Following the fortnight that had been the most highly-anticipated on the consumer technology calendar, it is difficult not to share the same “Is that it?” sentiments of analysts and industry critics the world over.
In the wake of Apple’s eventual unveiling of the iPhone 5,Google’s latest mobile tech ambitions coming to light and Microsoft’s Windows 8 roadmap for the rest of 2012 being pushed by the day, actually pinpointing a single significantly breakthrough feature or product is difficult to impossible.
Case in point would be the so-called “game-changing” iPhone 5 which did nothing other than play catch-up with its Android rivals, while the latest “revolution” in Motorola Razr Smartphones delivered little more than a bigger battery.
If you found yourself struggling to respond to the above with anything but a yawn, take cold comfort in knowing you weren’t the only one.
Far from it.
The trouble is, while the mobile technology is known for its extensive periods of little to nothing ground-breaking coming to the table, in this instance it could in fact be the sign of an industry that as a whole is fast becoming stagnant. An ongoing series of entirely predictable and less-than astonishing upgrades is a clear indicator of a market already in its prime, which leaves little room for maneuver with where to go next – at least in terms of hardware.
Instead, as Smartphones become increasingly more homogenized by the day, chances are that the operating systems, content services and general ecosystems that separate said devices will become the most important factors of all.
Cast thoughts back just a few short years and the iPhone was literally the most unique and exciting product ever to hit the cell-phone world in any way, shape or form. Today, actually telling the iPhone apart from its closest Android rivals in terms of power and features is both difficult and futile – what once define the best is now the industry standard.
So, if hardware is no longer to prove the deciding factor in Smartphone sales, it will in turn be the strength of the ecosystems their manufacturers create and their chosen operating systems that hold the greatest significance. This is precisely why you’d expect Apple to already have the bout in the bag, but with Windows Phone 8 on the cards and already strong corporate client-base, Microsoft may be on the verge of creating the mother of all mobile tech industry shake-ups.
If stagnation has set in – which it well and truly seems to have – nothing ticks all the right boxes quite like a truly revolutionary new Smartphone experience that doesn’t promote little more than power and pixels. New and already iconic Windows Phone 8 Smartphones from HTC and Nokia have the kind of pull their Android and iOS cousins simply cannot rival at this stage in the game – the bragging rights and excitement that come with something genuinely new and full of potential.
That being said, iPhone 5-fever proved that the consumer public en-masse at least is still well and truly swept away by the usual standards, so Windows Phone 8 will still need the mother of all pushes by major carriers – whether or not this happens remains to be seen.