The general idea behind smartphones for years has been to add more of everything as a sign of improvement. More power, more screen, more features, and more GB of this or that has been the selling point for Android phone makers. And as we’ve become numb to that idea, 2020 is going to be another level of more. Prepare for smartphone excess.
We’re going to get more cameras. We’ve already become used to at least three in most phones, but Samsung is about to put at least four in their Galaxy S11 line-up, while I’m sure others will find a way for even more than that.
There will be more resolution. We have seen the 108MP sensors pop-up here in late 2018, but everyone is going to do it. Sure, those photos are pixel binned down to “smaller” 27MP photos. That’s still huge. We’re only a couple of years removed from the 12.2MP sensor becoming the standard, yet we’re about to more than double that.
There will be more than 4K. Yes, 8K is coming to the video functionality in your camera. It might top out at 30fps, but 4K at 60fps will seem like child’s play.
There will be more screen size and even bigger phones. Phones haven’t stopped growing and 2020 is destined to bring another round of mega-phones. The Galaxy S10e from 2019, with its 5.8″ display, was thought to be small because everything else had a display above 6″. With 5G chips being forced into all flagship phones (Thanks, Qualcomm!), the size of phones will need to grow and that’ll bring display panels with them. Some fool ass company is going to drop a 7-inch “phone” on us, mark my words.
There will be more from refresh rates. While gaming phones were the first to go wild with 120Hz LCD displays over the past year or so, we finally saw general phone releases from OnePlus and Google dabble in the idea, now that everyone has figured out how to do a higher refresh rate with OLED. For 2020, if you aren’t throwing 90Hz or 120Hz into your flagship phone, you will be ignored. Qualcomm already said they’ll support up to 144Hz with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, the chip that everyone will use. Say goodbye to 60Hz.
I’m sure that we’ll get more storage and RAM too, which no one will ever complain about. We’ve already seen companies like Samsung hit the 1TB mark on storage, but with companies like Motorola starting out their mid-range line-up at 128GB and Google finally upping RAM to 6GB, are we going to see base models of flagships at 256GB and 8GB? Don’t be surprised.
Of course, there will be more 5G. I don’t know that it matters that much, just try and prepare to have 5G in your next phone. You may never connect to 5G, but it’ll be there should you find one of the few towers out there. Qualcomm really is forcing everyone who buys the Snapdragon 865 to also include a 5G modem, so 2020 is officially the year of 5G whether the world and its networks are ready or not.
Thankfully, it’s looking like we will have more options than ever too. I’m talking about choices in phones. Samsung added more options to its S10 and Note 10 line-ups in 2019 and will likely keep things similar in 2020. OnePlus, who released at least 4 different OnePlus 7-related variants throughout 2019, might be returning to the mid-range in 2020. Google will without a doubt bring back its “a” variants after the success of the Pixel 3a. Motorola says it’s coming back to the high-end early next year and Essential may try and sell this weird thing. There will be no shortage of phone options.
Unfortunately, you will pay more. Yep, you’ll pay higher phone prices than ever in 2020. With higher refresh rates, more cameras with more advanced features, and 5G out of the box, it’s going to be an expensive year for phone purchases. We once laughed at the idea of a $50/mo+ payment plan for a phone, but it might be commonplace. 5G phones in 2020 fetched hundreds of dollars more than their non-5G counterparts and I can’t see that changing any time soon.
Phones in 2020 are going to be more than awesome, assuming we can or want to afford them.