There is one thing guaranteed to happen to most people and that is boredom created by over-familiarity. In the case of smartphones that is not quite the case, but it is a kind of lethargy that is perhaps the biggest threat of all to the industry.
I can only judge such things on my experiences and those I know well, but at some point smartphones became normal and the excitement started to drift for many of us who were there at the start. While it is true that millions of people are in the ‘excitement phase’ at this time, it is also true that at some point they may join those who have already owned +10 phones.
Unavoidably phone evolution is slowing down and we are left with nibbling around the edges when it comes to innovation, or rather taking the edges away and just leaving us with a screen that does everything we need. At the risk of sounding like a complete pessimist I’m just not seeing where the next big leap can come from.
Evolutionary steps are fine by me, however, because I have reached the happy place where my phone does what I need it to and I really could not care less if it has a very fast processor, a wonderful camera or an edge to edge screen. As long as I can organise my life, get around, play music and catch the news what else do I really need my phone to do?
The smartphone is more important to me than ever. It is also more familiar and invisible than ever, but exciting it is not. Potentially this causes a problem for the industry because it means that people like me are less likely to spend big on a new phone and are more likely to upgrade less frequently.
The industry will adjust of course, but it feels as though something big is needed within the next 12 months or so to stop the financial and volume charts dropping like a stone.