These days hunting for the latest portable gadgets has basically become an integral part of our lives. It’s almost a shame that tech is advancing so fast that our well-loved devices barely scrape 2 or 3 years of shelf life before becoming obsolete.

This lack of longevity doesn’t only affect phones. All sorts of gadgets across the spectrum make some noise while they’re in the prototype phase. But as soon as they come out, people are hungry for the next thing.

So, how is 2019’s latest batch looking?

Read on to find out what’s going on in the smartphone scene. And don’t forget to tell us which one you’re most excited about (if any)!

New trends in smartphones

Today’s smartphone tech is about as incomprehensible to a layman as magic. Not to mention, all the most recent designs follow the same boring standard that iPhone set for us.

It all just seems like an endless parade of bigger and bigger rectangles with touch screens.

Not to mention, all of these smartphones keep being produced without resolving any of the issues they’ve developed over the years. Namely:

  • Low battery life (around 24h at best)
  • Non-replaceable parts
  • Obsolete after 2-3 years; which can make them hard to sell
  • Easily breakable screens & buttons

So, have the phone wizards been addressing these issues at all in the newest prototypes? And can we look forward to more imaginative designs than rectangles of pure screen?

Let’s check out three of the latest prototypes.

Cylindrical Phone

The MagicScroll is potentially the most exciting new phone prototype we’ve seen. It was developed by researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

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Their aim? To develop a cylindrical touchscreen.

As of right now, the prototype’s screen can unfold into a 7.5 inch OLED display. It’s not quite practical yet as there’s nothing to support the unrolled screen, so you’d be jabbing at a bit of wobbly plastic.

But! This phone has a lot of potential. And it’s unique and original in an age where people who don’t like interacting with huge vibrating rectangles are basically screwed.

There are even physical dials on either end to scroll down the digital screen, which we think is some next-level Doctor Who stuff. It’s the return of bizarre, almost steampunk hardware, and we love it.

A Foldable Phone

Perhaps it’s the early-2000s nostalgia, but people have been yearning for the comeback of the flip phone. And it’s been in the works for some time, apparently.

This year, the CEO of Samsung’s mobile division says they’ll produce it by the end of 2019. Thing is, Lenovo might have potentially beat them to it already with their foldable tablet prototype.

These tablets, called “Folio”, can fold from tablet-size to phone-size, especially appealing to those who use play social games or mobile casino games on the go. Enlarging the screen in one simple motion will make the entertainment value that much higher.

So, do we really need a folding phone if we can have a 2-in-1 device that acts as both phone and tablet?

Palm’s Tiny Phone

This one is also a return to basics. Or, it was meant to be at the start.

The tiny Palm phone sports a 3.3inch screen, and all the modern features you might find on current phones like the iPhone XR (12-megapixel camera, pixel density).

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It’s also quite cute, and cheap, at least compared to most Apple products. It rings up at $350.

The downside? Well, there’s several.

It’s currently only available on Verizon, which is a US phone service and internet provider. So any non-US citizen will not be able to use it.

And, perhaps the biggest downside – its only available as a secondary phone. You have to already have an iPhone to buy this baby. It’s a bit like getting a complementary smartwatch with your iPhone or Android phone… except you just get a second phone.

Also, along with being basically a miniature version of what already exists – apparently it has all the same issue as its bigger counterparts regarding longevity, fragility, battery life, etc.

So while it’s nice to see designers going back to portable phones that aren’t larger than your hand, it’s a bit lousy to limit its availability so much.

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