Are we reaching Peak Smartphone?

As someone who was born in the 2000s, I was one of the few lucky people who witnessed the birth, and the exponential rise in both the development and popularity of the now-most popular gadget on the planet — Smartphones.

Though the iPhone revolutionized the concept of having a touch-compatible easy-to-use cellular mobile phone and popularized it among the masses, few people know that the first gadget that can be technically called a ‘smartphone’ was created by IBM, called the IBM Simon. Yes, the same Goliath that the underdog David-Esque Apple went against in the personal computer business back in the 1980s. The introduction of the mobile phone which was also ‘smart’ — in a way it helps people beyond being just a tool for communication, sparked the interest of both the public and also corporates around the world to get a piece of the action. This saw a rise in the no. of competitors in the smartphone market with few succeeding to become popular like BlackBerry, LG, and Apple in the 2000s.

From then on, with the advent of technology, years of research and development, and the ease of accessibility to the internet have made the smartphone evolved from being one of the devices that people use in their day-to-day lives to become almost the only device they need, being an all-in-one package of packaging in an MP3 player, Media player, Internet surfer, Calculator, Cellular mobile device, Camera and whatnot into a single handheld gadget. We are now talking about 120 Hz buttery-smooth refresh rate in our LED displays, with cameras that rival DSLRs, and also serve entertainment and informational purposes by enabling us to watch, read or click through anything in the world of the internet within the touch of our fingertips, anywhere, anytime with the rise of the cellular network.

But after a point of time, we can see that the continuously evolving phase of the smartphone world had slowed down, a lot. Phones coming out every year have been seen to have just a few tweaks and upgrades to their previous year's counterparts like increased clockwork speeds, a slightly better battery life, a small increase in performance, etc. This doesn’t include enthusiast-level phones which companies experiment with, and sometimes find success, in and other concept phones which try to be the “next big thing” in the smartphone world. We’re strictly talking about the mainstream market for the general public. This led to the coining of a new term for this phenomenon, or the lack thereof, called “Peak Smartphone”.

“Peak Smartphone” refers to the point of time where smartphones have reached their maximum level of new things to include or incorporate and any more developments to the smartphone would just be minor upgrades and tweaks. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it actually indicates that we have covered so much ground from the start of the smartphone era and now we can focus on improving the already existing features, software, and hardware components that we have included so far, thereby improving the user experience and longevity of its use in the consumer’s hands.

I’ve read articles by The Verge and also saw an excellent video by Marques Brownlee, aka MKBHD on YouTube (I’ll paste the link below for reference) that clearly discusses this topic and I give credit to them for providing insights and opinions that I’ve included in this article. In conclusion, I would say the answer to the question asked above “Are we reaching Peak Smartphone” is a tough one to just say yes or no to, and while we’re definitely reaching the point of peakness, it’s not anytime soon and smartphones would definitely continue to upgrade and get better as years go by, and every small change we see in the consecutive years would accumulate to become a big one across the span of 5 to 10 years.

Links:

MKBHD Peak Smartphone video :

MKBHD : Are we at Peak Smartphone?

The Verge’s take on the plateauing of smartphone upgrades:

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