Smartphones have reached near ubiquity in most markets and despite it seeming as if manufacturers have hit a roadblock on innovation avenue, 2022 proved there are still plenty of improvements to come. Apple's latest iPhone almost shipped with support for ray tracing, for example, and mobile cameras are rapidly approaching DSLR levels of quality.
They're laced with spyware, adware, and other malware
Security researchers recently discovered over two dozen malicious Android apps that had become popular on the Google Play Store. They masquerade as innocuous tools while secretly monitoring users and stealing their information. Google removed most of them, but they likely remain installed on many devices.
The updates appear to contain GPS fixes
Anyone still using Samsung Galaxy phones between roughly 2014 and 2018 --- of which there could be half a billion --- should check for firmware updates. The updates Samsung is pushing are minor but unusual because the affected models are far older than the oldest phones that typically receive security patches.
More issues for Apple to fix
Bugs in new phones are something that's become a common problem for consumers. The iPhone 14 Pro seems to suffer from quite a few of them, the latest of which include random restarts and cellular connectivity issues.
Samsung was caught intentionally slowing down the performance of common apps
Users have discovered that Samsung was throttling thousands of apps on its flagship Galaxy S series phones, including its latest Galaxy S22, while conveniently excluding popular benchmarking tools like Geekbench. In response, the developers behind Geekbench have banned the last four generations of Samsung Galaxy devices from its services for manipulating benchmark results.
It doesn't make any sense at all
If you missed the announcement, Apple's self-repair service is a parts and tools storefront masquerading as a concession to the right to repair movement. Its manuals are technical, obtuse, and only make sense if you're using Apple's special tools – which are not user friendly and happen to arrive in two suitcase-sized pelican cases.
Alarm and car emergency systems still need to upgrade
For about a year, there have been warnings about what devices might get left behind when major mobile carriers shut down their 3G networks this year. The AT&T 3G sunset is just days away, and a group representing alarm companies says it needs more time to upgrade.
Ranking on Google Play requires fewer downloads than in the App Store
Developers looking to get their apps to the top spot in a mobile app store now have a pretty good idea of how many downloads it takes thanks to the latest report from analytics firm Sensor Tower.
It's been nearly a year since it was announced
Google has finally rolled out a "quick delete" setting that allows users to clear the last 15 minutes of history from its search app on Android. It announced the functionality about a year ago and released it to iPhones only a few months later.
Smartphone cameras continue to get better
Sony believes smartphone camera image quality is on pace to eclipse that of digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras in the near future. During a recent business briefing, Sony Semiconductor Solutions (SSS) President and CEO Terushi Shimizu said they expect still images from camera phones to exceed what is possible with a DSLR within the next few years.
Design setback put Apple's A16 GPU behind Qualcomm and MediaTek's latest
Ray tracing is still mostly exclusive to current-gen game consoles and recent mid to high-end PC graphics cards, but it's starting to appear on mobile hardware as well. A recent report reveals that Apple's latest iPhone could have marked a grand debut for portable ray tracing, but the company abandoned the plans at the last minute.