Tech

Post-Smartphone era, yet?

Recently, Apple (and other big brands) recorded a drop of a smartphone sells. First time in over 10 years. Does it mean something is ending? I’d call it a big change. But let me take you step by step.

Do you remember that we live in post-PC era?

Yep, a few years ago news have been screaming and shouting that that’s it for a computer era – tablets and smartphones were supposed to take over and certainly – as media blindly believed – would be enough for most of the world. But guys forgot to mention that technological progress slightly changed its direction in the last couple of years. Basically, because of two things:

 

  1. Computers became really powerful. If you’d like to browse the Internet, watch video in full HD, listen to music, store your photos then well – any PC which was made more or less 8 years ago would do. 8 years! That’s plenty in technology. So, most of the people have had computers which could handle day to day tasks, what’s a point of buying a new toy?
  2. For a last few years, the actual performance of computers isn’t raising as rapidly as, say, 15 years ago. Rather than improving speed and performance of computers, manufacturers focus on power efficiency (so that you can take your laptop to work without a charger), miniaturisation (so that when you buy modern PC you can play video in 4K and play even some 3D games), and once again – miniaturisation (so that computers are smaller and lighter).
  3. Microsoft is giving away Windows 10 for free for anyone with Windows 7 or 8 licence. That is, for each computer released after July 2009. I know that new version of Windows might not be a reason to buy a new PC, but it was always nice to have a new PC with a shiny new OS on it. Literally, we can have the newest OS on the 7 years old computer. For free and legally. Awesome.

And we can see the effect of this on yearly basis – manufacturers sell less and less of computer (e.g. Sony sold Vaio brand 3 years ago, that were really a state of art laptops. Samsung stopped making laptops), and it’s matter of time when the prices will grow up. I don’t want to mention the reductions in staff.

So what about the smartphones?

Although computers always have been about getting more and more powerful – getting more Gigahertzes and cores, More and faster memory etc. – smartphones were surprising us in many ways. Better camera, better speakers, bigger screen, higher resolution, more memory, amazing design and obviously – more power.

In my view the biggest wow in the whole smartphone revolution was first iPhone, back in 2007. You know, a proper multi-touch, gestures, great look, proper applications, flawless workflow – you name it – it was a pure touch of something new. Revolution, which combined many of the features from other phones, put it together, done it better, added some magic and passion – and boom – everyone wanted a smartphone since then.

Everyone wanted a smartphone since then – because it was something completely new and fresh. Soon enough the competition was joined by Google with android (and Blackberry, Microsoft – but as we know at the moment – not really successful). And again, like with computers a decade before, each year we could see newer, better and bigger smartphones. Moreover, usually we replace them  every 2 years during contract extension. Billions of people, billions of smartphones “refreshed” quite often and boom – after almost 10 years since first iPhone and world says (quietly, so far) enough of this.

You can easily use 3-4 years old phones this time. Because, seriously – apart from phoning, texting, watching cats and watching videos and taking photos what else do we do with the phones? Functionality stayed the same. Obviously there is still a lot to do with mobile phones, but the improving part is getting slower and slower. Sooner or later we might see optical zooms, wide used VR, maybe holograms and other features – but it doesn’t change the main idea of the phones – keeping people connected.

Flagship killers make the difference.

What is a flagship killer? It’s a phone for price of at least half price of top models, keeping the same quality as the top brands. Have you ever heard about OnePlus or Xaiomi? These companies don’t spend a lot on marketing, or fancy boxes or other not important stuff – they provide you with what’s really important – a cutting edge smartphone, for your weekly wage. Impossible?  I have had Xaiomi Mi4 for over a year, and have never seen a better phone. It didn’t cost me more than £170.

So, if you don’t need to spend over £500 for a new smartphone like iPhone or Samsung every 2 years, why would you? Check the Internet, do your homework, explore your options and don’t be limited. Think different ;).

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