Apple, Samsung, Nokia…Do you still think of them as smartphone manufacturers? Well, that’s about to change dramatically sometime in the near future. You may wonder why. After all, these companies are making millions of dollars from these devices. So, why would they want out? The answer lies in the fact that a province in China, called Guangdong, produces as much as 70% of all the world’s smartphones, according to data published in an article by The Economist. With almost all smartphones being manufactured in Guangdong, with has a limited number of component suppliers, there is very little that even the leading companies like Samsung and Apple can do to differentiate themselves based purely on hardware.
Build an Ecosystem or Close Shop
It all started with the smartphone becoming the go-to device for many different gadgets or tools that we would earlier have around the house. Smartphones replaced watches, phonebooks, music devices (goodbye Walkman), cameras, camcorders, calculators, albums and even flashlights. With this, smartphones become an inseparable part of us. So much so that a word was coined – nomophobia – to refer to the fear of being without a cellphone!
The latest developments in the smartphone arena have revolved around building an ecosystem of content and apps. In fact, a report published by Gartner says that smartphone manufacturers that fail to go beyond hardware and build an ecosystem of services are paving their exit from the market.
To understand this better, let’s have a look at Apple. The Mac PC, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and now Apple Watch are all connected. Included in this world are iTunes, Apple Music and Apple Maps. The devices and software work smoothly with each other. The user interfaces across devices are similar. Movies, music and other files, as well as preferences can be quickly copied or shared among these devices. The apps work on multiple devices with a single purchase.
The building of this ecosystem has given Apple a huge competitive edge, and other smartphone makers will follow suit. This growing trend is also being witnessed in how rapidly gadgets become redundant, and people selling their old phones for cash to benefit from the latest that technology has to offer, say experts at TechPayout.
Engulfing Our World
While inclusions will increase and ecosystems be honed, another trend would truly make the smartphone a one-stop access point to almost everything we operate. With the Internet acting as its nervous system, the smartphone is on its way to becoming the brain of our personal ecosystem. Yes, that’s happening with so much research dollars being invested into IoT (Internet of Things), with the motto “anything that can be connected, will be connected”.
All the electronics that we use around the household would be able to generate a unique IP address and connect to the Internet, thereby connecting with our smartphones, which would act as a common remote control device for everything. Every household having web-enabled refrigerators, microwaves, air conditions and televisions is not in the too so distant future. By 2020, the concept of connected homes, connected cars and connected office would change our lives drastically.