Pretty soon phones are just going to be… things

Imagine if you will that dropping your phone down a well and losing it forever was about as traumatic as a spilled cup of lukewarm coffee outdoors in a yard instead being a huge waste of time, money, and effort.

tl;dr – I believe we’re in the last days of anything new or defining in the phone arena. I’m ready to sell out.

I write this on a slow tech news year. Maybe the third in a row now. I’ve been thinking about all the Android and tech blogs out there and their race to sustain hype and traffic when there’s really nothing new. Or at least nothing new to the average consumer.

There’re tons of phones being released with basically the same specs. Samsung’s got a slightly better camera, Google’s claiming a slightly better processor for AI and security, iPhone’s being iPhone and has made yet another phone that’s slightly a different size so you need a new case. Cue BNL’s it’s all been done.

Everyone’s got wireless charging, a standard plug, claims all day battery life, 5G that’s capable of speeds generally far greater than the phone needs unless it’s being repurposed into a WiFi gateway for a 20+ person office (carrier will vary, but we’re passing 1gbit speed capabilities now on average phones. No, I said carrier will vary, this is about phones not your crappy service).

Increasingly there are cloud backups of everything. They’re just a pain at the moment to reconfigure accounts and lost data. That’s mostly on the app developer’s side however.

Now apps just don’t have to be installed, or at least not fully. Data syncs. Install on demand. The limitations of a phone-specific storage location are increasingly being removed by install on demand.

So what’s going to make a phone special and unique going forward? Probably not a whole lot. All the sensors most people need are in all phones at this point (gps, hall, etc etc etc) and antenna technology has probably peaked. Screen displays are so good pixel snobs like me are happy. The only enhancements going forward are price and software.

I imagine dropping that phone down a well, then going to grab a replacement at the local Circle K, and upon getting it I just sign in with my username/password, it connects to the last carrier I was with and verifies whatever they need verified, and there’s my phone. All apps and data there, home screen like the one I dropped in the well, and move on.

I suspect size will probably be the only choice you’ve got to make in the future unless you’re needing something specific. I sort of suspect that’s the case now for a large large percentage of owners.

I see a world in which blogs will only report on phone specs and upcoming rumors because they’re getting kickbacks and payola to do so… oh wait…

It would be nice if I didn’t see this. I used to really like the progression of phones. The HTC EVO was amazing, I loved watching the EVO evolve, even if it was an exclusive to America’s Worst Network at the time. Now progress is glacial. Slow. You could have a 30 gigapixel camera on your phone now that could zoom in to a flea’s butthole at half a mile and it’s still not going to be earth shattering. Just an “oh, that’s neat.”

We’ve got accurate green light blood pressure readers coming. That’s a thing. Maybe SpO2 sensors will come back to phones and do this as well. But yeah. Phones are just a square piece of hardware that you access your stuff through and pretty soon the idea of any of them being different other than shape and battery life is going to be quirky.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts