Chinese innovation

The subtitle suggests something of the state, but still associated with the SKOLKOVO… But no, it’s just about what Chinese smartphones this year suddenly began to set the technological tone for the rest.

Last year we were expecting a fingerprint scanner directly on the display – and it appeared this year, not only with Apple, Google or Samsung, and first in Vivo and then from OPPO and Huawei. Dramatically experience smartphone usage has not changed (the sensor on the back panel is still more convenient, and capacitive sensors work faster), but fact is fact.

Also, the Chinese returned to the turnover of the zoo form factors. We started with the sliders ahead of the rest stepped again OPPO model Find X and Huawei Honor c Magic 2. In this “Chinese” rule, however, there was one exception-form-factor “clamshell” returned not Chinese, and Koreans – talking about high-end Samsung W2019.

And finally, the “leaky” screens – the parade monopoly, about which we’ll talk later, apparently, will soon be over. And the cause is not referred to the original form factors, and front-facing camera that is inserted directly into the display. The pioneer was Huawei model nova 4, but soon these will probably be a lot.

The unibrow as a major design refinement

In the meantime there is a lot of smartphones, which grew out of the iPhone X. When we laughed at the bangs, monobromo neckline (you can call it whatever you like, the meaning will not change), almost all companies roll up their sleeves, and copied this simple way to increase the usable area of the screen.

The source is the Twitter account of Ben Geskin

And all together labored at MWC 2018 – in the picture above we see only the smartphones in the main exhibition of mobile technology. Then the same astrologers, apparently, announced a year cut their number has increased tenfold. Even had a competition who “bangs” less. Of the big companies in it did not participate only Samsung, HTC and Sony. Modest applause for these gentlemen, who went against indiscriminate fashion.

Eclipse ZTE

One of the biggest topics of the year, which is clearly still not exhausted, – a trade war with China, which has proved itself in the smartphone market this year the ban on using U.S. components imposed on the company ZTE. The reason was a secret sale to Iran of equipment ZTE with American technologies. In the end the company actually suspended the whole business in April. And resumed in June after the payment of a fine of $1 billion.

But the story, of course, is not over. First Australia, then Japan has banned public procurement of equipment ZTE and Huawei for their network 5G, and the light at the end of the tunnel is not visible yet. As the list crept Huawei? Apparently, for the same reason – the secret sale of equipment to Iran. In this case has already arrested the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

In the smartphone business Huawei, which this year is very powerfully stepped forward sales (in particular, came in first place in sales of smartphones in Russia), these events have not yet affected, but the threat is not even hidden, but very obvious.

Artificial intelligence

Item with that name was in last year’s end – then it was really about Kirin 960 and Huawei’s statement about the active introduction of AI into their smartphones (with the debut of the Huawei Mate 10 – not very coherent, to be honest) and just debuted the platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.

Now just stating a fact, that map neural networks play almost everything – someone stronger (ASUS, same Huawei), someone not really advertise (Samsung). Neural network modules are not only in actual flagship platforms Qualcomm and HiSilicon, but in the latest processor by Apple. Until the wide application possibilities of these modules did not get basically all limited by the camera, which can recognize different scenes and show magic tricks video. Further, I think there will be more.

Not one, not two, not three…

Dual-chamber modules that people are no surprise, but rather release the phone with a single camera is viewed with surprise, to say: how could it properly removed? So does today, in fact, only Sony. Even budget smartphones, the vast majority come with two lenses on the back.

But this year progress has moved on — not in the absurd, but somewhere in this way: there are (quite massively) smartphones with three back-facing cameras, and the Samsung stood out apparatus as much with four. One after the other appear smartphones are not just twice the optical zoom and portrait mode, with the ability to shoot multiple focal lengths. The history of the camera Light L16 obtains the expected development in the field of photography, namely compact and versatile smartphones, where the placement of large optics almost impossible. At least attempts to do so always ended in failures – at least remember the Samsung Galaxy Camera.


The first smartphone of the Russian Internet giant was not hit, of course, the list of the best gadgets of the year – just because he doesn’t deserve it. But the very fact of its appearance, we are obliged to honor.

Slightly overpriced and not offering a unique experience, “Yandex.Phone” nevertheless demonstrates the capabilities of the ecosystem of Yandex — branded payment application to a much more intelligent and pervasive than in the same “Yandex.Station”, Alice. And look all these software filling is very interesting – probably in the new year we expect smartphones with equally actively integrated with “Yandex” is already available from third parties.

Soon the screens will bend even more

You can write about this, of course, in the outcome of almost any year of the last years, but now all seem to have very close – smartphones with not just curved at the edges and folding like a book with screens will appear, most likely in 2019.

At least it is not just about all the patents that registers one or the other company, and not about the clumsy prototypes of the displays, and the prototype actually working gadget, approximate to a final product, which Samsung showed in November. Hardly Samsung Galaxy S10 will get such a display, but something with this technology the Koreans will roll out. The time has come. And then the rest will catch up.

The best smartphone of the year – Apple iPhone Xs Max

If last year Apple tried to change the rules of the game and gave us a whole season monopoly (I hope it will end soon), 2018 – the year of s-iteration and nothing extraordinary from the authors of the main smartphone in history, we were not expecting. And received – Xs iPhone became more powerful and smarter, separating at the same time in the party “shovels” with the version of Max (SuperAMOLED-display with a diagonal of 6.5 inches).

A major breakthrough could be promised duchemosnos, but she waited only Asian buyers iPhone Xs. In the United States and Russia, “iPhone”, as usual, is equipped with one slot for SIM cards. The second map can be assigned exclusively eSIM. Otherwise, nothing really new, just a good smartphone became a bit better. And more expensive fans to push the boat out can buy an older version of Xs, Max (with a half terabyte of memory) for 120 thousand rubles.

The best smartphone of the year – Huawei P20 Pro

This could be the Huawei Mate 20 Pro – final flagship Huawei in a year with a curved display, the advanced angle chamber and all sorts of interesting chips including the possibility not just to charge wirelessly, but to give up thus the charge. To charge one smartphone to another? Here it is possible to do with Mate 20 Pro.

But the impression produced is released in the spring of P20 Pro, turned out to be so powerful to kill it even at “mate’s” did not work. Huawei was finally able to make uncompromising flagship, albeit with a complicated name. P20 Pro set the bar for the quality of photography back in March — and no end of the year failed to surpass the first smartphone with three back-facing cameras. For the same Mate 20 Pro, Huawei, for example, refused a monochrome sensor in favor of a wide-angle camera – and it affected abilities when shooting in the dark, and dynamic range in a day of contrasting scenes.

Huawei P20 Pro platform, introduced in September 2017, as powerful as almost all competitors, but it is, in fact, does not affect the user experience, at least not yet. The rest is more modern than even at the beginning of 2019, the smartphone – OLED display, artificial intelligence, moisture protection, and Yes, with “bangs”.

The best smartphones of the yearthe OPPO Find X/Vivo NEX

The flagship of the group BBK go together. In principle, it deserved a mention in the same row and OnePlus 6/6T, but the “flagship killer” still, though very good, but boring. OPPO Find X and NEX Vivo have not earned even half of the popularity, which falls annually on share of next OnePlus, but thanks from a number of original solutions have to be here.

Vivo NEX

Vivo, NEX was the first smartphone to feature on-screen fingerprint scanner, which was officially sold in Russia. But his list of achievements is not exhaustive — because he had no “monobrow” and at the same time almost no framework, and front-facing camera protrudes from the device housing by electric drive!


OPPO Find X went even further – he is by means of a drive pushed a piece of casing with a front-facing camera (at 25 megapixels!), and rear. In addition to this, a curved display, is also almost devoid of framework. Suddenly a cool smartphone from Chinese brand-newbie (well, conditionally beginner — Oppo has entered the market of smartphones even in 2013) — albeit significantly pereotsenit.

The best smartphones of the yearSamsung Galaxy Note9

Classic Samsung is a large business smartphone with a curved display and a pen. For two years the story of the exploding Note7 had be forgotten, and the ninth came quietly, without unpleasant train.

And it is really good smartphone that stands out not for its originality and perfect execution of all elements: from the build quality to excellent customized display and a camera with adjustable diaphragm (the thing under the end of the year, however, took over and the OPPO with its RX17 Pro). The main competitor of iPhone Xs for the price – but also in status, perhaps.

The best smartphone of the year Xiaomi Mi 8

“Popular” leader this year failed. In its place, of course, you could put the aforementioned OnePlus, Honor and 10, and a fellow of Pocophone F1 (with a mediocre screen and camera, but the powerful filling for the money), and to descend deeper, searching popular devices among younger Redmi and Honor. But all are not listed, stop for 8 Mi.

He, as befits the flagship of Xiaomi, has absorbed all the fashion trends, almost bringing to them anything of his own: “Bang” and very little glass case, and dual camera with artificial intelligence, and the AMOLED display. And a very attractive price, of course, which was and remains the main competitive advantage of the products Xiaomi.


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