Mobile innovation

The last two weeks has seen a series of new model announcements from many of the major players in the smartphone market. The overall reaction from the press: a muted “meh”. It seems that the basic form of the smartphone – a 4″ touch screen taking up the bulk of the device, operating system and apps – has matured, and innovation is now an incremental rather than revolutionary thing.

So what will be the next revolution in smartphones? My hunch is that it will be whoever has the bravery to break from the essential design pattern today that is based around having a device with a loudspeaker at one end and a microphone at the other that can be placed on the side of the face to make phone calls. If we acknowledge that smartphones are actually pocket-sized computers that may occasionally be used for voice communications, and as such the basic topography has been modelled around a relatively little-used function, then we could break the “rules” that determine a smartphone to be phone-shaped and sized.

Whilst we’re at it, then mobile operators could start defining price plans that don’t start with bundles of talk minutes and SMS messages and have data as some optional extra…

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