Mobile World Congress Continues To Prove That Smartphones Are Boring
Mobile World Congress is just around the corner and if the recent leaks are to be believed, companies have done absolutely nothing to make smartphones remotely interesting.
Cast your minds back to last year and you will see the first time I expressed my own gripes about this… Summed up in a few words - if the biggest news story coming out of a technology conference is a basic phone reboot of the Nokia 3310, then there is a problem with the smartphones of today.
And that problem? Repetitive design languages across phone manufacturers, no real hardware innovation beyond increasingly indistinguishable camera clarity and processor speeds, and needlessly identical software tweaks.
Smartphones had transcended the label of gadget - turning into an appliance for many, which resulted in a lack of any real variety amongst the market.
Annoyingly, that seems to be the case once again.
Wade through the sea of iPhone X notch lookalikes and you will see Samsung ditch more of the bezels with the Galaxy S9 (and compete with Apple’s current bezel-less phone), Sony with plans to eliminate bezels as well, Nokia continuing their return to prominence with (yep, you guessed it) a phone without bezels, and the remaining big four manufacturers (Huawei, HTC, LG and Motorola) are dodging this event altogether, to avoid the Samsung cloud of domination.
Basically, without any need for a press pass, I can tell you what to expect - a bunch of monolithic glass slabs that lack any real hardware-based personality.
But here’s the kicker, all of this is our fault. Our expectations for new phones have reduced to a good screen with a fast processor and a high-resolution camera. This makes things incredibly easy for manufacturers to fulfil your expectations, and results in a stupidly boring market to look at. My iPhone is just like any other iPhone and similar to any of the current smartphone crop. No doubt if you looked seriously at your phone too, you’d realise just how slow things have moved.
So let me be clear. I’m not looking for silly design choices, but I want something interesting. Take what your customer is looking for and move the goal posts one step beyond their expectations (is a flip phone so far-fetched)!
Because a cloud-loaded photo gallery, social account logins and game saves do not make a personality. Hardware makes personality, and at the moment these devices lack just as much personality as the faceless corporations behind them.