It is time for another phone revolution

The smartphone is dead! The bar form factor reached its peak a while ago and now we have stalled. We need something new, a breakthrough that will usher in a new era for the most popular handheld device in the world. The next big thing is near and I can not wait!

Years ago I read this and it shows how far our technology has gone and how far, yes, we have gone:

“Your cell phone has more computing power than all of NASA in 1969. NASA sent a man to the moon. We’re sending a bird into pigs.”

That’s true, isn ‘t it? Although we get step-by-step speeds and camera lens upgrades every year, the smartphone has remained relatively unchanged. Even the gaming segment, which is often the driver behind the hardware development, seems to be quite comfortable where it is right now (and it also prefers to cater for as many devices as possible rather than take full advantage of the most advanced hardware.).

I remember the good old days when every new year brought us completely different and incredibly advanced phones. My journey began with the Benefon Dragon back in 1999, a brick with a large antenna. It was so cool back then, but it was soon replaced by phones without visible antennas, like the Nokia 3210 and as very small phones as the lovely Nokia 8310.

Flip phones were also pretty cool, with or without antennas. They evolved side by side with the bar phones, and shortly after the bulky Ericsson T10s, we had smaller phones like the Samsung T100 and the small Samsung E630.

So we went from big cool phones to small phones with no visible antennas. From bar phones to clamshells and flip-up / down phones. Swivel phones also became a thing, so we got massive QWERTY keyboards with the first smartphones running on advanced operating systems like Symbian and Windows Mobile.

Phones began to look a lot like Swiss Army Knives – with different form factors, different cameras, detachable modules, solar panel panels, mirrors, secondary screens, pens and more. It was a time when we just could not guess what next year would bring us. Of course we had our guesses and wishes, but each event was full of surprises.

Well, not anymore. It is as if we have accepted the capacitive touch screen as a universally recognized thing, the top of the mobile phone and stopped dreaming. We stopped demanding. And the manufacturers stopped evolving and switched to improving what they already know – speed and camera, and of course shrinking the screen edges.

You and I both know what the next Apple or Samsung event will bring us – no doubt prettier designs, faster chips, better camera, maybe improved charging. And it’s been going on for years already, adjust this, improve it, change nothing.

It is high time we took the next step. Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Motorola are trying to revive the flip / fold phones and that’s fine, but they’re working on what they already have, they just want more of it in their pocket. It’s not innovation, it’s playing it by numbers.

The battery charge has certainly been on its way somewhere, but the battery itself has already been the same for more than a decade – we just split it into parts sometimes for faster recharging.

There are no more transparent phones, no more crazy designs, no lighters on phones, no integrated ovens or vacuum cleaners. Okay, Ulefone might want to try putting some of these on his next phone, so we’ll stop with the crazy ideas.

And it’s not just the producers’ fault, because let’s face it – any detour from the bar pattern will result in massive Twitter shaming, poor sales and eventual death. Do you remember LG? Yes. We’re part of the problem, everyone.

So the first step towards the next big thing is that we want it. We have to realize that the bar form factor as it is has lost its momentum and it is time for a change whatever it is. We need to be open to ideas, start exploring and talking about crazy unthinkable ridiculous ideas, and then we might want to pressure companies to take the next step. And the next one. And the next one.

Of course, we want better batteries that last a week or a month, and phones as thin as a piece of paper. Maybe we wanted a completely flexible or transparent device like something that came from Minority Report. Maybe we need to miniaturize the camera so much that one camera serves the purpose of all 3-4-5 now.

We have wanted to go to the future and we went, but now it seems we are stuck there. The phones are stuck and they need something fresh. Something that will not disappoint Yuri Gagarin if he calls back from his time.

It's time for another telephone revolution

I’m ready for the next smartphone innovation, whether it’s a bar or a flip phone, or maybe something that is not at all a phone as we know it, but an even more radical thing. Who knows? We probably have the technology to achieve the next incredible gadget soon, but first we need to be ready to embrace something new, no matter how crazy it is. And so, instead of crushing this new different thing, we need to encourage its creator to improve it if there is potential in there. Stick to the ugly duckling and feed it until it becomes a swan. And then the smartphone spark turns on again.


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