What’s next for smartphones?

I think we can all agree that excitement is dead for the smartphone market. Except, of course, for the occasional exploding Galaxy Note 7 joke. From personal experience, iPhone users tend to upgrade every other year. For Android users it seems to be even less frequent, except for users like me who buy a new phone at least once a year. The iPhone 7 was as expected, nothing was exciting, save maybe for the waterproofing. I have yet to meet one person who had to get the 7 for that particular feature. Android phones are suffering this as well. Sure the Note 7 had a lot of cool features, a great camera and design (let’s forget the exploding aspect for a moment), but was there enough in there to convince S6 users to upgrade? Not anyone I know.

 

And then there’s me. For the first time in a long while, I didn’t buy a new phone this year. Why? Well, I have been using my Nexus 6P for around a year now and even though it’s seen a bit of mileage, it works great (and my glass screen protector has kept it intact, despite some rough impacts). When the Google Pixel was rumored, I was quite excited. When I heard the price point, the excitement vanished. $700+ for a phone that was hardware wise, marginally better then my current device? I’m good, thanks. The Google Assistant sounds interesting, but Cortana and Siri still struggle to tell me the weather correctly, so I’m good. And for less than $200 I can get an Amazon Echo or Google Home, which basically does the same, so once again, I’m good. Being a tech guy, I am interested in the software. The Pixel launcher seems to be a genuine update from the old Google Now launcher, yet all I have to do is wait (or sideload the APK) and I will have it on my 6P. Call me weird, but whenever the software on my smartphone changes significantly, it feels like a new device to me.

 

Here in the US, the market is clearly saturated. I know plenty of people still using iPhone 5’s and ancient Android devices I’ve never even heard of. And yes, I know you Blackberry and Windows Phone users are still out there. How do the tech companies get us excited again? I honestly don’t know. Sorry if you were expecting some great wisdom here, as many other tech sites will claim to have. I can tell you my thoughts (exactly the reason you are reading this, right?).

 

At the moment, I’m very happy with the speed of my device, no complaints. What I want is a 2-3 battery. Companies like Samsung and Apple are cramming their devices with more features, which I can honestly say I don’t use 90% of and many seem to do little useful and consume battery life. A smaller bezel would be nice, like the Xiaomi Mi Mix, too. I don’t need lighter and thinner, I think the current weight and size are good. Instead, make the internal components smaller, give me more battery and more material toughness, so my phone and screen can withstand a fall or two. We have had these devices for ten years now and still no one can make a screen that can’t last more than one good fall? Finally, bring back the SD slot, please. I’m not going to buy your cloud storage, mainly because something like 40% of the time, my wireless connection is crappy enough to make those services impractical (I’ll save my data cap rant for another day). Or maybe I just want to watch movies on my flight and streaming will definitely not work well on Plane-Fi… Wireless charging would be nice too. I saw an Ikea nightstand with the charger built-in, and I’ve seen mod kits for existing phones, so I know it is neither difficult nor expensive to do.

 

I don’t think my wants for my next smartphone are too much. Instead I’m sure the Pixel 2 will be lighter and thinner and waterproof. Sorry, I don’t intend to take it snorkeling next week.


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