The evolution of the smartphone since Apple’s launch of the iPhone in 2007 has been truly phenomenal. The revolutionary new product combined a music player, internet device and phone into one unit and it helped lay the groundwork for a mobile revolution.
The first phones to carry Google’s new Android operating system arrived the following year, and since then the two companies have been locked in competition for smartphone dominance. And though tech brands like Microsoft have also sought to gain a market share, it’s mainly been a two-horse race.
The big distinction between iPhone and Android is that while Apple’s OS is carried only on devices manufactured by them, Google’s software is carried by a huge range of hardware brands, meaning that users can access their apps from cheap and expensive devices alike.
This competition has stimulated innovation and helped drive the industry forward, with both brands eager to steal a march on their rival. But in this article, we will focus on some of the other factors that are pushing things forward in the smartphone sector.
As we have mentioned, the only way to use Apple’s iOS is by purchasing an iPhone, but Google’s business model is totally different, and its relationship with manufacturers has helped drive overall innovation.
Brands like Samsung have a major stake in the technology sector, producing everything from televisions to microwaves. But the South Korean firm is becoming increasingly invested in the smartphone arena, with its Galaxy line of devices positioned as a direct rival to the iPhone.
Samsung’s desire to win a greater market share has helped drive innovation and shaped the development of Android operating systems. As hardware has levelled-up, so too has the software, with Samsung also being able to create bespoke distributions of Android to suit its phones.
Sony and LG are two other prominent examples of phone manufacturers with a stake in the broader tech landscape, and they too are helping to dictate the pace and direction of change.
— T3.com (@T3dotcom) August 1, 2020
Apps and their users
The rise of the smartphone has unleashed the potential for many of our favorite games and pastimes to be recreated on the small screen. Big gaming titles like FIFA and Minecraft have been adapted for play on Android devices, while many lucrative brands, such as Angry Birds, were created specifically to be played on phones.
A major difference between console and smartphone games is that the graphics and gameplay are generally scaled down to work more effectively on handhelds. And it’s the same with casino games, with favorites like blackjack and poker proving hugely popular with players after being adapted for the smaller screen.
The changes mean the games become quicker and more ‘instant’, which is the main difference of a bricks vs online casinos, so scaling down shouldn’t necessarily be dismissed as a disadvantage. And, given the volume of available apps and games on the marketplace, it’s certainly the case that apps are having an impact on innovation, as users seek instant entertainment while on the move.
— TechRadar (@techradar) September 25, 2019
The way we pay for goods and services is also driving innovation in the world of the smartphone. As phones become more and more indispensable, demand for technology such as near-field communication (NFC) is heightening.
Due to the success of the function and consumers’ trust in the ability to make purchases using their phones, more and more manufacturers are seeing NFC as a prerequisite in the development of new models.
Throughout all of this discussion, the common denominator is the consumer. And it is certainly no exaggeration to say that it is the end user who has the biggest say on the future direction of smartphone innovation.
And while the latest gimmick may have the critics raving, it’s the humble public who’ll decide whether it’s truly a success or a failure.
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