness
If you ever felt like that's a real problem, then you should be feeling quite happy, as OIS is becoming more and more predominant, at least in the flagship range. As time goes by and parts costs go down, we truly hope that OIS will become a tad more common part of the package.