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Is the world bored of smartphones, or just bored of iPhones?

Is the world bored of smartphones, or just bored of iPhones?

Following a drop in share price amid reports of a decline in iPhone sales, Apple reported its 2016 financial first quarter earnings (a quarter which ended in December 2015) on January 26. The Cupertino firm confirmed that iPhone sales are essentially flat, and set to fall later this year, and as a result the question has arisen – have smartphones become boring?

apple iphone 6 siri
Hey Siri...am I boring? / © AndroidPIT

CNET is calling the malaise “iPhone fatigue”, writing that “iPhones - heck, phones in general - don't rev you up like they used to”, while in the UK the BBC asks: “Is the mighty iPhone in decline?”

It’s easy to see why doubts are being expressed. We haven’t seen the fevered excitement around recent iPhone launches that we saw back when previous generations were announced, and the past couple of iterations of the iPhone have brought incremental, not revolutionary, improvements. Innovation has slowed, and so it’s unsurprising that iPhone weariness may be setting in.

In the world of flagship Androids, things aren’t much brighter. Samsung slapped a curved edge on a Galaxy S6 variant and announced it at MWC 2015, Sony stuck a 4K resolution screen in its Xperia Z5 Premium and launched it later in the year at IFA 2015, and HTC…well, HTC made a couple of minor upgrades to the M8 and launched it as the resultantly familiar HTC M9.

Have we reached a pinnacle in smartphone development?

These are all undeniably great phones, but at their core they’re just slightly better versions of their predecessors. So have we reached a pinnacle in smartphone development?

No. Anyone who says we have is not looking in the right places. The iPhone may have lost its shine and Samsung, Sony and HTC may be settling for minor upgrades, but look elsewhere in the world of Android, and there’s a whole lot of creativity going on.

At the premium end of the market, the Android-powered BlackBerry Priv is a beautiful phone that revives the hardware keyboard and may just save the company from extinction. As Shu On Kwok writes in our BlackBerry Priv review: "The Priv has breathed new life into the dusty Android smartphone market".

androidpit BlackBerry Priv 9
Now there's something we didn't expect to see on an Android phone again / © ANDROIDPIT

And as we reported back in March 2015, Fujitsu – not a brand you’d immediately associate with smartphones – developed iris recognition technology for phones so you can quickly unlock your handset just by looking at it. It’s really cool and we wish Fujitsu would license the tech to other phone manufacturers so we can start using it.

Nextbit is thinking different, too, with its Robin phone which, thanks to the way it moves your data to the cloud, means your phone will never run out of storage.

The price is nice

Then there are the manufacturers that are revolutionizing pricing. For the average smartphone user, there’s really no need to spend more than US$400 on a phone any more. The metal-housed Honor 7 is a feature-packed budget wonder, coming in at that US$400 sweet spot.

Not content with that, Honor recently went cheaper and bigger with the Honor 5X, which will sell for just US$200. That’s a steal.

Xiaomi is already making those Honor handsets look overpriced, though. It’s just announced the Redmi 3, a metallic-bodied, solid spec’d handset which will retail for just over US$100. That means you could buy six Redmi 3 phones for less than the price of just one 16 GB iPhone 6S. Now that’s innovation.

Do you think smartphones have become boring? Let us know in the comments section.

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  • Android will always be more exciting than iphone simply because there are thousands of manufacturers and there will always be some Android OEM who will try something new and interesting. Given Apple corporate culture of tight locked, top down control mentality, there is not much room for innovation here any more. Not only that, Apple only produce 2 or 3 handsets per year or two, where as Android OEMs produce hundreds per year. I am always hoping that some android manufacturers will produce outstanding handset with very large slide out keyboard and many custom programmable keys! I really miss those from old winmobile days before iphone was launched in 2007

  • Mark
    • Admin
    Jan 29, 2016 Link to comment

    There will always be a market for the latest high tech gadget or phone. People want the latest and greatest so they can show it off. It is just human nature.

  • when smartphone companys realize that NOT everybody can pay even $200 for a phone they will make more bring the price down. you see there's to many companies out there to have to go high end for a phone !

  • iPhones are useless and worthless. Honestly? I'm surprised people didn't give up on apple long ago. Soon nobody will want to buy a phone more than 300$.

    • I guess the price is one of its main features. For the majority an iphone probably serves more as an status symbol than as an actual phone.

      • Maybe this is true in China, where iphone is more than two months salary for office worker. But in US, iphone is everywhere. On my daily commute on train, I am surrounded by iphone users, who are neither rich or look to be status seeking. I think people bought iphone because Apple branding and due to "low" 2 year contract pricing. Now the 2 year contracts have disappeared, they may take a second look at cheap but nice Android handset.

      • 'neither rich nor status seeking'
        What do you think, how many of these 'average' people would dare NOT to buy an iPhone? How would it look like when you don't even have an iPhone (even if they're so affordable and EVERYONE has them..) ? ;)

    • For you maybe. I use a Galaxy S4 myself, but it needs so much more attention compared to a iPhone. I like to play with CM ROM's and tweet the phone to my needs. But som people just want their phone to work. And then a iPhone is the choice to make.

  • I know a few people that are so Arrogant because they own an iPhone . Get real people, owning an iphone now is like owning a Blackberry. They will never be what they were. Now they are boring, not very many apps and they are not exciting. You can't make a Turd pretty, you can paint it, make it bigger and put purfume on it, but it is what it is.

  • Recently, a good friend presented me with a Samsung Galaxy 6 Android, and I was delighted. But I did have to download the Manual from the Internet ( 140 pages!) and study it with total concentration, before I gathered the courage to really further explore its great possibilities. A dentist friend of mine did ask, in frustration, whether one has to have an IQ of over 160 to correctly understand and use these newfangled communication devices! I did get rid of my Blackberry, as those tiny keys were very frustrating when I used it. But I am still a faithful user of my Nokia phone, which I purchased 6 years ago. It's such a handy phone, wonderful to have around. Why aren't there more people-friendly phones on the market where tyro users can easily understand them, and BEFRIEND them? Many elderly people I know look upon Androids with suspicion, and yes --- even fear!!
    Warm greetings from an Android user in Bogor, Indonesia!!!

  • These days each upgrade is not hugely better. My nexus 7 tablet 2nd edition 2013 for example can run pretty much every app on the play store and runs them well. Because its less powerful you easily get 6 hours screen on time. Likewise my 2015 Sony z3 compact isn't exactly struggling. The more powerful z5 replacement has worse battery life due to the extra power. 4k screens also not necessary on phones. All that does is eat battery life. Until batteries catch up buying higher powered stuff with higher resolution screens makes no real sense. Already ran fine, now perhaps even better but at expense of battery life.

  • I got a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 two weeks ago. Brilliant phone, beautiful to look at with a pale gold aluminium case. Fingerprint recognition that really works in 0.3 secs. The cost for 32meg, 4G? $214 no shipping costs. Arrived in 2 days from GearBest. The problem with iPhone is that the competition is catching up with the features without the eye watering price tag.

  • Mark
    • Admin
    Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

    I phones have always been popular because they where the "Cool" phone to own. They never have had the build quality or specs of the top androids. The "Cool" phone effect does not last forever and with some of the new designs we are seeing Apple is starting to loose that spot. Phones like PC's have gotten to a point where they are so advanced you no longer have to get a new one every two years to run the latest apps or programs. My S3 getting close to 4 years old now still does a good job only the latest games won't run well. I will buy a new phone this year and it will be my phone for the next 4 to 5 years. That is why I insist on having a removable battery and Miro SD, batteries just don't last that long.

  • iPhone was and will be always the most boring of them all,it will remain a crappy device,as phone is gr8,but for the rest....it's a huge crap,they should remain with that device just as phone,they should leave everything else for those who really understand what ppl need and want from a device,something the iPhone lost from very long time,they remaind with the same stupid idea like very old ppl that they r stuck with what they know and nothing can change their minds,for that,in a future,iPhone will disapear from the market for that simple reason,pfff

  • I don't think that they have become boring just reach a bit of a development plateau. I don't expect anything really innovative until we see smartphones like the ones on the TV program The Expanse.

  • iPhones are over-priced, not very smart, protective and with crap customer service. Anything bought on line (credit) is hiked up and Android / Google is a far better, more flexible and less expensive option in all areas. THAT's why!!

  • Yes indeed, pocket computers (ALSO KNOWN AS SMARTPHONES) are no longer fresh and exciting! Show me one with genuine week long battery life, or a new system of GSM that works worldwide without charging the earth or requiring switching SIM's and I'll be interested. I couldn't wait to buy my HTC Dream, then the "Magic". But now I'll keep my Zenphone 2 going as long as it works. I'm going backwards. Just bought my second eReader and spend my time reading books.. Not so boring!

  • Excellent article!

  • Misha Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

    Interest will eventually wane. This time period will be looked upon as the go-go years of the technology. Each generation of smartphones brought significant capabilities to the market. New apps were flooding our phones. New capabilities were being refined and improved. Now? We are seeing upgrades to screen resolutions that most people can't discern. And unless you are a heavy game user, the newer processors and associated speeds won't be noticed. The manufacturers have upsized their phones to the point that any other increases will make them into tablets.

    That's a long way of saying we are rapidly approaching the law of diminishing returns in the smartphone arena. This year's new iPhone may be nice, but is it really a reason to trade in your 6S? Probably not. If I have a 4K display on a 5 inch phone, will it really matter in practical terms? We saw this with PCs and even Windows upgrades. The digital camera industry is going through a similar challenge - the technology is rapidly outpacing most people's ability or need to use it. Many of these digital technologies continue to make rapid advances, but I suspect the percentage of features/capabilities used regularly by the masses continues to dwindle. The advertising pitch for smartphones is rapidly becoming, "Trade in your old smartphone from last year, whose features you barely used, to upgrade to a brand new XYZ phone, so you can make even less use of its new features and capabilities, which you will also barely notice."

    Most people would benefit by turning their smartphones off for a while, talking with their friends and family, taking a walk in the woods, or taking up a hobby rather than staring at their screens to get the latest lame facebook update from someone they barely know or care about, or follow the tweet of a celebrity who has no role in their life. Oh - and ignoring the myriad of rumors regarding future technology announcements.

    Of course, AndroidPit and many other such sites rely on us focusing significant amounts of our attention on the minutia of the smartphone industry. Thus I don't expect them to help lead the charge for people to care less regarding future smartphone upgrades anytime soon.

  • I bought a Nexus 4 a few years ago. It was exciting for the first few months. Then, gradually I lost interest. Most of the time now I carry around a dirt cheap Samsung flip phone and only use the Nexus when I want to take snapshots. The flip phone is much more convenient and easy to carry around. Each to their own...
    BTW, I don't do text messages.

  • "And as we reported back in March 2015, Fujitsu – not a brand you’d immediately associate with smartphones – developed iris recognition technology for phones so you can quickly unlock your handset just by looking at it. It’s really cool and we wish Fujitsu would license the tech to other phone manufacturers so we can start using it."

    It is already available dude. Check the Lumia 950 or 950 xl.

    • I don't think Microsoft is going to license its iris scanning tech for use in Android handsets, somehow, so we're still waiting on Fujitsu for that. :)

  • All I need is a very good cheap phones like the ones made by Xiaomi.

  • I think a lot of smartphone users are happy with their current phone. They need to upgrade is not so strong a issue. My S5 should be ok for another year or two maybe more. Now with the advent of decent cheap Chinese devices a lot of people are likely to say hmm get totally ripped off buying a IPhone or get a decent priced decent built phone.

    Though a lot of people are still stupid to iPhone fever...

    • i would buy a cheap chineese phone anytime be4 buying an iPhone or a dam samsung,if u even looked at the chineese specs on their phone ...will make ur dam samsung s5 look like a simple stupid toy for kids

  • As far as my knowledge and experience is concerned, I think neither iPhone nor Android is bad or outdated. It’s the matter of new technology or features. Smartphone market is having huge turnover every year, as tech is innovated almost every day. Currently, I am using iPhone 6S and happily satisfied.

    • iPhone it is bad and the most outdated on the market,,don't ever compare an android device with an iPhone,iPhone inside is pretty much the same as it started,the android phone on the other hand,it's a tech far far far far away of that iPhone and as long as they will stay on this track,or will dissapear or will just make phone for a short bunch of costumers ,pfff

  • Not so much bored, but total saturation. Everyone and their dog has a smart phone. There is 6 in our house and there is only my wife and myself. As someone here said, a bit of shine and we buy it. I don't sell my old phones, just use as alarm clocks or in the case of my two S3 Galaxies, practice rooting and installing different roms. They both have Marshmallow 6.0.1 Resurrection Remix roms on them.

  • Well i think smartphone market would never stuck cuz we gonna still buy anything that they gonna gave us even if it the same thing over and over cuz its just our nature to try to own all the new shinny stuff but at least android its giving a little bit more of choice on brands software .. so we dont have to look all the same whit the same phone doing the same things thats really boring

  • Frank Jan 27, 2016 Link to comment

    At the end of the day it's still just a slab of metal/glass/plastic that hasn't changed much lately. The Priv's keyboard is still just a keyboard. The Robin will have cloud storage (although automated), but it's still cloud storage. Cheap high end phones, or mid priced phones being specked closer to high end isn't innovation - that happens when tech gets stale and there isn't much advancement.
    I read that Samsung is selling Apple a foldable AMOLED display for their 7S. (I can see it now: Samsung sells screen to Apple; Apple uses screen; one year later Samsung sells phone with foldable screen; Apple sues Samsung for patent infringement). Now that would be on the road to real tech advancement. Can you imagine a quad-fold phone that fits in your shirt pocket yet opens to an 8" display?
    Something like that that not only the tech nerds, but also the general public could sink their teeth in.

  • neither iphone nor android is bad.....it is matter of taste....some want freedom that android provide some want status symbal that iphone provide........countries like india iphone is symbol of fashion they just buy it to show off.......iphone is hard to manage if want video n music u need laptop to get them in.....iphone outs a lots of restiction on users same time iphone realease just one or two phone so looks are same....while in android u have many option different looks diff spects........android means for freedok n iphone means for fashion.......

  • 74.8 mln sold phones. Apparently people aren't bored with iPhone yet:) I love this kind of bulls... iPhone is over, Apple is lost and yet they still manage to beat last year's record. AndroidPITTY.

  • storm Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

    They hype machine for any product is annoying. Apple sells a lot of hype. Sadly, Samsung and One Plus and to lesser degrees, HTC and others have fallen for it themselves. Hype quickly reaches toxic levels and poisons your customers.

  • yes and there is this gionee marathon very good and cheap..its time we stop wasting our hard earn money on frevolities

  • I have a friend that's into everything Apple. When I visit him, he likes to "explore" my LG G3 and asks a lot of questions about Android OS. And he knows that iPhones are limited in functionality compared to Android devices. So why won't he get an Android phone? Because he says that iPhones are "fashionable" and just because it's Apple. Talk about being "prideful". He has limited himself to that way of thinking. He knows he's missing out. You have the freedom to choose, don't let anyone do it for you.

    • hahaha hahaha,i can't stop laughing,u made my day,to have a phone coz is fashionable ? LMAO,that is gr8,hahahaha,jeez,when ppl start being stupid and start thinking for themselfs ? i won't pay a dam cent for a fashion,ever,i will pay for a phone for all it can offer me and in that has to have many options,iPhone...huh ? options ? what r those ? huh ? pls speak...on android,well,it's a jungle of options,that is the freedom,lots of choices,not just 1 as is at iphone

  • There is definitely a smartphone "malaise" feeling with the non "tech nerds" of the world. Phones capabilities aren't increasing at the same rate they used to be and you can get a capable phone without shelling out for a flagship. Plus the lifespan of each device seems to be getting just a little bit longer (or people are just willing to use them for longer). Sales will def plateau/decline for each company in the near future and we may see a drastic decrease in the R&D put into the industry.

  • NT7 Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

    The Blackberry Priv keyboard slides downward from the display. Also, the keyboard itself is a touchpad, which can reduce the amount of smudgy fingerprints on the display.

    Although the Priv is not the right phone for me, it is very impressive.

  • Its about time the iPhone sheep started realising that there's better and cheaper phones out there, as for the new blackberries phone with a permanent keyboard and less screen isn't that going backwards 'doubt if that will save the company?

    • The newest one actually doesn't have less screen because it is a slide out keyboard.

    • Peter Harwood -

      Yeah in a way it is going backwards as far as phone design and technology is concerned. But I'm sure there are many people out there that miss having a physical keyboard and will find it useful/preferable. I kinda admire BlackBerry for trying it, whether it's out of desperation or supplying something that they think people want. At the end of the day, as this article is saying, its something different and they aren't just following the modern day conventions, even if that does mean regressing back to a feature that it looked like we'd seen the last of. Not exactly pioneering, but different by today's standards nonetheless

    • With the Priv physical keyboard you are gaining screen. Unlike all our devices. The virtual keyboard takes the screen real estate. The physical keyboard allows you to read or edit the documents better. With the physical keyboard extended you have fun 5.4" display. I think you are confused with the Blackberry passport

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