The excitement that comes with the release of a new smartphone has been fading away slowly by slowly. Smartphone sales have been slowing down, and even though the stats show that the sales have increased, the difference is neglible. Sales have gone from a 14.4% growth in 2015 to 4.5% growth in 2016. There are a lot of factors that could be attributed to such stats, we could blame hard economic times – but we still saw Samsung make a killing with their $700 Galaxy S7/S7 edge devices.

How about we blame it on competition? We did see a lot of affordable smartphones being launched, such as the Nexus 5x, OnePlus 3, Honor 8 and even the Huawei P9. But then again, they made a sale, so that number should have been higher.

smartphone sPECS have become purely incremental…

My thoughts are that people are no longer that excited about buying a new phone because they offer nothing new. The difference between one device and the other can be brought down to just the brand name. Specs have become purely incremental, moving from Snapdragon 820 to 821, better cameras, better battery life and so on.

Look at the Samsung Galaxy S7 and the iPhone 7, two phones from two different manufacturers running on different ecosystems but with nearly identical specifications. Whether you choose the iPhone or the Galaxy, the camera quality is the same, battery life, build quality, all the same. The only difference you will experience is the software and that’s where the next big innovation is.

Look at Google’s latest device, the Pixel. Its main selling point is the software (Google Assistant), Nokia have been rumoured to be working on their own digital assistant, HTC have launched the HTC U series, which features a lot of AI and we have the Huawei Mate 9 which is AI powered to ensure that it never slows down by learning how you use your smartphone. So, we have established that software is the next big thing and the evidence to prove this is overwhelming.

Manufacturers are slowly moving from telling us how great a device is by mentioning specs that most consumers don’t care about and they are now focusing on making the software experience worthwhile. It will definitely not happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow but I am seeing a future where your smartphone will be able to do things without you touching it.

As exciting as that is, it is also scary. If smartphones can think for themselves, decide when you need to wake up earlier than usual or when you need to sleep in, send those lovey dovey texts to your girlfriend, wish your mother a happy birthday and start your car before you even get inside it, then the robot revolution is closer than we think.

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  1. Good article until the end when it became a bit far fetched. If manufacturers can’t think of original ideas for devices, they’re a long way off having the imagination to figure out sophisticated AI.

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