The Wrap – The crazy phones of 2019

Your phone might look the same as everything else, but that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. What will 2019’s phones look like, and what will they cost? It’s a phonetastic episode of The Wrap.

Transcript

For the first week of March, you’re listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup, and mere months into the year, we’re already seeing how mobile phones are set to change. Take a glance down at the phone of yours, the thing that controls your life, and just ponder it for a second, because in 2019, it could be something very different.

This week saw Mobile World Congress, the veritable Disneyland for mobile phone lovers, where the year’s first major phone announcements are made, and there were a lot this year.

Even before the show, we had a vague feeling that the show was going to be all about two main themes — 5G and foldable phones — and we saw both.

In 2019, you will as well, because while there were some phones very much in prototype stage at Mobile World Congress this year, some were almost ready, meaning the crazy phones of 2019 are something you’ll be able to put your mitts all over very, very soon.

So let’s start with speed, because that’s one of the big deals this year.

5G is the name of the game, and as the name suggests, it’s the follow-up to 4G. Depending on where you are in the world, 5G could very well be faster than your traditional broadband connection. Here in Australia, that’s definitely true, offering speeds of up to 4.6 gigabits per second, which translates to half a gigabyte per second. Absolute craziness.

If you want those speeds, you’ll need a new phone, and there was talk on a few of those this week. LG’s V50 joined the 5G crowd this week, offering a handset that delivered a 6.4 inch screen, a 4000mAh battery, and access to that whole 5G thing.

Oppo also has a 5G phone coming, and of course there’s the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which was announced last week.

That’s a good three 5G phones that we know about, and with 5G rolling out across carriers in the US, Australia, and South Korea, to name but a few, there’s little doubt that people will be surfing those high speed mobile waves very, very soon.

But 5G wasn’t the only thing being talked up for new phones this year, with cameras aplenty and unique designs that fold.

Let’s talk the individuality, because this is the year phones get fun again. For a while, they were largely the same, but this year, companies get creative once more.

Light announced a collaborative effort with the likes of Sony, suggesting multi-camera setups are coming to Sony phones with more than three reaching into as many as nine or ten. That won’t come to Sony’s phones this year, though. Instead, you’ll see super wide 21:9 screens on its Xperia 1 and Xperia 10 phones.

Nokia has an impressive five-camera phone in the Nokia 9 PureView, a phone rocking two colour and three black and white sensors for image clarity. And Oppo will bring 10X zoom to a phone later this year, though it wouldn’t show a final product. We might not be there yet.

Meanwhile, Samsung won’t be the only company with a foldable phone this year. It might have been one of the first with an announcement, but Huawei’s Mate X — which was announced this week — looks even better. There are two six inch screens that fold flat to make an 8 inch iPad-like tablet, and Huawei has slimmed down the bezels to make this thing look like it’s from the future.

It’s downright special, and it will even play nicely on those 5G networks, but one thing it won’t be is cheap. While Huawei hasn’t set a price yet, the feeling is that this will exceed the $3,000 dollar mark, making it a luxurious taste of the future that few will be able to afford.

Huawei wasn’t the only one, with TCL talking up folding hinges, while Motorola hinted one was coming as well.

Chances are that you won’t be able to escape our foldable future, as it’s the height of convergence with just a hint of crazy, the sort of thing science fiction paints a picture of that you’ll be able to touch, feel, and use this year, provided you have the cash.

If you don’t want this foldable future, don’t worry, because regular old touchscreen phones will stick around for some time to come. Hell, they’ll be the affordable ones, because foldable is definitely not going to be wallet friendly.

We still have some time before this make their way out, and before it — next week even — Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will be out, thus beginning the new phone wars for this year.

Who will win? Who will have the best phone? Only time will tell.

Just not the time needed for the rest of this show, because it is now over.

So you’ve been listening to The Wrap, Australia’s fastest technology roundup. The Wrap will be back next Friday for more technology in five, available on Podcast One and Apple Podcasts. You can find out about everything in this show and more at the Pickr website, and there has been a lot this week

Next week, we’ll try to get more than just phone news in, but until then, we’re wishing you the best. We’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.