It has been a pretty interesting year so far with all the different mobile and tech developments. We decided to take a look at the top technological events of the year and highlight the biggest tech announcements and launches. This included looking at an overview of the CES in January, the Google IO in May, the Apple Event in September and finally the Samsung Developer Conference in November. Where do we begin? There were so many impressive and innovative announcements with changes in biometrics, phone durability, location-based technology, newly advanced smartphones, wearables, software features and improvements to voice assistants. Let’s take a closer look at these ingenious developments:
Announcing Samsung Foldable Phones
During the Samsung Developer Conference, there was an announcement for foldable smartphones to be released in the near future in 2019. The Infinity Flex Display can be folded and unfolded hundreds of thousands of times without the screen deteriorating or showing any signs of damage to the display quality. When folded out it will measure 7.3 inches, which is roughly the size of a mini-tablet. This can then be folded back down to the size of a traditional smartphone.
New iOS 12 Features
The launch of iOS 12 in September showed some impressive new features. As we’ve mentioned before in a previous post, some of the biggest and most useful components include:
- Siri Shortcuts: reduces the steps to automate tasks and makes suggestions based on behaviour learning and monitoring in-app engagements.
- Password Autofill: simplifying account creation and login information. This is done by automatically suggesting users with secure passwords and storing their login information for different websites and apps into the iCloud Keychain. This gives them quicker access to their content even if they forget important passwords.
- Push notifications: allowing users to personalize and group together their notifications by theme, topic or mobile app, or they can even ignore them altogether.
- Apple CarPlay: ability to use other third-party navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze.
- Screentime: gathers data about the time spent on your phone and sends you the app usage statistics, for instance, how much time you spent on Facebook this week.
- App Limits: helps users manage the amount of time they spend on their phones with a feature allowing them to set usage time limits in their apps.
- Group FaceTime: can allow up to 32 participants in an audio or video FaceTime call.
- Photos app improvements: makes sharing suggestions, shows memories and shared album activity and does event and place searches.
iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
It was at the Apple conference that they announced the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max which were released to the public shortly afterwards. These devices have the most advanced features with the highest pixel density compared to any other iPhone. They also have an increased durability and a high level of biometric security with faster facial recognition logging into sensitive apps.
The XS is dust resistant and is the most water resistant iPhone with the ability to be submerged at 2 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes, making it protected against everyday spills. It also has an extra 30 minutes of battery life compared to its predecessor the iPhone X, while the XS Max has an extra hour and a half. They both have high-resolution OLED screens which are energy saving and colourful. The edge-to-edge all glass design makes it possible for wireless charging and it turns watching videos in 4K into a more immersive experience.
Wearable technology like smart watches, fitness bracelets and glasses have become more popular with more than 125 million units of wearable technology predicted to be shipped by the end of 2019, which is a big leap compared to the 50 million units that were shipped in 2015. Wearables have the ability to sync to mobile devices and apps, tracking movements, heart rates and miles or steps walked during the day. Users are then able to share their data and progress with friends which increases the overall engagement and interest in these products.
The Apple Watch Series 4 was announced at the Apple Event with features like an ECG reader and a fall detector. The ECG reader, which was approved by the FDA, can monitor a heart and can detect and notify the user of irregular heart rhythm. However, health professionals stress that this is not a replacement to going to a hospital and having an ECG done professionally. The fall detection can recognize when the user takes a bad fall. It is turned on automatically for those 65 and older and the watch will contact emergency services or message the emergency contact 1 minute after the fall if the injured person has not moved.
This Apple watch also has a 30% larger display, thinner body, new band colours, a built-in speaker that is 50% louder and a Walkie-Talkie feature which is a watch-to-watch connection that can be done from all around the world over WiFi or cellular.
Location-based technology involves tracking a user’s location. For instance, Uber requires their users to share their location so drivers can find them for pick-up. Often companies may even ask for your location for marketing purposes. It’s easier to reach users if their location is known so targeted ads can be sent in their area. This is also known as geofencing. For example, if someone with a restaurant app walks into a geofenced area within a few blocks of the restaurant, they’ll get push notifications from the app with promotions like lunch specials.
The Google IO 2018 announced some location-based advancements such as preparing for the integration of the Google Lens into Google Maps. This will give users a better idea of which direction they are walking in. Users would simply point their phone at the street in front of them and a street view AR overlay would pop-up above their google map directions.
New Google Assistant Features
Announced at the Google IO, the Google Assistant is being given a more natural tone with 6 new voices including different pitches, accents, pacing and pauses. The goal is for the assistant to have more of a global appeal, including with the integration of celebrity voices, one of which will broadcast John Legend.
One of the biggest features is continued conversation where users can keep talking to the assistant asking multiple questions within the same request without having to constantly say “hey Google”. Users can ask the assistant to perform multiple actions like turning on the TV and the popcorn maker at the same time. Furthermore, it even encourages kids to user manners like saying “please”. The assistant is also appearing in Google Maps to make more personalized recommendations and directions.
This Android phone with a built-in high-definition projector was announced at the CES. The Movi Phone is targeted toward movie lovers and provides users with the ability to enjoy video content, films and video games anywhere with a flat surface. It also has advanced features like biometric fingerprint technology and DSLR quality photography.
This AI assistant is capable of mimicking being human. It can make phone call appointments and reservations using a natural-sounding voice. For instance, the Google Duplex could book a haircut, giving details of the type of haircut needed and a confirmation of the appointment time. It has the ability to naturally respond to questions over the phone without difficulty and carry on a conversation for you. Currently, this special development is only available to a limited number of Google Pixel owners.
Google Smart Displays like the Lenovo Smart Display, include screens with smart speakers. These are voice-activated computers with a screen for displaying other information like previewing your daily commute, playing YouTube videos or making video calls.
It is amazing to see the innovative mobile and tech advancements from this past year. We are excited to see what the new year will bring and what fascinating inventions lie ahead!