We’re in a rut, people. There’s not a lot you can say about that; there’s no real argument. Phones and tablets have gotten b-o-r-i-n-g. I held out hope with the Galaxy S6 Edge plus coming out, but it turns out it’s just a Galaxy S6 Edge that someone stuck a straw into and blew up a few puffs. I’m yawning just writing this sentence.
Slab, slab, slab, slab, curvy slab, slab, slab. Bored yet? You wouldn’t be wrong. Putting the iPhone, Galaxy S6, LG G4, and HTC One M9 all on a table and you might think you’ve too many strawberry shots injected into your face (it’s alcohol, just go with it) and now you’re seeing quadruple . Aside from minor differences here and there, you’re basically looking at the same phone, looking at the same phone, looking at the same phone, looking at the same phone.
galaxy s6 vs iphone 6Inside and out
Even the spec sheets have started to level off. The processor is fast and gets hot, 4 GB of RAM still lags, 16, 32, or 64 GB still needs expandable storage, and your battery lasts you one day. So even the insides are the same between these phones. Skins are becoming more and more stock-Android like. It’s getting to the point where the only thing different on all of these phones is the dang sticker they stick on the back of it.
It’s funny, because there’s so much parity between devices these days you would think it’d be an even playing field, and to a degree it is. Samsung and iPhone own the first tier of smartphone buying. Everyone else competes for third best. But it’s a relatively even playing field on both of those tiers. So it’s not all that bad, but all these phones are pretty much all the same.
But there is one major differentiating factor – the camera. On that playing field, the first tier is occupied by the same iPhone and Samsung, but LG joins the fray there. Outstanding cameras are becoming more common than they were before. But with three competitors on the field, it’s a wider array of possibility than we have seen in the past. These three phones all stand toe-toe with each other, and the rest of the field is catching up, albeit more slowly.
But beyond that, smartphones do have one area where they’re still relatively diverse – software. I know I just said that phones were all approaching a stock Android experience, and that is not far from the truth, but the fact of the matter is all of these phones all have different software experiences. Samsung still has a lighter-but-still-laggy Touchwiz. Motorola has a number of software optimizations that other OEMs haven’t caught up with. iPhone is obviously running its own operating system, which is smooth and quick in its own right.
lumia 535Stir in a little Microsoft
We should also take a moment to acknowledge Windows Phone and its hardware which is all very similar to the rest of the field in both its similarities and differences – Hardware, slab, camera, etc. Windows Phone it getting a little long in the tooth to really stand up against today’s Android and iOS flagships, but hopefully that changes in October.
When it does change, thanks in part to the new flagships we’ll see from Apple and Microsoft this fall, we may yet see a diverse range of flagships all offering a certain set of features that sets them apart from the rest of the field. Phones may all look the same and have the same guts, but there is still room to diversify in this space.
Only get one chance…
Or maybe looks are what matter. After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression with your mobile hardware. I think that’s how the saying goes, isn’t it? So with a broad range of slab, slab, slab phones all over the place, is the smartphone space starting to plateau, or are the software optimizations and the overall experience enough to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack?
When you look at the phones (and tablets) that are on the market today, is there enough excitement in the mobile industry to keep your attention? Or are you starting to yawn at the close of every hardware announcement of #YAAP (yet another Android phone)? Sound of below, let us know where you are in this ocean of slabs, and let’s see if we can figure this out.