There are approximately 3 billion smartphone users on the planet, and the number will continue to grow. The three largest countries, the US, India, and China have over a hundred million users each. These countries also represent some of the biggest smartphone and tech markets in the world. The US and China, in particular, are fiercely competitive leaders in the tech industry. This includes competing for the lucrative smartphone market on a global scale.
Competition and Innovation
Without getting into the finer details of economics, competition is something that benefits the end consumer. A single large producer with a monopoly over the market is less likely to put continuous effort into improving a successful product or service. However, multiple manufacturers constantly try to get ahead, using product differentiation and branding as key tools. This means cheaper and better products or services for the end consumer. Some of the world’s most innovative technology is the direct result of this competition, including popular modern-day internet plans.
Today, flexible screens are another example. But are they really a good idea?
What Value Do Flexible Screens Offer?
People often make the mistake of thinking a new type of technology will continue in a linear trajectory. But the fact is technological innovation is more a process of trial and error. Of course, significant expenditures on research and development plays a huge part. But as humans, we tend to often get ahead of ourselves. Some tech may sound like it is a good idea at the time, and manufacturers will obviously do their best to market it, just like from Spectrum TV packages. But as the plasma TV can tell you, just because an idea is new, it may not always pan out in the long run.
Flexible screens are a very great idea on the face of it. But its practical utility isn’t very extensive. You have a screen that bends. Great! But does it offer any improved functionality? Does it make the smartphone easier to use? Does it add to your user experience? As much as the buzz surrounding flexible screens is exciting, there doesn’t seem to be much long term value to it. In fact, there are still some ways to go with current flexible screens. People have reported creases appearing, or even the screen breaking.
Smartphone Technology That Does Offer Innovation Value
Flexible screens don’t seem very useful right now. However, that does not mean manufacturers should halt their innovation and development efforts. Smartphones get better every year, even though their shape has essentially been the same for a decade. But there are still certain areas that require concentrated innovative effort to improve a smartphone user’s everyday experience. These include:
Longer Battery Life
Smartphones are very powerful computers that handle and manage many processes simultaneously. Every process will contribute to your battery use. Also, using things like your mobile data or Bluetooth can often drain the battery much faster than normal. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if the batteries would at least have a longer lifespan. But as a smartphone grows older, it’s battery health decays, and it holds smaller quantities of charge. Almost every smartphone user has had to deal with the annoyance of a dead or dying battery. Innovation and development of more efficient and long-lasting batteries seem to offer users more value than a bendable screen.
Wireless Charging Without a Pad
Wireless charging has been around for a few years. But it seems the technology failed to evolve beyond a novelty or an alternative to a wall charger. The current versions include a charging pad that uses magnetic induction to generate wireless waves. However, recent developments in ambient backscatter suggest a promising new approach to wireless charging. Instead of a charging pad, you could use wireless signals that are already around us today. These can be anything from your home Wi-Fi signals to cellular broadcasts signals. In any case, a serious examination of the possibilities could result in an entirely new form of infinite battery charge.
Stronger Materials and Durability
If a dying battery is an annoyance, a broken smartphone is like an injury. Most of us have experienced that heart-stopping moment when we accidentally drop our phone. Sometimes it can include the added pain of a broken screen or a dented body. Smartphones have been around for a while, and they see a lot of use every day. It may be time for manufacturers to begin using advanced polymers and nanomaterials that already exist. Many of these synthetic materials are several times stronger than the materials currently used by manufacturers. Durable smartphones can help people breathe a lot easier, and can be a potential gamechanger.