Where Do Smartphones Go From Here? [We Ask You]

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Smartphones are rapidly changing the world, bringing the once-humble mobile phone kicking and screaming into the 21st century. While feature phones (as the mobiles of old are now named) were great for opening up new lines of communication, smartphones go way beyond that. The simple connection to the Internet they offer means a wealth of new features and opportunities have been opened up to us as we go about our daily lives.

It’s not all positive, as smartphones can adversely affect the quality of face-to-face meetings, especially if one or more of the parties involved suffers from smartphone addiction. But for most of us a smartphone is a welcome addition to our collection of gadgets, and one which is capable of replacing several others.

The problem, and it’s a nice problem to have, is that smartphones have come of age of late, having improved by a huge margin over the last few years. So much so that it’s sometimes hard to determine how they can actually get any better. The recent incremental updates offered by Apple and others suggest that even the manufacturers have run out of ideas. Which is where you, the MakeUseOf readership, comes in.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, Where Do Smartphones Go From Here? You can interpret this question in whichever way you see fit. You could, for example, express your views on which direction the industry will head. Or you could refer to specific manufacturers such as Samsung, HTC, or Nokia. Then there are the operating systems, the main three of which are iOS, Android, and Windows Phone. Will one rise to the top? Or is there room for all three?

You could instead concentrate on features you’d like to see added to the hardware. Would you like to see screens grow or shrink in size? Are phablets going to be a trend or a mere blip? Is there a need for smartphones to get faster and more powerful or are the current beasts enough for the tasks we ask them to perform on a daily basis?

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Would you like to see innovation in the space continue, or do you think it’s time we took stock and tried to focus on improving the user experience? In last week’s We Ask You several people mentioned an increased smartphone battery life as being their tech-related hope for 2013. Should improving battery life be the main focus of attention for the foreseeable future?

Having previously looked at mobile phones of the past, it’s now time to look at those of the future.

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Jacob Botter

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Comments (24)
  • Andrew

    Unfortunately development of smart phones is run by the private sector – they want money not good hardware and software.
    Battery life: Its not going to get better – they like selling batteries + they like people wanting to spend more to get a phone with better ‘running time’.
    Software/O/S
    The information and ability to choose an O/S for any particualr phone is largely discouraged by the industry. They will lock you in as much as they can to software like Apple itunes does.

    Price – smart phones must cost less than $100 to manufacture
    why do they sell for $1000

    I sure hope a counter open source market opens – phones with a hardware standard – so that you can pick from a number of o/s to put on.
    My answer to where to next – random circular moves making money.

    • You are stupid

      Wow, what an uninformed comment. Smartphones do NOT cost only $100 to build. Google it – iPhones cost several hundred dollars (forgot exact amount) to construct, as does any modern smartphone.
      I think you’re missing the fact that it’s not just materials that go into a product. Research departments, Engineering departments, and any other employees all have to be paid for their time to make that miracle of technology, which you take for granted, come to life.
      Perhaps one of the most important aspects of producing cutting-edge tech like this is cost of development as a whole. Cramming cpus, gpus, RAM, cameras, etc into tiny packages (and cooling it all) isn’t easy. It takes extremely talented people to make the latest and greatest. They tend to charge for their efforts….

      Also, I don’t think a single cell phone I’ve heard of has gone for $1000. The iPhone, known to be expensive, goes for ~ $700 (I believe) for the top model.
      In addition, the reason

      Learn something or get the hell off the internet.

    • You are stupid

      * (fixed)

      … the reason a product costs more in the store than what they produced it for is because companies need to make PROFIT. Why? To appease stockholders, to be able to live their own lives off their pay, and to make new products that you can stupidly complain about.

  • ukdirector

    With Apple & Microsoft both looking to get every last drip of money they can out of there OS’s with their App stores and patents, the people will eventually say no more and the majority will be found using Linux / Android because it will eventually win out with Smartphone’s / Tablets / Desktop OS’s!

  • Lisa Santika Onggrid

    Aside of being bulkier and stop being ‘mobile’? Seriously, not much more or they should rebrand it into ‘mini computer’. If you ask me how much a phone can be expanded, I’d say we’ve reached the limit. It’s now so bloated and no longer just a phone. For better or worse, phablets would become increasingly common in the future. and with alternatives to charge on the go, you’ll be carrying full-fledged computer in your pocket.
    Do we actually need it to be that fast? Do we actually need a machine capable of doing anything a laptop can do? I don’t think so. Even if it’s capable, many things are more comfortable done with bigger screen (and other environment factor). I think with the rising amount of apps available for phones of all OSes and platforms, I can already do anything I want my phone to do. We, the all-curious all-demanding humans decide to push it even further. Take a look around at app store of your favorite mobile OS. Some apps are so niche I can’t believe someone actually made such things.
    Moving on to OS war, I think Android will catch on iOS soon. As ‘innovative’ Apple is said to be, as I pointed earlier, we’re already scretching everything from a phone. In a long run Android’s more open system would enable users personalize it to suit their needs and expanding the OS. With Ubuntu now trying to make an entrance to mobile OS ground, things are getting more interesting.
    Currently makers like Nokia, Samsung, and Apple are facing what game console makers used to face. It doesn’t matter anymore who make the hardware. It’s the software that counts. We used to be tied to manufacturers because they dictate every feature in the phone (back before smartphone and J2ME), but now we can choose what to use and install by ourselves. Perhaps, as unlikely it might sound, one day we would assemble our own phones just like we build our own PCs.

  • Nick Patel

    We need to advance Battery Power, Micro processing and Nano Technology. After we expand on these 3 sectors we can also improve in many other places and areas of technology. Review Nokia’s Morph Project, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX-gTobCJHs, This will show what we are/should be moving forward to achieve so we can advance so many other things.

  • Scott Macmillan

    I’m just looking for faster speeds and don’t require much else.

    • ReadandShare

      Not even fewer dropped calls? :)

    • Scott Macmillan

      I don’t really have any problem with dropped calls.My carrier is Rogers Cable and it works well for me.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.