OPINION: 2021 has been the year Apple finally stuck a 120Hz display on an iPhone, Samsung made a foldable we could recommend and 5G became a little more useful. But what is in store for 2022?
With CES 2022 on the horizon and then MWC and the Samsung Galaxy S22 launch expected in the first few months, 2022 will be kicking off with a bang and it’ll likely continue from there.
We’ve rounded up some of the big mobile tech launches we expect (and hope) to see as we enter 2022.
An iPhone without the notch
The notch has been commonplace on the iPhone since the iPhone X and while it hasn’t really bothered us too much, there’s no doubting it’s beginning to feel a little stale. Competing Android devices moved on quickly, trying everything from pop-up cameras to cutouts to try and find a suitable place for the front camera.
The leaks for the iPhone 14 arrived with the iPhone 13 and subsequent renders have shown an iPhone 14 (likely the Pro model) without the notch. Instead, there would be a small cutout for the TrueDepth camera system,
We’ve heard these rumours before and, of course, until Tim Cook announces the phone on stage there’s every chance these renders will end being as false as the reported Apple Watch redesign we expected this year. But 2022 really does feel like the year when at least some of the iPhone models eschew the notch for good.
More phones with an in-display selfie camera
For the notch to finally disappear for good though, you’re going to need that front camera to sit below the display completely. We’ve seen this tech used before, however the results have rarely been great – just look at some of the selfies taken with the inside camera on the Galaxy Z Fold 3.
This will likely change quickly. The first few phones with an in-display fingerprint sensor, for example, were bad – but the tech improved quickly and now they’re fairly nippy and reliable. We’d expect the same to happen with in-display cameras and expect to see a lot of these start to appear on phones in 2022 and beyond.
Charging getting (even) faster
There are a certain number of phone brands, Apple and Google being two, that don’t really count quick charging as a feature. You can tell this by the lack of a charger included in the box, and fairly meagre charge speeds.
Other brands though, like Xiaomi and Oppo, hype up charge speeds just as they would camera skills or general performance. You’ll still find chargers in most of the boxes for these phones, as not including it would mean the loss of a big headline skill.
2022 is already shaping up to be another bumper year for charge speed advancement, with leaks suggesting both the OnePlus 10 Pro and Oppo Find X4 would both tote 80w charging out of the box.
There have already been rumours that Samsung will improve charge speeds for its upcoming Galaxy S22 series, including upping its wireless charging speeds too.
A bigger focus on Android tablets
We’ve reviewed a number of decent Android tablets in the last few months, but 2022 could help pave the way for even better ones. The reason behind this is Android 12 L, a version of Google’s software built specifically for larger devices like tablets.
Android 12 L looks set to solve some of the biggest pain points we have with Android on a tablet, including better multitasking and app support. Better software will hopefully entice manufacturers to make a play for the Android tablet market again with higher-end devices that can actually rival the iPad.
MediaTek chips have been powering lots of cheaper and mid-range phones over the past few and the company made a splash when it revealed one of its Dimensity chips would be powering the OnePlus Nord 2. Expect to see MediaTek chip inside even more phones next year, especially flagship levels ones.
The Taiwanese chip maker launched its Dimensity 9000 chipset in November, positioning it as its first truly flagship processor. Now the company has confirmed that four major phone manufacturers will be using this speedy chip in flagship handsets from the first quarter of next year: Xiaomi, Oppo, Honor, and Vivo.
Interestingly, Oppo vice-president Henry Duan announced that the Dimensity 9000 will appear in the company’s forthcoming Find X flagship. This is slightly confusing as Oppo had previously confirmed that Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 would be powering its next flagship phone – likely the Oppo Find X4 Pro. Maybe we’ll see a cheaper Find X4 without the Pro tag and with the Dimensity, or maybe they’ll be multiple versions. Whatever happens, expect to see a lot more of MediaTek in 2022.
The Pixel Watch might actually happen
Every year it seems as though the Pixel Watch might actually happen and every year we’re hit with disappointment as it remains very much MIA. If the leaks are correct though, this could all change in 2022.
The last few months have seen feverish reports suggesting Google’s first Pixel-branded smartwatch, and the accompanying One UI-free Wear OS 3, will finally arrive in 2022 and really we can’t wait. We’ve seen renders, leaked images of the watch and even what Wear OS will look like with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 customisations.
If the Pixel Watch remains missing after 2022, then it’s probably never coming.