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Is it the end of innovation for smartphones?

It’s the 13th year of the iPhone-led smartphone era. The smartphone has since evolved to serve more than just calling and messaging needs by becoming a camera, an internet device, a gaming machine and a media player. Is there scope for more innovation? Mint takes a look.

Have all smartphones become similar now?

Smartphones these days are rectangular slabs of glass, with touchscreen interfaces. All phones have one or more cameras, microphones, speakers and in-built batteries. They run one of two operating system software and do much more than being just a phone. The experience of using them is defined by software applications (apps), most of which are available on both the operating systems and, hence, all phones. Most of them have a 3,000-6,000 mAh battery, close to a 6-inch AMOLED or IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, fast battery charging, three-four cameras and an octa-core processor.

Why do they have such a huge price range?

On one end of the spectrum is Apple, with its costly iPhones. Its strategy is to create a unique experience and self-reinforcing ecosystem with high data security for the user. The integration of its software, hardware and content drives its positioning. On the other end are players such as Xiaomi and Oppo that offer quality hardware features at affordable prices, using Google’s Android operating system. The battle among Android phones is being fought over battery life, processing power, artificial intelligence (AI) features, facial recognition, number and power of cameras and pixels. That is keeping the price range wide.

Have we reached the peak of smartphone innovation?

There is tremendous work happening in the areas of processing power, security, photography and battery life of smartphones. Further, with smartphones as central devices, several adjacencies in home and car automation, entertainment and fashion are being impacted as are industries such as healthcare and financial services.

Can a smartphone replace other devices?

Take the latest iPhone Pro, for instance. With three high-quality lenses that you can switch seamlessly, the flexibility to shoot photos or record videos is huge. It goes well beyond hardware. AI and machine learning enhance the images beyond the lens capacity. The night mode offered by Pixel and the iPhone are not matched easily by conventional cameras. The smartphone has taken up the roles of stand-alone calculators, scanners, radios and torches. It may gobble up a few more devices or eat into their demand.

Can you justify a 1 lakh phone?

High-end, super premium phones are not for everyone. Some might buy them for the snob status. For many others, such phones might be professional tools that are thus worth the price. Undoubtedly, the smartphone is the most used gadget. The latest smartphones have faster and more powerful processors than popular laptops. Break down the price into the underlying gadgets it replaces in your life/work, and you might find it is value for money.

Srinivasa Addepalli is CEO of a professional skills growth firm.

Graphic: Sarvesh Kumar Sharma/Mint

Source: Livemint