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Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017: the year smartphones went all-screen and came with baked-in AI | The Guardian - Technology


Photo: Samuel Gibbs
Please take a closer peek at this article as below by Samuel Gibbs, Guardian's assistant technology editor.

But by the end of 2017 it was clear manufacturers needed to go all-screen or go home.
Photo: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian

At the beginning of 2017 you could have been forgiven for thinking that smartphone innovation had died, with most phones looking the same and doing the same things, changing very little from the year before.

But by the end of 2017 two things were clear: manufacturers needed to go all-screen or go home, and artificial intelligence had finally made its way into the phone, not just feeding everything you said to a server somewhere over the horizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 introduced the new minimal bezel design in April, shrinking the non-screen parts of the front down to the bare minimum and as a result putting a bigger screen in the same sized smartphone. 

It was clearly the future. Even Apple agreed, launching the iPhone X in November. 

While there are many upsides to the so-called “bezel-less” smartphone design, increased fragility is not one of them. As drop tests of the iPhone X showed, an all-screen design and the ground do not mix

Despite these worries, the elongated screens with ratios around 18:9, rather than the regular 16:9 widescreen ratio of phone screens and TVs before, are expected to extendto the middle ranges in 2018 – so no longer the preserve of the top-tier £500+ smartphones.

On the inside, the big smartphone trend for 2018 will be greater use of AI to make devices faster and smarter.

Google’s vice president product manager Mario Queiroz, said: “We’re getting to the point where photo quality is already so good that the focus is turning to the smarts that you build beyond that.” 

Augmented reality is one such task, overlaying virtual items and information on to the real world through the screen. Using AI to do things faster is another.

“How many times do you long press on the word and it just selects that one word,” says Queiroz, using the example of Buckingham Palace. “Why, when you press on Palace does it not take into account Buckingham?”

Using local machine learning (ML), Android’s smart select feature predicts which other words around the one you tapped on you might actually want to select. 
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