As we head towards the end of 2018, what better time to take a look at all the cool things we’ve seen in mobile this year. From improvements in AI and AR (don’t worry, it’s not all initials) to a breakthrough moment in phone charging, there’s a lot that’s got us all excited.
We’ve picked out a few of the big trends in mobile in 2018.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
You’ll already be aware of AI in the form of virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant –these have all been around a while. This year we’ve seen a leap in the use of AI to do all sorts of amazing things to the pictures we take on our phone. For example, some cameras use the clever AI built-in to know what we’re taking a picture of and where we’re taking it – otherwise known as the scenario. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro recognises over 1,000 of these scenarios, then adjusts the camera settings to take the best picture.
Google Pixel 3 also uses Google AI for its Top Shot feature, and Honor 10 has dual AI cameras. But these are just three examples of AI camera phones – it’s a popular trend in 2018. And if it means we get to take the best pictures we possibly can, well, it’s all good with us!
Augmented reality is when something real – maybe a picture of your pretty face – is turned into something that’s not so real, maybe be with the help of some angel wings or dog ears or something equally fetching. It’s great fun and we love it. Augmented reality has really taken off this year, and we’ve enjoyed trying it out.
With the Mate 20 Pro, you can bring objects to life. Take your favourite teddy bear, for instance (it’s ok, we won’t tell everyone you still cuddle it every night) – once you’ve scanned it from all angles, you can see it dance or jump or whatever right in front of you, just like this…
With the Samsung Galaxy S9, you can show off your own unique style. Pick your hair and clothes – and then put your emotion in motion with a range of movements and faces! You can even make your favourite Disney character come alive with Disney AR Emoji. Then put your emojis into your chats.
Using your phone to control your home
Smart technology has been around for a few years now, but it feels like things have really started to ramp up in the last year.
There are mobile apps that’ll help you control things like the heating and lights in your house, so on a cold wet day, you can arrive home after work to a warm, bright and toasty welcome.
We’ve seen some real advances in smart tech that helps keep your home safe, too. You can log into cameras placed in and around your house, so you know everything’s as it should be. Other apps alert you when someone’s at the door, and show you who’s there. You can be miles from home but still know your place is safe.
And finally, there’s the fun stuff. Not sure if you’ve got any milk at home? Check with your smart fridge app – which lets you see inside your fridge. You’ll never have to go without your much-needed post-work cuppa. How did we ever get by without this stuff?
We’ve talked about apps that make your home safe, but what about the phone itself? 2018 has seen yet more leaps forward in phone security.
Some of this year’s phones that support facial recognition technology include the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, iPhone XR and the iPhone XS, each making sure that the only person who can get into your phone is you – that’s as it should be.
That’s on top of fingerprint unlocking, which is now widely available – and which helps you make purchases securely.
The last thing we want to look at is charging, where we’ve seen a major breakthrough this year. The Huawei Mate 20 Pro supports reverse charging – a world first. What that means is that you can use the phone itself to charge up another device, by placing the two phones back to back. We know, pretty impressive.
Putting that aside, charging is one area where we’ve seen some real improvements. The Nokia 8 has Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 which charges your phone to 50% in half an hour, ditto the Sony Xperia XZ Premium.
2018 has been an eventful year in mobile, and 2019 is sure to be the same. Stay tuned to the Lowdown and stay in the know. And don’t forget to let us know your favourite mobile feature of 2018.