2016 has been an interesting year for smartphone users and specifically for Android OS enthusiasts, as several months ago Google took the veil off its Pixel smartphone series supposed to push the company more into the industry's forefront as a device manufacturer. Interestingly enough, the launch of the Pixels has created a ripple effect throughout the Android smartphone industry, as certain software features developed by Google will now be reserved for these devices alone. This includes Google's AI and virtual assistant, which will be utilized at full potential on Pixel smartphones in order to deliver a true "Google experience". Meanwhile, OEMs will attempt to fill the gap in 2017 by creating their own voice-activated virtual assistants.
According to a market research firm, Gartner, by the year 2019, "20% of interactions" between smartphones and users will be conducted through virtual personal assistants. However, since Google's more advanced AI assistant will be reserved for Pixel smartphones moving forward, other companies are now looking to create their own solutions. Samsung Electronics seems to be working on an AI assistant called "Bixby", which will reportedly debut along with the Samsung Galaxy S8 flagship in the coming months. And although Samsung Electronics has been through a rough patch with the faulty Galaxy Note 7, reports from South Korea claim that, in 2017, Samsung will continue to push the limits and release a foldable device later this year called the "Galaxy X". The year 2017 will also test smartphone manufacturers in the automotive space, with both Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics expected to strengthen their position in this industry and create new partnerships. Meanwhile, network operators along with a number of carmakers including (but not limited to) BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai-Kia Motors, and Mahindra Group will continue developing 5G-based self-driving car technologies.
As for the smartphone market alone, 2017 shapes to be an exciting year for both Android and iOS users, as technologies including bezel-less displays and fingerprint recognition scanners are expected to reach new heights. Reports say that the Samsung Galaxy S8 will be equipped with a 6-inch bezel-less screen which may be embedded with a fingerprint recognition sensor, and Apple has been rumored to explore the concept of screen-embedded fingerprint scanners for its next flagships as well. Meanwhile, industry watchers expect companies – including LG Electronics and Huawei – to up their dual-camera game this year.