July is usually a quiet month in the mobile technology world: no important conventions or product launches take place in this month. But it would be wrong to say that it lacks interest for professionals and fans of this industry. On the contrary, this July has seen a few important technological breakthroughs that could change the future of how mobile phones work.
For one thing, Sony has decided to revolutionize the way people take photos with their smartphones—and the results are remarkable. Also, Qualcomm considered the need for speed in the mobile internet age and came up with an announcement of its own.
Meanwhile, the top contenders in the mobile industry—Apple and Samsung—had their own moments in the sun with interesting developments.
But enough with the introductions—let’s delve into the details of the most important mobile technology news and events in July.
Sony Launches 48 Megapixel Phone Camera Sensor
Up to now, DSLR camera owners could boast that no mobile phone can equal even an entry level camera in terms of picture sharpness and quality. Once mobile phones start being equipped with Sony’s latest IMX586 camera sensor, things will be quite different.
The new camera sensor boasts 48 Megapixel capacity, meaning that each pixel in a photo is squeezed down to 0.8 microns. Theoretically, this would mean that the image quality would suffer, due to the reduced sensitivity and lower light collection. But Sony has also developed a proprietary technology named Quad Bayer array, which combines neighboring pixels to reach an actual pixel size of 1.6 microns.
This is far superior to one of the best camera phones currently on the market—the Google Pixel 2 which has only a 1.4 micron pixel size. The Sony 48 megapixel camera sensor will be also capable of filming in 4K with a frame rate of 90 fps.
Despite its impressive capacities, the IMX586 sensor measures only 8 mm diagonally, which means that it can be fitted even into very slim and compact phones. The first batch of Sony camera sensors will start shipping starting with September to select mobile phone manufacturers. Thus, next year we may actually see it at work in new phone models.
Google Leaks Icon Design Video, Indicates Redesign of Core Android Apps
A video made by the creative team at Google was shared on YouTube recently, indicating a new philosophy in the design of Android apps. The video depicts a simpler sans serif typeface and flat icon designs with lots of white space around them.
This new look is clean and minimalistic, following the general trends for mobile and web app design. The authenticity of the video was confirmed by other similar videos shared on Vimeo by Google creatives Adam Grabowski and Nicolo Bianchino, then made private, but shared for a period of time by other Google employees on their Twitter accounts. Also, the recent redesigns of core apps such as Gmail, Google Drive and Google Calendar support the idea that Google will prepare a fresh new look for all its Android apps.
You can watch the leaked video below:
Samsung Plans to Launch a Foldable Phone in 2019
A Wall Street Journal report disclosed that Samsung is trying to revive declining phone sales with a breakthrough design: a foldable phone. The information allegedly comes straight from the company headquarters in Seoul, South Korea and the first indications are that this will be a premium device, priced at over $1,500.
The foldable phone model, working name “Galaxy X”, is rumored to have a 7.3-inch main display and will resemble a book, the display being between covers. It will also feature a large battery of at least a 3,000 mAh.
The combination of a foldable design, a large battery and the need for adequate space for heat dissipation means that the future Samsung phone will be larger in size than any smartphone model known to date, even in its folded state.
As for the official launch of this innovative phone model, the director of emerging device strategies service at Strategy Analytics, Ken Hyers, stated for TechNewsWorld that:
"Early talk was that CES 2019 (in January) would see its launch, but the Mobile World Congress in February is looking more likely."
Qualcomm Unveils 5G Antenna for the X50 Modem
Qualcomm is one of the key component makers in the mobile industry, and it never fails to deliver innovative products and solutions. Its latest breakthrough is an antenna for the X50 modem which will make the 5G mobile internet speed a reality for the next generation of smartphones.
The new antenna operates in the millimeter wave and sub-6GHz communication spectrums. Millimeter waves have very high frequencies—in the range of 37 to 40 GHz, with a bandwidth of 800 MHz. This is the only way of achieving 5G internet speed. And Qualcomm envisions that every mobile phone of the future will be equipped with no less than 4 such antennas which, together with the X50 modem, will support beam forming, steering and tracking technologies. These technologies ensure a stable internet connection at a decent range.
For now, Qualcomm will start shipping its new antenna to various phone manufacturers for testing. We are confident that soon enough the 5G internet speed will become the norm for most upper and mid tier smartphone models.
Apple Releases 70 New Emojis for World Emoji Day
The 17th of July is World Emoji Day and Apple decided to celebrate the occasion with 70 new emojis available for iPhone owners. The new emojis include redhead characters—the answer to increasing demands from users—kangaroos, and a series of emoji characters depicting persons with various disabilities.
The new emojis focus on hairstyle variety—they include characters with grey hair, curls, and bald heads. The red-haired characters are undoubtedly a true victory for the over twenty thousand iPhone owners who signed a petition demanding red-haired emojis for their phones.
Other new emojis included in the latest release feature: a cupcake, lettuce and mango for salad emojis and a moon cake.