Ina Fried


With cellphones having gotten pretty darn powerful and as big as a hand can possibly hold, will consumers hang onto their devices for longer and be less willing to pay for high-end devices?

“I think the answer to both those questions is yes and yes,” Rutberg analyst Ratjeev Chand said Wednesday, speaking at his company’s global summit in Atlanta.

Chipmaker ARM, too, has forecast far slower growth for high-end smartphones than for the rest of the market.

Not surprisingly, Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs rejected the idea that the premium smartphone market’s best days are behind it. He pointed to the coming arrival of LTE-broadcast, wireless charging and dramatically cheaper data access as ensuring continued innovation.

“Do you like everything about your smartphone?” Jacobs asked. “The answer is no you don’t.”

That said, Jacobs admitted that consumers may be less willing to pay top dollar for a phone.

“It’s conceivable that high-end ASPs (average selling prices) come down,” Jacobs said.


The real race is at the bottom where the Lumia 520/521 is really the king. With WP8.1 it will bring amazing features on $80 USD hardware and get new people into smartphones with all the modern high-end features. (Less some fancy sensor abilities).

Speaking of which, the future of high-end smartphones is new sensor technologies. Apple is likely going to set a new benchmark in motion sensors and heart rate monitoring. Perhaps some kind of new atmospheric sensors and processing can be implemented. Nokia's "tricorder" initiative is a testament to the efforts trying to be made in this space.  Samsung is always playing around because they have unlimited resources and basically build all the chips used for such new experiences.

These things are going to be novelties however.  I would personally like to see the technology push into significant battery enhancements in the radio technology which is the biggest energy waste by far, the battery itself with longer capacity and life, better silicon design for enhanced power economy, and continued refinement of the OS's to maximize usability and power efficiency.

I like the GS5's low power mode that reduces colors and turns off all but essential services to extend battery life.  Approaches like this can be used all the way down to the bottom and be useful for everybody.


I'm staying with my Nexus 5 for a while. 


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