What we want to see in the smartphones of 2017

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What does your perfect smartphone look like? Here at T3 we’ve been thinking about the sort of features and improvements we’re hoping to see through the course of 2017, coming up with a master list of New Year wishes – if you’re reading, Apple, Google, Samsung et al.

Of course we’re not restricted by all the real world considerations of pricing, component availability, hardware technology upgrades and market forces, so we can put down goals that are perhaps impossible to reach right now… still, it’s always important to aim high.

More design innovation

It’s getting more and more difficult to tell one flagship phone from another, which is fine if you’re a fan of the minimalist, iPhone-esque aesthetic but frustrating for those of us who’d like a bit more variety to pick from.

While we understand there might be manufacturing and financial reasons why every phone looks alike these days, it doesn’t mean we have to like it – and we’re crossing our fingers that some of the big players push the boat out in terms of phone design this year.

Top marks to LG and the LG G5 in 2016 for trying something a little bit different – which didn’t really work, unfortunately – and there is room for smart innovation, as the growing popularity of Samsung’s Edge design shows.

There’s plenty of talk that the likes of Apple and Samsung will go for full glass, button-free displays this year, and that’s the kind of improvement we’d be fully behind. Phones are already thin and light enough, and it’s time to get creative again.

It’s probably still to early in the technology roadmap for phones that bend or curve to any great degree yet – we might have to wait until 2018 for that.

Longer-lasting phones

It’s a sad state of affairs when a phone that costs several hundreds of pounds (or dollars) can be almost unusable after two years or so (your mileage may vary) – the problem is more noticeable on Android handsets but it happens to iPhones too.

Despite being marvels of modern technology, it seems smartphones are still susceptible to that gradual slowdown that always use to plague computers: the gradual accumulation of more demanding software and unnecessary files that would inevitably bring your laptop or desktop crashing to a halt after four or five years.

It doesn’t have to be this way, does it? Smartphones are now powerful enough, and software code is well enough optimised, for phones to last much longer without requiring an upgrade every 2-3 years.

While we don’t have the technical expertise to be able to solve this specific problem, we’re hoping mobile phone engineers do, and they might take Chrome OS as their inspiration – a lightweight laptop operating system that updates itself automatically, keeps demands on the hardware as low as possible, and doesn’t slow down over time.