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The next generation of smartphones will be better than ever. Soon, you might even be able to bend your phone in half or attach a super high-resolution camera. And, of course, the newest phones will have better screens, longer battery life, and they’ll be a lot more durable.

Bendable OLED screens

OLED is a display technology that’s become the industry standard. In 2017, Apple is going to roll out the iPhone 8. It’s going to have an OLED screen. Samsung, the most popular phone manufacturer, has used OLED in its premium phones for a while.

OLEDs have better image quality and use less energy than LCD screens. LCDs are the current standard for phones, TVs, and other displays. They also can be super thin, because they don’t require a backlight.

So pretty soon, you might be able to bend your phone. Hopefully, that will make phones more durable—I need that feature because I drop mine all the darn time.

 

Ironically, Apple is going to buy its new OLED screens from Samsung. The companies are archrivals in the mobile market, but Samsung is much more than a consumer electronics company. It’s a huge company like GM, Honda, or Sony. It’s also one of the world’s largest shipbuilders. So since they develop good OLEDs for cheap, Apple had to pay their biggest rival.

Waterproofing

The iPhone 7 made a splash with ads that hyped the phone’s water resistance.

 

So did Samsung, with help from a famous friend:

 

It turns out that these phones aren’t totally waterproof, though. CNET found that the speakers of an iPhone 7 went kaput after intense, waterlogged stress testing. So now all the major companies are involved in a waterproofing arms race. That’s good news if, like me, you listen to a podcast while you do the dishes.

A Fancy New Essential

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There’s a new player in the high-end phone market. Essential is a startup founded by the creator of Android, who wanted to open up his own shop.

The Essential phone is expensive, starting at around $700. But it has all kinds of cool features and accessories—you can attach a super high-res camera using its built in magnets, for example. Your investment will also be well-protected: the phone has a titanium shell that will protect it from the sort of dropping and splashing that I’m so prone to.

Emergency Calls on iPhone

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The latest update to iOS will include a 911 call feature. Anyone will be able to tap an iPhone’s home button five times, swipe right, and call a dispatcher—even if the person tapping doesn’t have Touch ID recognition on the phone.

This feature will be useful to anyone who calls 911 on their own phone. It’s also a safety boost for everyone else. If you don’t have your phone in an emergency, you’ll be able to use someone else’s iPhone to call first responders, even if the phone’s owner is incapacitated.

Wireless Charging

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Apple Watch and plenty of other devices charge via magnets. You don’t have to plug in the device to charge it—you can just use an electromagnet that can be used for any magnetic charge device. iPhones aren’t yet up to speed unless you buy a clunky accessory charging unit. Soon, iPhones and mobiles might get there—maybe as soon as the iPhone 8 comes around.

 

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