Do you know these days at work when you have finished your tasks and are waiting for the next important thing? You know how bored you are with nothing to do, but you are not allowed to do anything? That 's where Apple, Google, and the whole smartphone industry are right now and it' s feared for all of us.
Over the past two months, the two companies collectively responsible for the smartphone revolution have announced their new shipping equipment to consumers before the holidays. In past years, this would be the event of the season. The new phones would offer incalculable possibilities and new magical features that would even encourage the most skeptical technology nerds to get into each other to be the first to empty their wallets
This year we had smaller glasses.
The hardware of smartphones has not changed much for years, and it is (especially) well
Before going too far in weed on the deafening boredom that must strike engineers behind the latest smartphones, I would like to clarify a detail. People behind smartphone operating systems are in a good place. Voice assistants become more intelligent and natural, battery saving functions become popular, and every new update improvement of the quality of life that makes your life easier
The material on the hand, is about the same as it has been for years. The screen is more beautiful than your eye is able to see. The battery does not really last as long as you like. The fingerprint sensor is convenient. The camera is good enough that you no longer need a point-and-shoot. Oh, and no matter how much you have, you always want to have more storage space.
If this last paragraph describes you, congratulations, you have virtually any high-end phone made in the past three years. They have not changed much and that is a good thing . When you spend $ 600 + on a smartphone, it should last longer than the AC air filter you forget to change. The years when you had to give up a mortgage payment to get a new job needed were profitable for companies that were making phones but stressful for the rest of us.
Now things have been softened. The phones have improved in the areas that mattered most to us – the display, the camera, the processing power – to the point that they are usually pretty good. A magical breakthrough ] finally puts it on the market.
So, we are sitting in limbo. The phones are pretty good, or at least as good as we can expect given current technology. Software updates bring most of the new features interesting and there is no real reason to buy a new phone every two years unless it no longer works. Heck, there are not even many reasons to buy the most expensive version of a new phone. What is a manufacturer to do?
When manufacturers are bored, they start to break
The reason our phones were so good in the first place is due to the arms race. Since the first iPhone, there has been a new arms race every two years around an aspect of the device. For a while, it was the pixel density, which led to additional crisp displays . The arms race of the camera led to your smartphone surpassing most non-SLR cameras. And of course the race to make the phone slimmer led to Bendgate one of the most controversial technological controversies. Most of these arms races started with a necessary improvement and then disappeared once people stopped worrying about imperceptible improvements every new phone offered. Currently we have a new arms race: the elimination of glasses.
. Well, except for that immediately recognizable nick. The new Pixel 2 XL from Google has minimal bezels up and down and even the Essential Phone, created by the former Googler and Android creator Andy Rubin, has a display almost without bezel . Almost, except for an even more ugly nick of the screen for the camera.
If this change existed in a vacuum, it would be nice, but that is not the case. In the race to get rid of glasses, we had to give up a few things. The headphone jack, to begin with, does not fit into a world without a telescope . The home button of the iPhone X is also gone, so I hope you prefer to use your face to unlock your phone instead of your fingerprint. Of course, with a small bezel on the bottom, you might have both options, but then there would be a small part of the phone that is not a screen and who can live like that?
It is disconcerting that a world without a scope is synonymous with loss of real estate. In the official Apple guidelines for the iPhone X, the company warns against placing controls at the bottom of the screen . Current iPhone users may notice that this is where most applications place their commands. The reason, explains the guide, is that the "distant corners of the screen can be difficult places for people to comfortably reach".
None of this means that a phone with a minimum of glasses is intrinsically bad. There was a way to create a phone without glasses without sacrificing other features, then super. However, manufacturers continue to follow this path with little explanation. What exactly is the merit of having a smartphone without glasses? What does it offer on a similar phone that has glasses?
Neither Apple nor Google have a good answer to this question. Both companies have launched two new phones this year, but only one device per company actually provides minimal eyeglasses. For those who do not want to spend $ 1,000 to eliminate the bezel, the iPhone 8 still exists for Apple users. The standard Google Pixel 2 has a normal screen, while the Pixel XL, which costs $ 200 more for a comparable model, is the only version that pushes the screen closer to the edge. In both cases, you have to pay a premium and accept an even bigger phone in order to play in the "futuristic" world without glasses. In short, neither company believes sufficiently in this direction to fully commit itself. Just enough to start getting out of the important features.
Buy what you like and ignore the hype
Of course, the brutally rapid progress of progress will continue and the inevitable characteristics that we will like will be lost. The floppy disk, the CD player and the headphone jack are all directed to the same trash, whether we like the moment of their disappearance or not. However, the current hardware lull speeds up the functionality we need or love in favor of changes that do nothing more than make marketers happy.
This does not mean that nothing interesting happens in the world of smartphone hardware. ), the wireless charge becomes common not common enough for Google, apparently), and elsewhere do you know your phone is probably a crazy 4K video camera, is not it?
Yet, this is not enough. As much as the technology industry experts and observers hate to admit, most of these things are not important for most people who buy smartphones. As long as the exciting things happen on the software side, it will be more and more difficult to sell new hardware. Smart phones will soon reach the point where laptops already have: a wide variety of essentially comparable devices that are virtually interchangeable with each other, with only slight differences that meet certain preferences. This is a boring place for smartphone manufacturers, especially when they are used to being the focus of attention.
The longer they stay in this place, the more you can expect them to fight on areas of increasingly inept refinement. At least until someone finds out how to make a battery that lasts a week. In the meantime, it is probably prudent to stop paying attention to new big phones every year. If your phone does not work properly, upgrade. If it works well, keep it as long as you can. A new software update will likely give you more exciting new features than a new handset.