While the smartphone arms race still looms large, one of the biggest trends to emerge from the major release events in the first half of 2016 (CES, MWC & SXSW) was the introduction of new periphery hardware. All of these new hardware devices are aiming to modify the way we interact with our smartphones. Each one of these new technologies, from VR headsets to home assistants, is impacting the way users experience their smartphones.
Here we will spotlight some of the ones that we found more interesting, and look at their possible implications for smartphone users.
By partnering with Oculus on the Gear VR, it is apparent that Samsung is very serious about attempting to be the first mobile hardware developer to bring VR to the mainstream.
- Launched Gear 360 for consumers to produce own VR content
- Circular Camera with two lenses, each capable of filming 196 degrees
- Ability to share content instantly to social media
This year, Sony Xperia debuted three new peripheral devices that can be linked to their Xperia line of mobile phones.
- Xperia Ear: a “hearable” Bluetooth headset, that acts as a personal assistant
- Xperia Eye: Wearable camera that captures images instantaneously via voice command and face detection software
- Xperia Agent: Multitalented home hub, with a tabletop projects and IoT connectivity
Similar to Sony, LG has also introduced three of its own smartphone companion gadgets this year.
- LG 360 VR Headset: Compatible with the LG G5, the 360 VR aims to shrink the adjustment time to VR with a less bulky design and digital simplicity
- LG 360 Camera: A pocket-sized VR camera capable of both 180- and 360-degree video in 2K
- LG Rolling Bot: Real-life offspring of BB-8 can roll around its surroundings and live stream video and images through its partner app
So what does this mean for smartphone users?
1) It shows that there is going to be a large link between smartphones and VR & AR moving forward with all the resources these companies are allocating to these technologies.
2) Phone manufacturers are using these gadgets to convince people to switch to their flagship devices since many of these products are exclusively compatible with their own brand of smartphone.
Either way, smartphone manufacturers are looking to expand their offerings and create new ways for their consumers to interact with their brands. By creating an ecosystem of products for consumers to use, they are utilizing the allure of new technologies to create a new revenue stream as well as create awareness of their other devices.