Smartphones make me fed up. There. I said it.
Ever year since Apple released its paradigm shifting iPhone 3G and pushed the industry into the stratosphere there has been nothing to get truly excited about in a sector that should be just that: exciting.
Everyone copies everyone else
You don’t have to look at the finer details of one of the litany of patent disputes between Apple and Samsung to know that almost all smartphones look and feel the same. Of course, there are slight variations in shape, size and weight, but what you hold in your hand has been influenced so much by the design of the original iPhone that it feels almost staid at this point. This could explain why consumers are increasingly moving away from the likes of Samsung and Sony to cheaper manufacturers that can offer almost exactly the same device for a much lower cost. Apple, meanwhile, has no such problem due to the brand loyalty that has stood the test of time since the iPhone 3G was released and looks like a mere pipe dream for its competitors.
We have more and more peripherals we don’t want
Google Glass fell by the wayside early last week and with it went yet another smartphone peripheral that promised much, but has ultimately failed for the moment and it all boils down to one thing: we don’t want to shell out a load more money on added extras. Parting with the best part of £600 for a smartphone doesn't mean that consumers want to make it a race to the £1,000 mark and beyond, by spending on devices that make the easy task of operating a phone, even easier. Wearables will find a niche at some point and the Apple Watch will likely be the smart watch sector’s “iPhone moment”. The manufacturers of them just need to be more price sensitive going forwards.
They aren’t even phones anymore
This might seem like an obvious one, however, it feels like smartphone manufacturers are missing the point by constantly pushing the boundaries in terms of size and features. Once upon a time we dreamed about mobile phones that were small enough to fit in our pockets and didn’t look like they could knock someone out if thrown in a fit of rage. Even though the latter weight and bulk have gone, smartphones have headed off into a new dimension of huge screen sizes and phones that don’t fit in the pocket of a regular pair of jeans.
Prices are too high
If you’d told me 10 years ago that we’d all be walking around with £600+ devices weighing down our pockets I’d have been slightly skeptical and probably asked if you started off the day with vodka on your corn flakes. That’s the status quo. Of course, you could opt for an older model or one of the scores of cheaper handsets such as the Google Nexus 5, but what self-respecting person doesn't want the new Nexus 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus? Like many consumer electronics it’s a toss up between having the very latest piece of kit and being price sensitive, the former usually winning on the day. The whole point of price may seem like an obvious one and it will be very interesting to see if Western consumers react to cheaper handsets from the likes of Xiaomi in the same way their counterparts in China have done.
Image Credit: Flickr (lomo54)