I have been fascinated by smartphone design trends of the present year. Although there was significant progress when we talk about technology regarding processing power, memory and software, what caught the eye of a lot of people including me was the immense variety and innovation which happened in smartphone aesthetics. The present year could be marked as the year of notched smartphones, and also the entry year for the dewdrop styled notch. Screens and smartphone hardware went through repetitive iterations of designing and creative input to offer the latest and the best to the consumers. There were also some outliers in this phenomenon as we got to see the pop-up cameras in some phones and the even the ditching of the fingerprint sensor owing to the new in-display fingerprint sensing technology.
However, the question is what’s next for smartphones? We are already looking towards the end of 2018, and there have been a plethora of announcements for smartphones slated to release in 2019. As such, I have noted down a few trends which are expected to surface in 2019 as mainstream design parameters for smartphones. Read further to know what I think about smartphone aesthetics and innovation for the upcoming year.
After launching numerous notched smartphones this year, we got to see a sharp inclination of the industry towards the dewdrop styled notch in the previous weeks. As per my opinion, this can only mean one thing. The smartphone manufacturers are ready to let the notch go, and the trend is not here to stay. The main aim of the manufacturers has shifted from merely shipping the notch to attaining more and more screen to body ratio. To accomplish that, brands like Samsung are going for Infinity displays while other brands have resorted to the tiny notch which houses the front camera packed into one small space.
With phones like Mi Mix 3 in the pipeline, our estimation is reinforced as we get to see a trend racing towards the edge to edge screens and another direction of moving away from the notch.
More Attention to Colours
After witnessing and going through a lot of smartphones launches, we have seen that colours had a lot of roles to play in this year’s smartphone competition. Up until last year, smartphone makers had paid little to no attention to the colour variants except for a few notable brands. The only colour variants available were the standard black and white. However, in the present year, when I look at brands like Honor and Realme, which have substantially claimed their ground in the Indian market, have also introduced phones with extremely innovative colour schemes like hue and diamond cut back.
Other brands have also followed suit, and they are on the path of launching new colours, shades and design. Google even went a step ahead and launched a ‘Not Pink’ variant of its Pixel 3 device.
The latest launch of the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xr which debuted with the eSIM technology made it clear that this technology would be here to stay and it would especially thrive in 2019. Although there is little initial support from the telecom operators since the technology is in nascent stages, there is no reason to say that embedded SIMs won’t be useful. As per my opinion, since the technology has already worked in Apple Watch and it reduces the hassle of a mechanical SIM tray and slot, it is bound to make things easier for both smartphone makers and consumers. Further, the telecom operators will be in profit as they will be able to cut down the costs of manufacturing physical SIM cards.
The eSIM phenomenon is something that we will look forward to in the next year.
Material Design and Minimalism
Before this, Material design or minimalistic design principles mostly prevailed in the UI and UX development of applications and software. However, the trend has now also affected outer smartphone aesthetics as well. There was an obvious affection of buyers towards minimally crafted smartphones, and even the companies focused their attention on the same. The chrome or golden bezel mounts which were seen a lot in 2017, were replaced with clean curved backs this year. This trend is expected to follow in the upcoming year and as far as I believe it will also most likely penetrate the budget segment smartphone market which has been known to make flashy phones until now.
Dual Front Cameras
While this year was the year of dual rear cameras, next year is going to be the year of dual front cameras. The trend which was initially started by Honor has been picked up by the giants like Google for its Pixel 3XL and Xiaomi for its Redmi Note 6 Pro. With that being said, there is going to be apparent support for the same by other brands as well. Owing to this, next year I expect to see some devices which ship with some impressive bokeh mode capability not only for the rear camera but also for the front camera as well.
That’s all for 2019 design trends. Down in the comments below, tell us about which of these five trends you might like or dislike.
Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.