Eight things we can’t wait for in 2018

iPhone SE
iPhone SE. Image: Apple

New smartphones, wearables and ARM-wrestling PCs will make an appearance this year



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2 January 2018 | 0

2017 was a great year for technology fans. It saw the arrival of two new consoles in the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch, Apple introduced its new vision for smartphones with the iPhone X, Samsung returned to the top with its fabulous Galaxy Note 8, and Google continued to impress with its Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Plus, there was the usual release of cool new PCs, smartwatches, and tablets.

So, what can we look forward to in 2018? Here are some thoughts…

Samsung Galaxy Note X
When Samsung had to withdraw the Note 7 from sale after concerns over its safety, many thought that could spell the end for the product line that invented phablets. Not so. The Galaxy Note 8 was one of the best phones of 2017.

If rumours are correct, then 2018 could see the Note range innovate once more, as Samsung is thought to be considering a model with a foldable display. This would use a version of the technology that Samsung has shown previously shown off at industry events, and provide a 5″ screen that can fold out into a 7″ tablet.

It’s early days, and information is very much whispers and speculation about patent applications, but if Samsung does bring this to the table in the next 12 months it could be one of the most exciting products we’ve seen in some time.

iPhone SE 2
Yes, many would expect the iPhone XI (or 11 if Apple dispenses with its roman numerals) would be the highlight of many people’s year, and that could well be the case. But, with Apple’s usual schedule meaning that the iPhone X’s successor will be a refinement rather than reworking, our eyes drift towards one of the hidden stars in the California fruit’s firmament.

Those who prefer a smaller smartphone will already be aware of the pocket rocket that is the iPhone SE (pictured). Since its launch in 2016, the diminutive handset has won itself many fans, and with Apple failing to upgrade anything other than the storage options in 2017, we’re hoping that the smaller, cheaper, iPhone sees a significant makeover in the months ahead.

One of the first big smartphone releases we expect to see in 2018 is that of the LG G7. Rumoured to arrive with the new Snapdragon 845 chip, it would put the G7 ahead of the pack in terms of speed and performance.

LG has had a few missteps here and there, with the G5 being the most significant, but when the Korean giant gets things right it can deliver some truly excellent hardware. Here’s hoping that the G7 is exactly that.

A cheaper iPad
Something of a perennial favourite on most new year predictions. But, with Amazon cleaning up in the entry level tablet market thanks to its Fire HD devices, there is much speculation that Apple could finally be readying either a new 9.7″ model that could start at around the €300 mark.

Global tablet sales have slowed, so injecting a product into one of the areas that still sees movement could make practical business sense. We’ve been burned in the past with thinking Apple would give customers a good deal though, so we’ll hold on to this one lightly.
Another rumour that has a lot of traction is that 2018 will be the year of tablets with foldable displays. Multiple examples are thought to be arriving from manufacturers such as Samsung, Lenovo, LG, Oppo, and maybe even Microsoft. Whether this will spark interest into the rather pedestrian tablets sales of late, will be fascinating to watch.

Apple Watch 4
The introduction of LTE to the Apple Watch 3 was a big step towards making a truly useful smartwatch. In 2018 we anticipate that Apple will work hard to improve performance, and most importantly battery life, so that the Series 4 version steals even more ground on its competitors.

Microsoft Surface Watch
Microsoft may well have conceded the smartphone space to iOS and Android, but rumours persist that we’ll see a Surface smartwatch this year. Whether it’s an iteration on the heavily featured, but rather bulky Band 2, or a new design entirely remains to be seen.

But, with the cool ideas found in the current Surface line-up, you can’t rule out something very interesting indeed from Redmond’s finest.

Google Pixel Watch
Not to be left out, Google is also thought to be preparing its own Pixel smartwatch for 2018. Now, this could be the worst kind of vapour-ware, but we still hold out hope for an official Pixel device.

With the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL both impressing this year, Google seems to be getting the hand of its hardware production. Align this with the fact that the company authors the Android Wear software, and surely a smartwatch would make a lot of sense?

Probably wishful thinking. Still, sometimes wishes come true.

ARM-based laptops
There’s no doubt that the biggest story for laptops in 2018 will be a full version of Windows running on ARM technology. At the December 2017 Qualcomm and Microsoft event, the two tech giants unveiled new ARM-chip powered laptops and convertibles that could run Windows 10.

These included the HP Envy X2, Asus NovaGo, and will be followed by others from Lenovo throughout the year.

The advantages of this technology are much longer battery life, fanless machines, and possibly lower prices. Getting Windows 10 flowing smoothly on what are essentially mobile phone chips is a challenge that Microsoft now seems confident it overcome. So, 2018 could be a defining moment in the future of laptops.

IDG News Service

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