The Identity Crisis of Smartphones in 2019

Within the past decade (2010-2019), the smartphone industry has completely blown up in size ever since the release of the original iPhone in 2007. Features were starting to pop up left and right in newer renditions of smartphones, which mainly came from Apple and Samsung, with fingerprint scanners, denser screens with tougher glass, and better designs for the housing for the phones. There’s quite a noticeable difference between the original iPhone and the iPhone 5s, which were only about 6 years apart.

In the recent years however, the rapid innovation seems to have slowed down. Since 2016, there have been a lot of new manufacturers pop up in the Android scene, such as Oppo, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Huawei. More phones are now being created, but the only real competitive features being brought out are the prices. These companies are taking the current generation of phones, with all of their drawbacks as well such as the loss of headphone jack and having glass back panels, and pricing them much more competitively than Samsung and Apple, which is working and helping the consumer but also hurting them since nothing has been changing for the better.

Ever since Apple decided to drop the headphone jack to replace it with a barometric vent, which is in no way more useful to the common person who uses their phones, almost every manufacturer has followed them, with the latest one being Samsung, after years of making fun of Apple for getting rid of it. The most common reasoning behind this, besides Apple’s “courage,” is that it gives the phone extra space to put more useful features. With the technological advancements that have been made, what features constitute being more useful than a headphone jack? Apple’s FaceID sensors take up space at the top of the phone, and they started using L-shaped batteries in order to fit them into the phone. It seems to be more and more of a push for Bluetooth headphones as companies are dropping the jack and releasing their version of wireless earbuds.

Aside from the drop of the headphone jack, phones have seen a decrease in bezel size, inclusion glass back panels (even on phones without wireless charging), and a push for thinner phones. What do people gain from this? Weaker phones with the same battery life they’ve seen in their phones for the past few years while the prices for these phones increase. Even the companies, such as OnePlus and Huawei, have increased their prices from a very competitive tier on their high-end models up to barely cheaper than the base models from Samsung or Apple. This still seems to be good for the consumer, however this trend will lead them to be exactly what they claim to be fighting against.

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