2016 Wasn't A Great Year For Smartphones, Why That's a Good Thing

by Matt Mrowicki
January 09, 2017

Smartphones are considered the height of innovation. There have been few more transformative products that have changed the way we interact and communicate in such a short period of time.

In 2017, the world will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of the iPhone - a singularly important product that disrupted entire industries and made Apple the most profitable company in the history of the planet. But for those of us who follow technology carefully and watch for those amazing innovations that push these amazing devices more into the realm of science fiction, the past 12 months were largely routine, a lot of “me too” and more of the same. The design of what a phone should look like seems as set in stone as a “Save” icon, and improvements to functionality and processing power were incremental at best.

Much of this is due to the fact that Apple, Google, Samsung, HTC and the other companies who make the hardware and software that power these amazing gadgets have largely gotten them right. Other than the limitations imposed by battery tech that hasn’t kept pace with silicon tech (and Samsung’s now infamous Note epic fail was largely caused by trying to innovate battery technology further than it was able to go), these small computers pack more power and connectivity than ever. The cameras are amazing (even when shooting video), cellular and wi-fi keeps us connected anywhere, the screens are vivid and large, and the ability to track your health, use all of the apps we care about, and track all aspects of our lives have covered all of the bases for what people want from their phones.

What this means is that the options of good-quality phones at all price points are better than ever before. While techies and the status-conscious may hold onto their iPhones or top flagship Android phones put out by Google or Samsung, the vast majority of people able to buy a great phone at a reasonable price and have all of the same benefits and features of the top-of-the-line models. Kids receiving their first phone for their birthday, seniors who make the leap to stay in touch with the grandchildren and everyone else who just wants a phone that works (without worrying about the technology behind it) all benefit from the marvels that have evolved over the past decade.

Will 2017 be the next great leap forward in mobile phone tech? Google Pixel’s entry is a major push forward for Android. Rumors of Microsoft’s Surface phone continue to persist, and it would be foolish to think that Apple hasn’t been planning a long time for this anniversary. But, for now, celebrate the amazing variety of smartphones available to everyone, and look forward to the innovations of tomorrow.



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