10 smartphone trends in 2014: phablets, selfies, 4G LTE, exclusive tie-ups, and more

It has been an action-packed year so far, when it comes to smartphone launches, sales, and a number of technological improvements. In this article, I have listed 10 smartphone trends which I noticed in the year 2014.

1. Entry of new smartphone brands in India

New Smartphone Brands In India 2014

Some new, yet popular smartphone brands entered India, as the country is on it’s way to become the largest mobile phone market in the world. Xiaomi, which is being portrayed as the “Apple of China”, entered Indian with four smartphones, all of which are the most hardware-equipped for their price tags. The company manages to sell over a million smartphones in a very short period of time. Other smartphone brands like Oppo, Vivo, and Oplus were unable to create a lot of buzz, though OnePlus managed to attract a lot of eyeballs.

2. Exclusive tie-ups of smartphone brands with online retailers

Indian Online Retailers

Not only new brands, we saw smartphone vendors tying up exclusively with online retailers in the country. The trend was started with the exclusive availability of Motorola smartphones on Flipkart. Lenovo and Huawei launched some of the smartphones and tablets exclusive through Flipkart. Amazon managed to bag exclusive deals for selling the OnePlus One, the Yu Yureka, and the Lumia 638. Three Android One smartphones; the Micromax Canvas A1, the Karbonn Sparkle V, and the Spice Dream Uno, were launched as exclusives on three different online stores. There were other launches but the ones listed were one of the most important ones.

3. Value for money smartphones

Value For Money Smartphones India 2014

The Motorola Moto G (First Gen) was one of the first value-for-money, yet quality smartphone to be released in India. Xiaomi came up with four ultra value-for-money smartphones with never heard before price tags for their specifications. Asus launched a four of such smartphones; the Zenfone 4, the Zenfone 4 A450CG, the Zenfone 5, and the Zenfone 6.

Value For Money Smartphones Under 30K India 2014

Even Lenovo launched a couple of such smartphones, the Vibe X2 and the Vibe Z2 Pro, while Huawei came up with the Honor 6 and the Honor Holly. This trend might soon force big-name brands to either lower their product prices or change their whole smartphone strategy. Micromax, which was once famous for offering smartphones at lower prices when compared to established international brands, has launched a whole new smartphone brand. Yu brand of smartphones from Micromax will only be sold online with an attractive price tag, Cyanogen OS, and long-term software updates.

4. Phablets went mainstream

Samsung started the trend of large screen smartphones with its Galaxy Note series, coining the term ‘Phablet’ for the first time. Three years later, we all can see phablets in every price category. Even Apple, which was generally against larger screens in the name of ergonomics, has launched the iPhone 6 Plus with a large 5.5-inch display. A lot of smartphones in 2014 were launched with screen sizes more than 5 inches.

5. Smartphones with QHD displays

As the screen sizes increased, even the screen resolution went up. LG was the first to adopt this with the LG G3, and the others followed, though I don’t see a practical benefit of QHD displays in smartphones. Currently, some notable smartphones with 2K/QHD displays are the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Oppo Find 7, and the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro.

6. Octa-core and 64-bit processors

Samsung started using the octa-core processor in its flagship smartphones like the Galaxy S4. MediaTek came up with its first mid-range octa-core SoC, the MT6592, which was used in a lot of mid-range smartphones. Even Qualcomm announced two new octa-core processors; the mid-range Snapdragon 615 and the high-end Snapdragon 810. By the end of the year, Snapdragon 615 based smartphones were available in the country, though we’ll see Snapdragon 810 powered smartphone next year.

Octa-Core Processors
Devices
MediaTek MT6592/MT6592M
Alcatel OneTouch Flash, Alcatel One Touch Idol X+, Alcatel OneTouch Hero 2
Gionee Elife E7 Mini, Gionee Elife S5.5
HTC Desire 616w
Huawei Honor 3X, Huawei Honor 3X Pro
iBall Andi 5K Panther, iBall Andi 5S Cobalt 3
iBerry Auxus Note 5.5, iBerry Auxus Nuclea N2, iBerry Auxus Nuclea X
Intex Aqua Amaze, Intex Aqua Octa
Karbonn Titanium Octane Plus, Karbonn Titanium Octane
Lenovo A850+
Micromax A290 Canvas Knight Cameo, Micromax A350 Canvas Knight, Micromax Canvas Nitro A310,  Micromax Canvas 4 Plus A315
Obi Octopus S520
Panasonic P81
Philips I928
Vivo X3S
Xiaomi Redmi Note
Xolo Play 8X-1100, Xolo Play 8X-1000
MediaTek MT6595/MT6595M
Alcatel Onetouch D820, Meizu MX4, Lenovo Vibe X2
MediaTek MT6752
Meizu M1 Note
MediaTek MT6795
HTC Desire 850?
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
HTC Desire 820, Oppo R5, Samsung Galaxy A7, Yu Yureka
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
HTC One M9 ‘Hima’ (rumoured)
Samsung Exynos 5422
Samsung Galaxy S5
Samsung Exynos 5433
Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Meizu MX4 Pro
Samsung Exynos 5433/7410
Samsung Galaxy Note 4

 

After Apple dropped the bomb on its competitors last year with its 64-bit A7 chipset, Google has included native support for 64-bit processors in the Android 5.0 Lollipop. Even Nvidia and Qualcomm have released 64-bit processors. Nvidia’s Tegra K1 Denver SoC has a 64-bit CPU and Qualcomm has announced a complete line-up of 64-bit mobile processors; Snapdragon 410, Snapdragon 610, Snapdragon 615, Snapdragon 808, and Snapdragon 810. MediaTek has announced two new 64-bit processors; MT6752 and MT6795.

 64-bit Processors
Devices
MediaTek MT6752
Meizu M1 Note
MediaTek MT6795
HTC Desire 850?
Qualcomm Snapdragon 410
Alcatel OneTouch Pop 2
HTC Desire 510,HTC Desire 820q
Huawei Ascend G7, Huawei G621, Huawei Ascend G620S, Huawei Ascend Y550, Huawei Honor Play 4,  Huawei Honor 4 Play
Lenovo A805e, Lenovo Vibe Z2, Lenovo Sisley S90
LG F60
Samsung Galaxy A3, Samsung Galaxy A5, Samsung Galaxy Mega 2 SM-G7508Q, Samsung Galaxy Ace Style LTE, Samsung Galaxy Core Max
Vivo Y13L, Vivo Y27
Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
HTC Desire 820, Oppo R5, Samsung Galaxy A7, Yu Yureka
Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Qualcomm Snapdragon 810
HTC One M9 ‘Hima’ (rumoured)
Samsung Exynos 5430
Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Meizu MX4 Pro
Samsung Exynos 5433/7410
Samsung Galaxy Note 4

7. Selfie-centric smartphone cameras

Gionee Elife E7 Selfie Camera

Gionee Elife E7 was the first smartphone to take the front-facing camera seriously. It was equipped with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with autofocus. Sony launched its first selfie-centric mid-range smartphone, the Sony Xperia C3 with an 8-megapixel front-facing camera with an LED flash. HTC launched a bunch of smartphones with high-resolution front-facing cameras, but the most interesting device from the Taiwanese brand was the HTC Desire Eye. It is equipped with a 13-megapixel front-facing camera with autofocus, dual-tone LED flash and 1080p video recording. HTC also ships these devices with Eye Experience software, which has a lot of selfie-related features such as split capture and more.

HTC Desire EYE White Red Front & Back

Samsung started focussing on front-facing cameras with their new series of mid-range smartphones, the Galaxy A3 and the Galaxy A5. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 comes with a decent 3.7-megapixel wide-angle front-facing camera, but it has a lot of selfie-related camera features such as Wide Selfie, Beauty Face, rear-camera selfie, and using the heart-rate monitor as a selfie trigger. The Lumia 730 and the Lumia 535 from Microsoft have 5-megapixel cameras with a dedicated Lumia Selfie app. The app allows clicking of wide-angle selfies with front-facing camera and auto-capture using the rear camera. Nokia was also able to capture the world’s largest selfie, which included over a thousand people in it.

Xiaomi Redmi Note, a smartphone priced at Rs. 8,999 comes with a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

Brands
Smartphones with high-resolution front-facing cameras for better selfies
Gionee
Gionee Elife E7, Gionee Elife S5.5
HTC
HTC One M8, HTC One Me Eye, HTC One E8 Dual SIM, HTC Desire Eye, HTC Desire 820, HTC Desire 820Q, HTC Desire 816, HTC Desire 816G
Huawei
Huawei Honor 6
Intex
Intex Aqua i7, Intex Aqua i5 HD, Intex Aqua Amaze (Octa), Intex Aqua Star HD
Karbonn
Karbonn Titanium Octane, Karbonn Titanium X, Karbonn Titanium S19
Lava
Lava Iris X5, Lava Iris Pro 30+, Lava Iris Pro 30
Lenovo
Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro, Lenovo Vibe Z, Lenovo Vibe X2, Lenovo Vibe X
Micromax
Micromax Canvas Knight, Micromax Canvas Gold, Micromax Canvas 4 Plus, Micromax Canvas Doodle, Micromax Canvas Nitro A310, Micromax Canvas 4, Micromax Canvas Doodle 2, Micromax Canvas XL, Micromax Canvas Turbo, Micromax Canvas Nitro A311
Nokia/Microsoft
Nokia Lumia 730, Microsoft Lumia 535
Panasonic
Panasonic Eluga S
Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy A3, Samsung Galaxy A5
Sony
Sony Xperia C3
Spice
Spice Stellar 526, Spice Stellar Pinnacle Pro Mi-535, Spice Coolpad 2 Mi-496
Vivo
Vivo X5Max, Vivo X5, Vivo XPlay 3S, Vivo XShot, Vivo X3S
Xiaomi
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3G, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G, Xiaomi Mi 4
Xolo
Xolo Play 8X-1200, Xolo Play 8X-1100
Yu
Yu Yureka

8. 4K video recording in smartphones

OnePlus One

Thanks to high-performance processors like the Exynos 5430 and the Snapdragon 801, most of the high-end smartphones are now equipped with 4K video recording abilities. Fast image processors are necessary to accomplish such a huge task. Currently, only OnePlus One supports true 4K video recording, which is captured at 24 FPS. Other smartphones capture the videos at 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is just short of being true 4K resolution.

Unsurprisingly, the latest iPhones do not support 4K video recording with the stock camera app. Apple says that the software/hardware isn’t ready for 4K videos yet, though you can use third-party apps like the Pro Cam to capture 2160p 4K video recording.

Brands
Smartphones With 4K Video Recording
Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S5, Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy Alpha
Oppo
Oppo Find 7, Oppo Find 7a
OnePlus
OnePlus One (True 4K DCI – 4096 x 2160 pixels @ 24 FPS)
Lenovo
Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
LG
LG G2 Pro, LG G3
Nokia
Nokia Lumia 930, Nokia Lumia 1520 (with Lumia Denim update)
Sony
Sony Xperia Z2, Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

9. 4G LTE adoption

4G LTE Logo

Mobile carriers have started rolling out 4G LTE network in India, though the coverage is extremely small. This has not stopped smartphone brands in rolling out good number of devices with 4G LTE connectivity. Apple, HTC, and LG have a bunch of 4G ready smartphones in India. Lenovo, Sony, Oppo, Samsung, Xiaomi, and OnePlus have released 4G LTE ready smartphones as well.

Brands
Smartphones
Apple
Apple iPhone 5C, Apple iPhone 5S, Apple iPhone 6, Apple iPhone 6 Plus
HTC
HTC One M8, HTC One M8 Eye, HTC One E8, HTC Desire Eye, HTC Desire 820, HTC Desire 820Q
Huawei
Huawei Honor 6
LG
LG G3, LG G3 Beat, LG G2 4G LTE, LG F70 4G LTE
Lenovo
Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro, Lenovo Vibe X2
Nokia
Nokia Lumia 638
Oppo
Oppo Find 7, Oppo Find 7a
OnePlus
OnePlus One
Samsung
Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, Samsung Galaxy S5 4G
Sony
Sony Xperia Z3, Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
Xiaomi
Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G
Xolo
Xolo LT900
Yu (Micromax’s Online Only Brand)
Yu Yureka

10. Ban on the sale of smartphones in India

Not all was too rosy in the Indian smartphone market. We’ve seen a couple of bans in the past few days. First, the import and sale of Xiaomi smartphones was banned temporarily. Then, sale of OnePlus One in India was banned by the Delhi High Court.

Xiaomi vs. Ericsson

Ericsson filed a complaint against the sale of Xiaomi smartphones in India, as the Chinese smartphone vendor allegedly infringed upon some essential patents, which are owned by Ericsson. A few days later, the Delhi High Court allowed Xiaomi to sell Qualcomm Snapdragon processor based smartphones in India. Fortunately, all the smartphones from the company except the Redmi Note 3G are powered by Qualcomm processors. The final hearing of the case will commence in February 2015. To save itself from the loss, Xiaomi started selling the Redmi Note 4G in India. Meanwhile, Xiaomi might be working on an out-of-court settlement, just like Gionee did in the past.

OnePlus vs. Micromax’s Yu

After Micromax managed to bag exclusive rights for selling Cyanogen OS powered smartphones in India, it filed a complaint against OnePlus, which was selling Cyanogen OS 11S powered OnePlus One in India. After banning the sales of OnePlus One in India, the Delhi High Court lifted the ban saying that Micromax’s Yu Yureka and the OnePlus One were being sold in different price segments, making it impossible for them to eat each other’s sales.

As the year 2014 is ending, we all hope that we would see a number of important and meaningful trends next year. What do you want from smartphone brands next year? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Reported By

Leave a Reply

10 Comments on "10 smartphone trends in 2014: phablets, selfies, 4G LTE, exclusive tie-ups, and more"

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest

[…] like selfie trend is going to be a never ending fever, no matter if we are a part of that cult or not. Many […]

praveen
January 3, 2015 6:11 pm 6:11 PM
I have purchased the Auxus Nuclea X mobile and since then I am facing lots of issue with the phone. Later on the camera was not working properly so I sent mobile to service center. It is more than 4 month now. The ticket number is 773205. They come up with the same reply “your product is pending for the Auxus Nuclea X back camera in our chennai service center and we are expecting the same by next week” every time when I tried to reach/call them. I don’t want that bullshit mobile back now. never ever buy any iberry… Read more »
Rama
December 30, 2014 9:30 pm 9:30 PM
@Aisf. Nice article man its a long time since I have read such a well made tech article on Telecom Talk. For a change I will post the trends I expect for tech industry at 2015. 1. Further reduction in ASP As mentioned in the article 2014 has been the year of budget smartphones. The year started off with the Moto G which was then followed up by the Asus Zenfone line and last but not the least devices from Xiaomi such as Mi 3,Redmi 1S and Redmi Note. These smartphones has provided decent specs at low prices. Comparable handsets… Read more »
wpDiscuz