Welcome to part two of a very special edition of our ‘Device Advice’ blog, where we have taken a look back at some of the key smartphone launches during 2019. This time, we explore the key launches from late September to December.
Huawei Mate 30 Pro
The Huawei Mate 30 Pro is known for its two main elements – its design, and its capabilities onboard. Launched to the world in September, the Mate 30 Pro features a Horizon screen, with an 88-degree curve across the side of the device allowing for maximum display impact. This, partnered with a distinctive circular band to the back of the camera, mimics the design of a DSLR, which makes the device distinctive, but it is the spec onboard which captures our attention.
Following a political ruling from President Trump, the latest Huawei device had to launch with AOSP, a basic and open-source version of Google Android. This meant Google’s mobile services (Play Store, GoogleMail, Maps) were unavailable and inaccessible on the device – and for some, this was too much of a deterrent to purchase.
Google Pixel 4
The Google Pixel 4 is powered by Google’s Soli radar technology, making it one of the most engaging phones on the market to date. Allowing users to dismiss a call simply by waving their arm, the device contains an onboard radar chip embedded in the bezel of the device with a 180-degree field of vision. This allows the Pixel 4 to respond in situations where users cannot access their device safely.
Whilst the aesthetics of the Pixel 4 were not too different from its predecessors, it is the camera software onboard that captured our attention. The device contains Live HDR+ which shows the user any adjustments made in real-time through the viewfinder itself. There are also improvements in Night Mode making it possible to now capture images of stars in the night sky – thanks to astrophotography mode.
A firm favourite amongst the nostalgic, the original Razr device quickly became a household name in the mid-00s thanks to its flip-phone characteristics. In November 2019, it was re-introduced back into the market as the third major foldable device (after the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X).
Running on Google’s Android 9 Pie operating system, the Razr packs a Snapdragon 710 chipset and a 2,510-mAh battery which doesn’t quite reach the spec of other phones on the market, but its premium design and 16-megapixel rear camera will please the many. The Razr also features a 2.7-inch ‘Quick View’ touchscreen display to allow users to access key applications and complete quick interactions.
This has been the year that many have held back from the latest upgrades – either because a number of the latest releases this year have been evolutions of their former selves, rather than revolutions. What’s more, there are still a number of cities in the UK that are waiting for 5G coverage to become available, many users are delaying their purchase decisions until 2020. In fact, Qualcomm’s President, Cristiano Amon has suggested that more than 200 million 5G enabled smartphones will be shipped in the next year.
Next year, we predict that the conversation will change from ‘what will 5G do for me’, to ‘what can I do with 5G’, with great leaps in innovation on the horizon. Artificial Intelligence is likely to be the next big thing, opening up a range of use cases that are yet to be realised. In addition, we anticipate that 5G enabled devices will, in fact, reduce in price as more manufacturers release 5G ready devices, and we’re keen to see how successful new-age foldable devices will be longer term. One thing is for certain, smartphones have come a long way over the last decade, and as we enter a new year, we look forward to the continuing pace of technological evolutions in this marketplace.