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  • Updated: March 06, 2023

MWC 2023: Smartphone Manufacturers Searching For Eureka Moments Again

MWC 2023: Smartphone Manufacturers Searching For Eureka Mome

In the world of technology that churns out innovation and creativity-driven products, the reality of ups and downs also happens especially when moments of business slowdown and rise up occur intermittently.

Of course, we all know that nothing or nobody stays bowling forever, but, however, after extended periods of innovation and creativity drag, phone makers are desperately searching for yet another Eureka moment to celebrate the latest innovative and creative products and discoveries.

Really, by tech standards, smartphones have had a good run, but the last few years have seen device makers searching for the magic bullet to help the sales slide reverse course.

The arrival of 5G was a nice reprieve, but next-generation telecom standards don’t arrive every year.

It is too early to say with certainty whether the move toward device repairability in the midst of new and proposed legislation will have a meaningful impact, but it was a highlight at this year’s show, which HMD turned into a central thesis.

Regardless of how many people take advantage of the ability to repair their devices at home (or have a third party repair them), it’s another potential pain point for industry growth.

Foldables have seemingly performed many expectations (specifically for Samsung), but not nearly enough to really move the needle.

Phone makers have a refresh problem. For a long time, phone purchases were inexorably tied to carrier plans, putting the devices on a two- or three-year cycle.

Of course, the kinds of financing deals that let you spend less upfront have a way of making you pay in the end.

There does seem to be a looming sense of carriers and manufacturers attempting to return to something similar with a new name.

“I think there’s going to be more of a movement toward models where devices themselves are sold more as a service,” Google’s Sameer Samat was overheard exclaiming last this week.

“I think there’s a lot of innovative work going on in the carrier side to figure out how you buy a device for less up front, you use it and return it after a period of time and you get another device as part of your overall subscription.”

In a world where we don’t own our movies, music, or software, the concept of “hardware as a service” is rapidly emerging as its own path forward.

Like the move from physical albums to Spotify, it has trade-offs. 

Some consumers will no doubt jump at the opportunity to upgrade hardware without a thought, but is not owning your phone the same as not owning a CD or record?

Will these ultimately end up costing us a lot more in the end?

And in a time when most manufacturers are touting percentages of recycled materials, how much more waste will this model create?

There’s also a sense in saying that phone makers effectively painted themselves into a corner.

The yearly one-upmanship ultimately benefited consumers with much better devices.

These days it is hard to find a bad phone for more than $500 — there are also an increasing number of good ones for less than that.

These days, a “budget” device often involves settling for last year’s best chipset.

Better phones last longer, both in terms of durability and futureproofing feature set.

Having a three- or four-year-old phone these days doesn’t mean the same thing it meant three or four years ago.

That is also due, in part, to the fact that innovation has slowed. It has become a battle for inches.

When was the last time you saw a truly revolutionary upgrade from last year’s model?

Do moderately better screens, cameras, or even batteries compel that many people toward impulse purchases?


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