Screens grow, cameras improve and emerging markets come into focus
The LG G Pro 2, Nokia X, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2 among notable newcomers
IDG News Service - Phone manufacturers are once again hoping improved cameras and bigger and better screens will be enough to get users to upgrade, while at the same time increasing efforts to get consumers in emerging countries to buy their first smartphone.
Here are three of the biggest smartphone trends from this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
If there is one common denominator among the high-end phones announced at the show it is improved cameras.
Before the show even started, LG Electronics announced the G Pro 2, which lets users shoot HD videos at 120 frames per second and 4K content, a feature that makes sense for a company like LG, which is also trying to get consumers to buy 4K TVs. A feature called "magic focus" lets the user select the preferred depth of focus before saving, LG said.
Those features again showed up when Sony and Samsung on Monday launched the Xperia Z2 and the Galaxy S5. The two phones can both shoot 4K video, and the Z2 can record 120 frames per second to create a slow-motion effect. They can also control the background focus; Samsung calls its feature "selective focus" and Sony's smartphone has a feature called "background defocus."
Samsung, which increased the resolution on the S5 to 16 megapixels, also highlighted a 0.3 second autofocus, and Sony bragged about an improved shutter speed. LG, on the other hand, plugged its combined hardware and software imaging stabilization. The Z2 and the S5 both lack optical image stabilization.
Screens grow, but resolution stays the same
The second trend is the continued growth of screen sizes. Among expensive smartphones, the increases are small: from 5 inches to 5.1 inches on the Galaxy S5 and from 5.1 inches 5.2 inches on the Xperia Z2. For people who want even larger screens, ZTE's Grand Memo II has a 6-inch versus a 5.7-inch screen on the company's first Grand Memo model.
Getting a bigger screen still comes at a cost. The Galaxy S5 is 15 grams heavier, and about 5 millimeters longer and 3 millimeters wider than the S4.
But it isn't just high-end smartphones that are getting big screens. Nokia's XL has a 5-inch screen and costs 109 euros ($150) before taxes and subsidies. Of course, users of that phone won't get full HD resolution, instead they have to settle for 800 by 480 pixels, which doesn't look as bad as it sounds.
One thing that hasn't improved is the highest resolution, which still tops out at 1920 by 1080 pixels. Before the show, there was speculation that some flagship devices would make the leap to 2560 by 1440 pixels, but that didn't happen.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Cybersecurity Imperatives Reinvent Your Network Security With Palo Alto Networks The Rise of CyberSecurity
- 10 Things Your Next Firewall Must do Next-Generation Firewalls Defined
- Firewall Buyers Guide Operate as the core of your network security infrastructure
- Getting Started With a Zero Trust Approach to Network Security The Traditional Approach to Network Security is Failing. View Now>>
- Webinar: Building a Big Data solution that's production-ready Big data solutions are no longer just a nice-to-have.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well... All Smartphones White Papers | Webcasts