An increasing number of smartphones will be equipped with voice-recognition based artificial intelligence (AI) features and foldable displays in 2017. Mobile carriers will also accelerate the competition in 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicle and coordination bonding.
Samsung Electronics is said to include its own voice AI assistant, expected to be called Bixby, in the Galaxy S8 to be revealed in April in order to provide various information and schedule that are necessary to users, and link with its other home appliances. Apple is also upgrading iPhone's voice assistant Siri, expanding its service areas. Google, which has its own AI assistant “Google Assistant,” is making an effort to establish the AI ecosystem with its new Pixel smartphone line launched last year. Market research firm Gartner said, “About 20 percent of interaction between smartphones and their users will be made through virtual personal assistant services in 2019.”
As Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics are strengthening the automotive electronic business, a key part of smart cars, domestic mobile service providers are jointly developing 5G-based driverless car technologies with automakers – SK Telecom and BMW, KT and Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai-Kia Motors, and LG U+ and India’s Mahindra Group. Kim Jae-pil, senior researcher at KT Economics and Management Research Lab, said, “In addition to voice-controlled assistant services, more diverse convergence services, such as smart health care and self-driving cars, will be continuously developed and released.”
Samsung Electronics revealed its concept images of foldable products that can be used as smartphones and tablets in 2014 and will apply them to the Galaxy X series this year. China’s Lenovo unveiled its own prototype versions of a foldable tablet computer and a wearable device in June last year.
More and more companies will also seek to differentiate their products from others. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 is rumored to featyre a 6-inch bezel-less display. Apple is said to apply its facial recognition and iris recognition systems and innovate designs in a bid to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. LG Electronics, Huawei and Apple are also expected to advance their dual cameras further in the future. Market research company IDC said, “The global smartphone market growth plunged to 1.6 percent last year from 10.5 percent at the previous year and the average growth rate will also remain at 4.1 percent by 2020.”
Starting from February, mobile network operators will release products that combine their own cellphones and high-speed Internet connection of cable TV providers. Until now, they have only offered products that combine cellphones and Internet protocol television (IPTV). The government will abolish its regulation that limit cellphone subsidies to 330,000 won (US$274) in October. Starting with the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, KT, SK Telecom and LG U+ are planning to complete the standardization of 5G technologies to secure the leadership in the global market. SK Telecom's LoRa and KT and LG U+’ NB-IoT will compete in the IoT sector as well.