Yes, it’s already time to take a look towards the future of smartphones after a landmark 2018 for the industry. We’ve already seen the arrival of intuitive facial recognition software, bionic processors and body encompassing displays, so what’s next?

Here’s a glimpse at the emerging technologies that we’re likely to come across over the new smartphone releases in the coming 12 months.

The arrival of 5G

Long mooted and highly anticipated, the arrival of 5G looks set to happen in 2019. With rapid download speeds and seamless streaming capabilities, you’ll be hard pushed to find a bigger development hitting our handsets in the coming year.

Writing for Trusted Reviews, Max Parker supports the theory that 5G will be implemented within the coming months by noting that “the recent announcement that the flagship processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 855, will possess the required modem for 5G has finally made the successor to 4G a reality for the masses.”

The cost and availability of 5G for many devices are yet to be determined, and with rumours abound that Apple is skipping the opportunity of implementing the service until 2020, super fast data may not be hitting mainstream usage for a little while yet.

Lightening fast charging

Great strides will be made in phone charging times in 2019 as well. Evidence of this can already be found in the excellent Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which is capable of using the company’s standard charger to go from 0-100% in around 60 minutes.

Wireless charging will also be gathering pace as the technology develops, but it will no doubt be its wired predecessor that will be breaking records this year. Chinese consumer electronics company Oppo has even demonstrated charging times of as little as 15 minutes moving into the new year, so 2019 promises to bring us even more opportunities to play to our heart’s content on the apps we love without that familiar fear of seeing our battery percentage fall into the single-figures.

Hidden selfie cameras

The aforementioned developments of 2018 will pave the way for adaptive efforts in 2019. Last year we saw the widespread adoption of big, beautiful body encompassing screens on luxury handsets like the iPhone X and Huawei Mate 20 Pro – the one small nuisance that slightly negates the aesthetic beauty of these models is the chunk of familiar darkness that houses the phone’s front camera. The only difference between these two is the quality of the front-facing camera (16 Megapixels difference, to be precise).

Huawei Mate 20 Pro

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iPhone X

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Hence, it makes us wonder whether the iPhone’s ‘notch’ is really that necessary for a 7 Megapixels camera.

But as some smartphones are beginning to adopt in-screen fingerprint sensors, there may well be scope for full-bodied, uninterrupted screens in the handsets of the not-too-distant future, with forward-facing cameras immersed into the display itself.

With Samsung and Apple having already taken out patents for such a design that hides both the selfie camera and earpiece beneath the glass of the screen, the future of uninterrupted aesthetics could well be on our doorstep and ready to make its introduction in the coming months.

Face ID purchasing

Confidence in the accuracy and usability of facial recognition is ever growing. So much so that Face ID has become a flagship feature in the iPhone X series ahead of the emerging favourite, fingerprint scanning.

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Image Source: Noted

As Apple Pay, along with its competitors, has implemented a strong biometric-based authorisation system for making purchases that revolves around confirming a transaction with your fingerprint, it’s logical to foresee this approach being adapted for facial recognition too.

The concept of ‘Glance and Pay’ is one that will solve plenty of problems in retail. The speed in which Face ID works is impressive, and Noted acknowledges that the security is around 20 times more accurate than fingerprint scanners.

With the confidence of the world’s major banks being gradually won over by the fledgeling infrared technology behind Face ID, it’s logical to assume that it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to use our faces to make purchases when out and about. Expect Face ID purchases to begin a steady crawl into mainstream culture in late 2019.

Malleable bodies

The heyday of the flip screen Motorola may have given way to touchscreen smartphones – and no, they won’t be making a comeback in 2019. But the smartphone with a foldable body may well be arriving on shelves across high streets as the year rumbles on.

Indeed, Samsung has just unveiled its first foldable screen phone. That feature a bendable screen – the ‘Infinity Flex Display’ is a 7.3 inch flexible screen that’s capable of folding out and becoming a sizeable entertainment hub that’s ideal for offering an impressive Netflix binge on your long train ride home – just so long as your fellow passengers aren’t too offended by such luxury.

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Image Source: Tom’s Guide

A malleable bodied smartphone has obvious appeal to users who have an appetite for digesting entertainment on the go, and with rumours that Google is working on a version of its Android operating system to support the launch of a new handset next year, bendy body phones look set to be a reality next year. Let’s hope it’s a slightly bigger success than the rollout of London’s bendy buses.

There’s plenty to get excited about for the months ahead and it’s worth consulting websites like Smartphone Checker to keep abreast of the latest cellular developments and new handset specifications as they occur.