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This year, the smartphone industry has seen a shift in a perspective. Once dominated by devices carrying powerful innards, the industry has now moved the focus to features – along with top-tier specification sheet that adds a distinctive value to otherwise capable smartphones. Business Standard brings you five features that have dominated the smartphone industry in 2017: 18:9 Aspect Ratio Screen Until yesteryear, most of the smartphones used 16:9 aspect ratio screens and the differentiating factors are mostly seen in the form of display tech – AMOLED, IPS, TFT, LCD etc. -- resolution, pixels-per-inch (PPI) and brightness. This year, however, the industry moved to ultra-wide 18:9 aspect ratio screen, which accommodates more screen estate in a compact form factor i.e. a 6-inch screen device looks as big as 5.5-inch. LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8-series were the first of batch to carry futuristic 18:9 aspect ratio screens, and the trend gained momentum in no time. Now, in the last leg of the year, most of the smartphone manufacturers have either flagship, mid-tier or budget offerings carrying the ultra-wide aspect ratio screens. Dual Camera Set-Up Dual-camera set-up in a smartphone has been there for some time. But, it is only this year that the trend picked up pace and found space in most of the devices. Interestingly, the smartphone makers worked on different combinations – Telephoto lens in Apple iPhones, grayscale lens in Huawei P10, wide-angle lens in LG G6 etc. The year also witnessed smartphones with dual-camera set-up for selfies.
However, there are not many phones currently featuring two cameras on the front. Next year, we may get to see more devices with dual-camera set-up on front and back.Portrait Mode Portrait mode, which was once limited to D-SLRs, is another camera-centric feature that received thumbs up from users as well as manufacturers. The portrait mode is an extension of Bokeh effect, where the object – portrait – is kept in focus and the background is blurred that makes the object stand out. The portrait mode is usually restricted for dual-camera-based smartphones. However, Google’s Pixel 2 takes a leap forward with the help of software algorithms to create portrait shots without depending on dual cameras. Augmented reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence The futuristic technologies -- augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence – that were earlier limited to computers and standalone hardware units made their debut in smartphones this year. The Samsung Galaxy S8-series with Bixby personal assistant uses artificial intelligence, iPhone X animoji feature takes advantage of augmented reality and Asus Zenfone AR brings together augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Though still in early stages, these technologies create space for manufacturers to explore the limitless possibilities, a sample of which is seen in a few smartphones that were launched this year. Wireless audio The 3.5mm audio jack, which has long been a common feature in smartphones, finally made a debut. Apple set the precedence by removing the headphone jack from iPhone 7-series. The feature is now slowly taking over the smartphone industry.