Almost every phone in the future will likely include some sort of biometric security feature, according to Olds of Gabriel Consulting Group. "The most common will be a fingerprint reader, closely followed by facial recognition on future phones."
King agrees, but said that while "biometric ID seems to be table stakes for phones, the real question is whether Apple pressing forward with facial recognition will result in other vendors following suit, sticking with fingerprint readers or going their own way."
Another analyst, Rob Enderle of Enderle Group, said that while it is likely more devices will have fingerprint readers, "facial recognition will likely still get a small pop, but Apple's issues with the iPhone X suggest the market will eventually pull back from facial recognition in 2018." Some users have reported problems using the phone's face scanner in bright sunlight, while others have reported other issues.
Another expected development in smartphones in 2018 is the trickle-down of premium features to less-expensive midrange phones, said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
"The trickle-down features will be primarily dual cameras and edge-to-edge displays in addition to the bigger-better-faster processors, graphics and modems," he said.
Greengart of GlobalData said he also expects such features to trickle down to less-expensive phones, including entry level handsets getting reduced-size bezels that provide more display space and mimic more expensive phones, as well as HDR displays on all but the lowest end models of phones.
'The Year of Smart'
Jack E. Gold, principal analyst with J. Gold Associates, said he expects 2018 to be "the year of smart" for digital personal assistants as new AI-based technologies push beyond the capabilities of existing digital assistants such as Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant.
"Many mobile devices will compete by trying to offer the best assistants that can do the most," said Gold. "That will include working through back-end cloud-based services, but also with on-board 'AI Lite' processing capability."
Gold said he imagines the coming features will be "more along the lines of concierge services that know something about what we are doing, what we want to do and what we need to do next. It might take 2-3 years to get there, using the new AI engines, but we are on the way."