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2013 Wrap-up. 2014 Predictions, Part I.

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22nd December 2003

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2013 saw signs of a recovery in the mobile market with some struggling manufacturers seeing signs of a turnaround, but some others seem to be facing extinction. How did major companies fare during 2013, and what might happen in 2014? This is our look back at the last year and our predictions for next. For comparison, you can see what we said last year here.

2014 Predictions

There seems to be no upper limit to the screen sizes that people want, and manufacturers will continue to increase the display real estate, but will continue to find ways to shrink down the bezel to keep the phones as small as possible. There are rumours that even Apple will have to bow to the inevitable and play catch-up with rivals. Curved screens will make a showing in Europe during 2014, but we cannot see much enthusiasm for them.

Full HD displays will become standard on most smartphone from the upper-midrange upwards. We predict that some manufacturers will introduce 2160p / 2K UHD phones before the end of the year, although as with curved displays we cannot see much consumer demand in devices this small.

Quad-core processors are already becoming standard, and although some manufacturers will go for eight cores, we expect there to be more emphasis on GPUs and other co-processors that will make more complex features faster. 2GB of RAM is standard on high-end devices, we expect this to go up to 4GB as standard quite quickly.

Camera quality increased dramatically during 2013, expect OIS (optical image stabilisation) to become standard on all high-end devices during 2014 and there will doubtless be other interesting developments in phone cameras as manufacturers launch renewed attempts to make their products stand out.

During 2013 LTE and to some extent NFC became common features, but wireless charging still did not make the breakthrough we were expecting. If the next-generation iPhone includes NFC and wireless charging then we would expect that to help drive the market forward.

In terms of operating systems, Android will continue to hold the lion's share of the market followed by iOS and the bulk of what remains will be Windows Phone. Upstart platforms such as those from Jolla will fail to make an impact and BlackBerry will be increasingly squeezed out of the market.

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