2020 is the start of a whole new decade. As we enter the 2020s, smartphone use has never been higher, and the devices themselves never more capable. And they’re only going to get better.
The next 12 months will bring a range of breakthroughs, from 5G iPhones, 100-megapixel cameras, the most exciting folding phones we’ve seen and better performance all round. Here’s why 2020 could be the best year for smartphones yet.
Apple is rarely the first to innovate. So when Samsung and co announced 5G handsets, Apple sat back and waited. And probably rightly so: 5G is only available in a handful of places right now, with only certain phones supporting it. But that could all change next year.
Once Apple gets behind a technology, you know it has a good chance of going mainstream. 5G iPhones would mean many more people were capable of using the technology, fuelling demand, which in turn would prompt the mobile networks to make 5G more available. Hence a 5G iPhone is massive news.
All signs point to Apple adding 5G to 2020’s iPhones in September. It’s also expected to add an in-screen fingerprint scanner, which would be much more reliable than its home button-based scanner, and a treat for anyone put off using Face ID.
Motorola’s first folding phone has already been announced, but won’t go on sale until next year. It’s styled after the original RAZR from 2004, but with one crucial difference: a folding screen.
Open it up, and the whole inside is taken up by a folding display, which gives you much more screen real estate to play with. That means better gaming, clearer web pages when surfing, emailing and so on, and more immersive videos. It still has the smaller second screen on the outside, which shows notifications, messages and more. That means for certain features, you won’t even have to open the phone.
Open it up, and you’ve got a near tablet-sized device on your hands. But one that – when closed – fits in your jeans pocket.
After the initial excitement, folding phones have had somewhat of a rocky start. The Samsung Galaxy Fold was recalled after it kept breaking, while the Huawei Mate X has been delayed repeatedly. Could the razr be the first truly desirable foldable? Watch this space…
Samsung Galaxy S11
It might seem like the Galaxy S10 only just launched, but the S11 isn’t far away. Rumours say it could land as early as February. Smartphone trade show Mobile World Congress starts on 24th February, so expect to see it before then.
All eyes are on the device’s camera. Internet whispers say Samsung could introduce a whopping 108-megapixel sensor to the device, which would be quite a step up from the S10’s 12-megapixel offering.
The phone is also rumoured to have a spectrometer built in, which would let it determine the nutritional content of food when pointed at it. And you thought people only snapped their meals for Instagram…
Microsoft Surface Duo
Windows-branded phones might not have been a big hit, but that won’t stop Microsoft from making more handsets. The Surface Duo puts the Surface computing logo onto a smartphone, but not just any smartphone: one that has two screens that rotate in 360 degrees.
The screens themselves aren’t foldable, but you can use the device in lots of different orientations.
So what else do we know about it? It will run Android, though the jury is out as to whether it will support 5G. If it does, Microsoft could have a real contender on its hands. And if it doesn’t? It could bring back memories of the failure that was the original Windows Phone.
After decades in the game, Nokia is still going strong, mostly thanks to its low-cost Android handsets and its retro-styled basic range. But its next phone aims to show it can still mix it with the big boys.
The Nokia 10 should pack a dual-lens 48-megapixel camera, a 16-megapixel selfie snapper, and a massive 6.5-inch screen.
iPhone SE 2
Ah, the rumour that refuses to die. Four years on from the launch of the original SE, Apple is rumoured to be launching a successor. But it reportedly won’t be as small as its predecessor’s 4-inches. With reports suggesting it will measure up at 4.7-inches, it’ll be the same size as the iPhone 8.
Inside, it should have the same A13 Bionic chip as the iPhone 11, which would certainly make it more powerful than the iPhone 8. Look out for it in the first three months of 2020.
Qualcomm makes the chips that power pretty much every major phone around, so a new processor is a very big deal. Its upcoming Snapdragon 865 boasts a range of superpowers that will give new phones great new features.
Such as? Live translation has been previewed, in which you don’t have to wait for the phone’s brains to work out what someone is saying. It should boost video quality, make for quicker, easier fingerprint unlocking and better quality calls over Bluetooth speakers and headphones. It’ll make GPS more accurate, and aid better performance over wi-fi. In other words, better all round.
Mobile driving licences
One other feature the Snapdragon 865 will bring – driving licenses on your phone. That’s because it fulfils the relevant security requirements that US states demand in order to have a digital driving licence. Once it launches in the US, expect it to reach other countries soon.
Samsung Galaxy Buds: everything you need to know
Samsung's wireless earbuds are free when you pre-order the S22.
Samsung Galaxy Fold on EE: Five things you need to know
The future’s unfolding on the UK’s fastest network.
Samsung Galaxy S10, S10 Plus and S10e: everything you need to know
Tenth-anniversary phones offer reverse wireless charging and better screens and cameras.