2014 Android Collage

AH Primetime: What Can We Expect in 2014 in Our Android Smartphone?

December 23, 2013 - Written By Cory McNutt

Every year is exciting when it comes to the field of mobile communication devices and 2014 should prove to be no exception – but we are curious as to what we may see in the Android smartphones in 2014 when it comes to processors, displays, etc. In 2013, we saw the first 64-bit smartphone launched by Apple, which certainly did not sit well with Samsung, even though the iPhone5S users are not yet realizing the true virtues of their 64-bit – but even so, Apple is touting it as a breakthrough in mobile smartphones, as well as their fingerprint scanner.

LG and Samsung brought us curved batteries and displays in their Galaxy Round and LG G Flex, demonstrated flexible displays, and both are working on displays with more resolution, as are Vivo and Japan Display. HTC joined Apple by adding a fingerprint scanner on their HTC One max device, as Samsung works on a different method of security for their new smartphones.

Processors and RAM play a large role in a smartphones’ performance, but many of the high-end devices us the same processor in the form of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, while Samsung continues to perfect their Exynos Octa-core processors with true 8-core processing and 4G LTE friendliness. Smartphone manufacturers are trying to lure us now with unique features, such as; all metal construction, dust and water resistance, better cameras/lenses, unique User Interfaces (UI), and software features, such as Samsung and their Galaxy Note series with an S-Pen that adds note taking abilities, as well as drawing and photo manipulation.

While many of the 2014 Android smartphone features are already etched in stone, we have very little facts to go on what will actually be offered on next year’s class of high-end smartphones, where most of the excitement takes place. It is likely to be a year of evolving features, rather than revolutionary advancements, but from the many patents being filed; we can only be excited by the future of our beloved Android smartphones.

64-Bit Processors

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While it is true that Apple got the jump on Android when it introduced its A7 64-bit processor in the new iPhone 5S, the full benefit will not be seen for a while as iOS mobile applications are updated and more RAM is installed to take full advantage of having the new A7. Android’s latest version, 4.4KitKat has already been updated to take advantage of 64-bit processors.

While Qualcomm’s initial reaction was to dismiss the 64-bit processor, it has announced that they will release their own 64-bit processor, the Snapdragon 410, for low-to-mid-range devices, leaving the high-end devices until the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015.

Samsung has also announced it will introduce a 64-bit processor in 2014. Even though Samsung continues to produce their 8-core processors, for 2014, we believe that quad-core will still dominate 2014, with 64-bit processing being felt in the latter part of 2014 or in 2015.

Galaxy Round

Curved Displays

It is quite evident that we will see some type of curved (not flexible) displays in 2014. Samsung’s Galaxy Round and the LG G Flex are alive and well in Korea and other Asian countries. Although they will not hit a major device, such as the Galaxy S5, because production at this point, would not be able to keep up with the sales demand, however, there will be some sort of limited run or specialty device with the curved displays. Samsung and LG are both anxious to test the displays in the U.S. to see what kind of reception they will receive, as well as claim bragging rights to which company was first.

Better Battery Life

Smartphones continue to increase in size each year – although I think the displays sizes are about as large as they will get – the increased resolution will still demand more power from our precious battery. However, with 3,000mAh, and larger, batteries becoming the norm, and as manufacturers continue to figure out how to cram more battery into a thinner space, we should still be able to get a full day out of our devices.

Software advances, such as Android 4.4 KitKat, and the manufacturer’s skins, are becoming more and more optimized with their hardware and that power efficiency keeps adding to the battery life – the Moto X is an excellent example. If the 64-bit processor helps as promised and true 8-core computing is realized, those could also add to our battery life.

More Storage

High-end smartphone manufacturers have slowly been listening to the users demanding more internal storage and the days of 8GB and 16GB are finally in the past.  In 2014, I doubt that any high-end smartphone will be less than 32GB/64GB as standard.  These devices are no longer simply a telephone, but our PDA, GPS, Camera, video, and MP3 player – we need that extra space to store pictures, music and videos, in fact 128GB would be even better.

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Premium Materials

I thought that the continued attacks on Samsung’s quality and lack of premium materials were blown way out of proportion.  Yes, they used polycarbonate (high quality plastic) on the outsides of their devices, but neither my Galaxy Note 2 nor my sister’s Galaxy S4 felt cheap in any sense of the word.  It allowed subtle curves in the case for comfort and a removable back and battery, as well as a great place to store the microSD card – and I appreciated those virtues.

However, my Galaxy Note 3 received a faux leather back, and I liked the way it felt even better, but the tremendous reception and reviews that the HTC One received, with its all-aluminum body, cannot be ignored, and I think we will start to see more metal in the construction of the high-end phones only from all manufacturers.

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 Security Features

The threat of security continues to grow with the use of our smartphones for banking and with the push of Wallets from Google, Samsung, ISIS, etc. Samsung has added KNOX to its internal software for enterprise protection, as much as to protect the individual’s privacy from their employer. The HTC One max included a fingerprint scanner to gain access to the smartphone and Samsung is looking to use a Retina Scanner, and rumors have it that we should see it in 2014. This type of security will be quickly be seen on high-end phones.

Let us know on our Google+ Page what you think about Android smartphones in 2014 and what features you think we will see and which features you would like to see.