Smartphone features stagnate in 2017

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Although we can expect Apple and Samsung to release the next versions of their smartphones like clockwork in the spring and fall of 2017, experts tell us that we shouldn’t look for companies to add any game-changing features for another 2–3 years.

Ritch Blasi, who is the president of MediaRitch, which is a marketing and communications consulting group for the cellphone industry, believes that smartphone manufacturers will delay new features until they introduce models that operate in conjunction with 5G networks in 2019 or 2020.

In the meantime, Blasi wouldn’t be surprised to see manufacturers continue their recent efforts to upgrade smartphones’ front-facing cameras. As we reported in our November/December 2016 issue, front-facing cameras average a resolution of about 5 megapixels (MP), with at least 14 models that deliver at least 7MP. That number could rise.

The lull in new features could allow BlackBerry, Huawei, HTC, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Microsoft and Sony to attract attention from consumers. However, that will be “a tough nut to crack,” says Tim Pollard, who is the chairman of the telecommunications department at Ball State University.