The past year has seen the launch of numerous handsets in the mobile market, and while this includes a large number of devices from big brands (such as Samsung, LG, Apple and the like), budget manufacturers have managed to retain a fair share of the market space too. The year 2016 was great for buyers trying to buy phones within AED 800, given the fact that devices with more than 3500 mAh battery units are now available under AED 500 price segment. Let’s also not forget the incredible specs offered in OnePlus 3 and 3T, which clearly imply that one does not need to spend 2k-3k AED for a premium device.

The Emerging Trends in 2016

Although it is not easy to list all the inventions incorporated in mobile handsets in the past year, we try to summarize in the below sections the major changes that have appealed to users. The first among them is the inclusion of displays with better screen resolutions. In fact, even budget handsets now offer displays supporting a resolution of 1280x720p. A decrease in manufacturing costs have had a direct impact on the price, and that means that manufacturers can afford integrating better displays for the same cost. To the end user, this would mean better viewing angles, richer multimedia, and crisp text.

RAM capacities have also seen a new high, with 2GB now being a uniformly accepted standard. 6GB RAM is not of unheard of anymore, and you don’t have to buy a flagship phone for these specs necessarily. Similarly, internal memory (with 16GB being the most adopted standard in 2015) has spiked up, and 32GB is more commonly sold, with 64GB phones following not too far behind.

The year also witnessed the popularity of 4G networks throughout the country. In contrast to 3G (which managed to retain a high-end characteristic for a long time), 4G has been adapted throughout, even in phones falling under the AED 300 bracket.

Needless to say, with all the specifications, designs and performance improvements being made by relatively smaller smartphone manufacturers, it is now practically difficult to go for a flagship device that costs more than AED 2500. Companies, however, raise the bar each year, but there was a significant shift in the industry in 2016. The year became the time when companies largely switched over to designing phones with 4K video recording capabilities. Another significant aspect was the development done in the area of low-light photography. The latter was much appreciated, and that was clearly visible in the way the Galaxy S7 phones, the iPhone 7 series, and the Google Pixel were received.

Throughout the last year, the smartphone market buzzed with devices from a wide variety of global players. While there were new entries in the market, this year was also the last for Microsoft Lumia’s line. The last device featuring BB10 from Blackberry was also rolled out (rather unsuccessfully), and leaving the market for only two major players – Android and iOS. Windows did launch its latest OS and marketed heavily to push it through most of their devices, but sadly there weren’t many takers. Blackberry has reduced from major brand name in the smartphone market to just another Android partner.

What to Look Forward to in 2017

The first thing on every smartphone enthusiast’s mind is probably the return of Nokia or even the brand name. There are rumors about the company working on the release of five models in 2017. However, this is just speculation. Nevertheless, we are sure of seeing manufacturer’s pushing limits. The Galaxy Note 7 was a dent in Samsung’s image, and the market expects the company to come up with something enticing, to make up for the Note 7’s fiasco. Apple might also go ahead and revamp the iPhone model in view of its upcoming 10th-anniversary release. Google Pixel has been widely acclaimed, and the company could be working towards pushing the phone in relatively lower price segments. As for Microsoft, we are hoping to see a Surface Phone being launched pretty soon.

In addition to these, there are a few phones that we would really love to see. Here they are:

OnePlus 5

The China-based firm has offered devices with the best hardware combinations and very competitive pricing. The latest offering, labeled the OnePlus 3T, has just been released, and is already a success. Speculators, however, believe that the next in production would be OnePlus 5, with the company skipping on 4. As per speculated reports, the design of the phone would be phenomenally different from all the previously released models, and will probably feature the Snapdragon 835 chipset, along with a 5.3 inches display. The body is supposed to be of ceramic or glass.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8 Edge

The Galaxy S7 series was a huge hit, but the battery issue in Note 7 caused the company to lose quite a significant number of fans. Now, it is only obvious that the company comes up with something extra to make up for the past ordeal. All of this adds up to the rumors that the S8 line up would be quite special.

In addition, Samsung adapted to the same design in the production of Galaxy S6 and S7, and truthfully, this has come to the point of being tiring. Market experts are also of the opinion that S8 would only be launched in curved sizes, and there would be no flat version of the device. Further rumors suggest an increase of screen resolution to 4K support, and the inclusion of USB Type-C for quicker charging. All of this would undoubtedly need noticeable computational power, so a new Equinox processor could very well be on the cards!

UAE has, and will continue to be an interesting ground for companies all over the globe, thanks to the popularity of mobile devices and the increasing penetration of the internet. Technologies will advance and will keep giving rise to new trends. The good news for consumers, nevertheless, is the fact that manufacturers recognize the competition they face, and are willing to compromise on profit margins without losing on quality, thus offering better products at ground prices.