2017 was the year smartphones underwent a sea change, after years of stalled innovation and too many me-too handsets that looked like nigh-on identical.
The arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and well received iPhone X this year heralded a fresh approach to phone design, with displays covering the entire front of both devices.
Meanwhile, new security technology looks set to kick off a widespread revolution in how everyone opens and interacts with their handsets.
All of which means that 2018 will be a year when features reserved for high-end phones in the previous 12 months go fully mainstream.
Here's what to look out for...
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1 Expect face scanning security to be everywhere
Face ID, Apple’s hugely impressive 3D facial scanning security system, has set the gold standard in this department.
Samsung’s Galaxy S8 has its own version, but doesn't feel anything like as secure and was widely dismissed by critics on testing.
That said, Face ID is likely to herald a boom in the tech in 2018.
OnePlus has already included its own basic take in the new 5T and it’s highly likely Samsung will deliver an enhanced version in the Galaxy S9, which is due to launch at Mobile World Congress next February.
It would take a minor miracle for LG and Google not to follow suit with their flagship 2018 phones. Facial scanning is here to stay.
Keen to find out more about the Galaxy S9? Here's what we know so far.
2 Fingerprint scanners will be embedded in screens
Apple might be getting rid of fingerprint scanners in its 2018 iPhone range, but the tech’s days are nowhere near numbered.
Consumers have finally become accustomed to using their fingerprints to open their handsets and make secure payments and mobile-makers won’t want to change in a hurry.
Samsung is said to be working on a new, in–built fingerprint scanner for its late 2018 Note 9 device, utilising tech it has long been hoping to bring to market.
Such a move would mean no rear fingerprint scanner and a potentially slimmer design.
3 Dual cameras become de rigueur
Dual cameras were once the preserve of the most expensive smartphones.
And while Google has eschewed the tech for its Pixel 2 and 2 XL, most mobile-makers have realised offering two lenses means better pictures in low light and truly stunning portraits.
With Honor’s 7X launching with a basic version and the OnePlus 5T equipped with its own impressive take, expect to see manufacturers start bringing dual lens set-ups into more affordable handsets.
4 All-screen smartphones will become the norm
The switch to all–screen smartphones will gather pace in 2018. Apple and Samsung have led the way in this regard, by ditching physical home buttons and tweaking designs so that 'bezels' (those are the edges that surround screens) are kept to a minimum.
Now that consumers have seen what phones can look like, they’ll start demanding the same style in cheaper handsets.
The OnePlus 5T already fulfils this role, and you can be sure everyone from LG to HTC will be launching affordable handsets with bezel–free looks.
5 The rise of the ultra-premium, ultra-pricey mobile
At £1,149, Apple’s 256GB iPhone X is a hugely pricey proposition, both SIM–free and on contract. And yet, analysts believe it’s outselling the smaller 64GB edition by two to one.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, at £869, is also a bit steep but is an undoubted hit.
Mobile-manufacturers have realised they can charge big prices and still entice consumers, so expect this to become a big trend in 2018.
There are already rumours of an ultra-premium Google Pixel.
With an iPhone X Plus rumoured and an improved Galaxy Note 9 in the works, prices are likely to rise as a new category of super phones develops.
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