It is 2007 and Steve Jobs has just announced the iPhone. The phone started a whole new category and redefined how we used our phones. People would stand in line to buy it because it was totally something new and the promise was enormous. The phone became a massive hit so much so that now iPhones make up for most of Apple’s revenue.

12 years after the launch of the first iPhone, the mobile phone industry is seeing its first paradigm shift since the original iPhone, foldable phones. While they might be ambitious in design and are surely the future of mobile phones, it’ll be quite sometime before they go mainstream.

They are still prototypes

There is no doubt that the foldable phones look amazing in promo videos. But when confronted with reality, you immediately see that there is a long way to go before they reach a level of polish fit for all consumers. Take the Huawei Mate X, you can clearly see how there are wrinkles when you unfold the device. This might only be a problem in the engineering samples shown but for now, we will take them for what they are.

The Mate X folds outwards, which means that the plastic screen is always exposed. Think about it, the screen is always exposed, folded or unfolded. So you’re always risking destroying your $2600 investment. Then there is the weird screen on the Galaxy fold. You can say that these are first gen errors, and you’re right. The problem is that it took years for these companies to get here. If fixing these issues was really that easy, they would have done it.

Then there’s the fact that many companies are still talking about the potential and only demonstrating concepts, case in point Oppo and Xiaomi. The fact that they are still teasing the platform suggests that we are still in initials stages and it’ll be a long time before every company jumps on the bandwagon.

Some like Apple have just started working on foldable phones. This might have been due to how early everything is or maybe because until recently Apple didn’t believe in them. We talk about Apple because they are key to the adoption of new products and ideas.

They will continue to be expensive for quite sometime

Foldable phones are supposed to provide an uncompromising experience. The promise of foldable phones is that you can take portrait shots without looking like the weird guy taking pictures with a tablet but when you want a tablet say for watching movies, you can have it.

Every year, smartphone prices increasing. You’re now getting an iPhone for $1000. So you can expect their implementation of a foldable phone to be at least a few $100s more than the price of iPhone. Same goes with Samsung and Huawei and in fact with any other mobile phone brand. They can’t cannibalize their sales of flagships by subsidizing their foldable phones.

Products go mainstream when masses use them. iPhone might have kickstarted the smartphone craze, but it was the affordable phones from Samsung, Oppo, Xiaomi and Huawei that paved the way for smartphones becoming so popular.

There will come a time when foldable screens will get affordable and you’ll be able to find foldable phones with budget specs. That’s when you’ll see them in mass adoption. Mass adoption will also lead to a very important trend, optimization. As more and more people buy foldable phones, developers will have the incentive to optimize their apps for the device. Google might release Android in such a way that the phone apps are scaled up for the device. But when we look at how Android tablets have fared, optimization matters.

What about normal phones?

Without a doubt, the biggest bottleneck in the adoption of foldable phones are normal phones. Foldable phones will always be more expensive than traditional smartphones, simply because they are more advanced and complex. You can pack a 3500 mAh battery in a phone and get exceptional battery life. For foldable phones, because they have a bigger screen you need a bigger battery, which increases costs.

Then there’s the issue of repairability. The iPhone with a simple glass back costs $100s to replace it, what about foldable phones? Plus it will be quite sometime before the expertise for such phones become available in your local shops.

But apart from the cost factor, the point is many people just don’t want a bigger screen. Samsung demoed how you could use the bigger screen for 3 way multi-tasking. Ask yourself, do you really need it? I’m not saying that they are useless, they do elevate the experience in many cases. However, many might not need the bigger screen. For them, a Galaxy S10 is more than enough and in many cases even better. The only way foldable phones can win them over is if they provide the same raw specs at the same price which is impossible for reasons mentioned earlier.

At least 4-5 years before you see mainstream adoption

If you look at the smartphone trend, you’ll see that it takes around two years for any feature to become mainstream. That is for that feature to be available on budget devices. Be it the fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s or the dual camera on the iPhone 7 Plus or water resistance on the Xperia lineup or Wireless charging on the Galaxy S6. It took roughly around 1-2 years for these features to be available on popular budget phones. That’s why you’re still not seeing triple cameras, or in display fingerprint sensor in budget phones despite the fact that they were introduced over a year ago.

The premise was that a very polished and refined version of the mentioned features was commercially available on top of the line flagships. But foldable phones are still in infancy and despite their luxurious price tags, their implementation is still quite finicky.

We think that the implementation will mature in the next two years and be good enough for everyone and not just early adopters. In addition to that, we can add another year or two before the prices drop significantly for them to be accessible to everyone.

The biggest question is how will the world look like in 4-5 years? What if people are able to crack the AR formula? Imagine, If AR headsets start to look like standard spectacles and cost as much as a foldable phone? What if a new technology comes around and disrupts everything. 4-5 years is a long time, so who knows what might happen next. We can only make predictions at best.

Smartphones, one of the revolutionary technologies of this century have become an inescapable trap. Once we had to queue up outside of a store to get our hands on the gadget and now we have to watch people talk about how we can help overcome our smartphone addiction.

Since the launch of the first smartphone, our society has become saturated. Smartphones instead of actual human beings have become our constant companions by keeping us connected with the digital world, helping us in work, keeping us entertained, demanding attention with the never-ending notifications and becoming our go-to mode to talk to other people in our circle.

This makes us question, are smartphones killing conversation and are leading the new generation on a path of self-exile from the real world?

Unconvinced? Well, next time you are meeting your friends or having a dinner party with a long list of family members, notice the pattern of mobile phone usage especially among the teens and the young adults and you will see that in most cases many of them would prefer their smartphones over interacting with people, a clear evidence of smartphones killing conversation.

Electronic Cocaine

What will happen if you walked up to your child and handed them cocaine or any other drug? Well, you would never need to think of this scenario because any parent, educated or not, knows that drugs are a no man’s land. Given this analogy, it is very surprising that how the same parents are willing to hand over a smartphone to their kids and even to their newborns.

Dr. Peter Whybrow, director of the Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) refers to screens as Electronic Cocaine. The smartphone’s ability to instantly provide whatever we want and its ceaseless notifications make them very hard to resist.

We are also slaves to our primitive biological responses when it comes to resisting the allure of technology especially smartphones.

Using our very own smartphone gives us a hit of a neurochemical dopamine which is related to reward-motivated behavior

When a person gets a notification or a like on their social media post/picture, their dopamine level goes up and when they check their device, the body reinforces the dopamine hit with some more, making it a pleasurable experience that we are more likely to repeat in a compulsive manner.

People around the world collectively check their smartphones upwards of 80 billion times per day

Some reports suggest that an average person touches their phone 2617 times a day. We also spend around 9 hours every day using some form of a smart device whether it is a smartphone, laptop or a tablet, which is more than how much an average person sleeps at night.

In other words, if you are addicted to your smartphone or to crack, the biological response is almost the same which begs the question; why we condemn the latter and are okay with the first?

Why Real Conversations Matter?

To answer how are smartphones killing conversation, we have to first realize why they are important. There is a special quality about face-to-face interactions, whether you are meeting someone for the first time or hanging out with an old friend.

Holding a conversation with someone is much more than using words

You can catch the subtle tone of their voice, see their expression and how it changes during the conversation and look them in the eyes to see if you think you can trust them.

So should we worried about smartphones killing conversation? Absolutely Yes as they are killing social skills and on the downside, we have started to lose touch of impersonal communication simply because we cannot express body language, tone, voice, touch and facial expressions via text message and emojis.

According to MIT sociologist Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation, our growing dependence on mobile phones has led us to lose our ability to have deeper, more spontaneous conversations with other people and has changed the nature of our social interactions in many alarming ways.

In Alone Together, she articulated her fears that even though technology has promised to make us more connected, in reality, it is proving to make us feel more and more isolated.

Humans are too much focused on creating the next big thing in technology that they are looking away from the social effects of mobile phones and how they are eating away our capacity to evolve as a being.

Conversation is the most human thing that we do which helps us to form empathy by establishing eye contact, hearing the tons of another person’s voice, sensing their presence and looking at their body movements. It is also where intimacy is born along with introspection, and creativity.

Simply put, it is where we learn about other people and the world we live in and when we deprive ourselves of these face-to-face moments, we end up where things get lost in translation and with devices like smartphones killing conversation altogether.

I am quite amazed at how little interacting many families are doing in the last decade. We can see parents shoving a smartphone into a child’s hands who is not even big enough to speak for himself/herself or pushing them some food without looking up from their own screens.

We understand that the continuous bombardment of information makes us want to stay hooked with the digital world but parents who use this method are likely to end up with children who start associating their feeling with the use of technology and in turn lose the sense of belonging.

The human need to avoid conflicts is understandable but at the same time it does not excuse them for throwing a smartphone whenever they feel that their child is being demanding or you want to be rid of them for your own moment of calmness because in retrospect you are giving them a piece of technology to talk to, showing them that a gadget instead of people is a safer place for them to get out their feelings. That is exactly what your child does not need as he/she should seek out human conversation, not the digital world.

From time-to-time, every parent turns to smartphone for entertainment for themselves or for their child which is not necessarily wrong. In some cases, it may reduce the conflict brewing at the moment and can help calm down a difficult child while reducing the stress for a parent. At the same time we need to ask the question; are we displacing the important moments of bonding through this technique where the parent can teach them the necessary emotional and social skills.

Health Risk!

Mobile phones are not just taking away our social interactions but are creating many real-life health issues. Many of us casually talk or joke about being addicted to smartphones but there are many people around the world who suffer from Nomophobia (or, no-mobile-phone-phobia), which a fear of being without a mobile phone or being unable to use the device for any reason like absence of a cellular signal, low battery power or running out of minutes or credit etc. The term was coined in 2010 in the UK and some doctors actually think of it as an anxiety disorder.

According to the University of Glasgow researchers, the need to be constantly available and respond 24/7 on social media accounts can cause depression, anxiety, and decrease in the sleep quality of teenagers.

We are all pressurized into portraying our perfect self that we start forgetting to live in the present and appreciate our immediate surroundings.

How to Save Ourselves?

Are you now worried about smartphones killing conversation? Then it is time for you to take a step back and reflect upon your dependence on this gadget. With the integration of the digital world in our everyday life whether it is work or our private moments, the constant use of smartphones is understandable. Saying this, it is high time that you create some rules for the use of this device:

  • Create smartphone free zones like the dining room, kitchen, the car etc. where no one is allowed to use their devices and they have to engage in conversation
  • Don’t put a phone on the table when you are having a lunch or a dinner with a friend, colleague or a family member
  • Don’t use your smartphone while preparing or eating meals
  • When you are meeting another person, try to get to know them and be on the listening mode while looking at non-verbal cues
  • While chatting if you feel your phone buzzing, train yourself to ignore the temptation and ignore it until you are done talking to the other person
  • Keep your smartphone away from your growing children and let them create relationships in the real world

It is quite ironic that a device that was initially designed to enable communications could have such a detrimental effect on the art of conversation where we would end up choosing our smartphones over human companionship.

No matter how many social apps you have downloaded on your smartphone or how many times you send a funny video/meme or a text message to a friend or a family member, we cannot replace the intimacy of an actual conversation.

We all love smartphones but we have a special place in our hearts when get a great phone for a great bargain, but then if you consider your finances and go buy a super cheap phone then you might be in for a shock of your life as those cheap phones can turn out to be the most expensive thing you ever bought.

The thing about cheap smartphones is that corners have to be cut before the product hits the shelves at a sub GHC500-400 price tag. Production costs, shipping costs, marketing costs and others have to be factored in. The companies making them and those distributing them also have to take their cut.

I am going to take you through the corners device manufacturers take to give you that extremely cheap smartphone.

1. Processors

They are all Mediatek. End of story. Not that there is anything wrong about Mediatek chips but they happen to be the cheapest hence their prevalence of the smartphone entry level category. Qualcomm had an arrangement with quite a number of players that saw the American chip company provide reference design to the OEMs for budget devices. There are other players like troubled Broadcom which Samsung has a liking for in its cheap devices but they are not as prevalent.While Mediatek is making inroads it still has a lot of ground to cover.

2. Build Quality and Design

A lot of these cheap phones will have every piece falling apart in under a year. Ever been in a situation where your phone’s screen just cracked while in your pants pocket and there’s no possible explanation as to what actually happened? Then there is colour peeling off. Yes the device was gunmetal gray when you walked away from the shop with it but now it looks like some clay toy. Blame no one. You get what you pay for.

Traditional big name smartphone brands fair well here as their phones tend to be very durable no matter the price. They only miss the point when it comes to the design. Most of the cheap phones the likes of Samsung or Htc make aren’t what you’ll exactly call good-looking. They’re just there. Bland. White, black or cyan plastic pieces that can also call and take photos.

On the other hand, the no-name brand cheap smartphones from Nanjing and Shenzhen are quite the lookers. Well designed and appealing to the eye. However, your perception of them changes when that chromium-looking bezel starts turning black and some pixels on the display start burning out leaving you with huge black spots on your 5 inch display which look like potholes And here you thinking that potholes are only found on roads.

3. Sensors

Proximity sensors,Gyroscopes,Accelerometers those are probably the only sensors you’ll get on those cheap smartphones. Even some of those are missing on some of the cheap devices.  You want humidity and temperature sensors? A barometer? You need to spend more. No question about it.

4. Gorilla Glass

Corning’s Gorilla Glass is an industry standard. It adds an extra layer of protection to your smartphone’s display panel. It doesn’t come cheap and as a result, you won’t find it on those cheap smartphones. Ever!

5. Display

Washed up displays are pretty much a feature of dirt cheap smartphones. The resolution is neither here nor there. I really admire the fact that we have some budget smartphones that pack HD displays. Like the Infinix Zero 5.

Want a decent display? Add a few bucks and buy a mid-range device like the Tecno Phantom 8 And Infinix Zero 5.

6. Camera

If you need a smartphone with a good camera then be prepared to spend. More often than not, I get enquiries from friends and even strangers who happen to know me by virtue of writing pieces like this.

“Techlifee, which phone has a good camera at GHC 400 or below?” “I want a nice phone that has a very good camera. My budget is GHC 300.” Most of the time, this is usually my reaction:

Seriously speaking, there are no cheap android devices at that GHC400 price point capable of taking really awesome instagram like photos with just one attempt. I guess guys who struggle to get good instagram or facebook shots on such devices give up halfway and end up being the ones stealing the amazing works of dedicated and hardworking professional photographers and other hobbyist shutterbugs on Instagram.

There are several decent new Tecno and Infinix devices just a few cedis up  that will still do some great justice to your photo shoot and not make it look like combination of dumsor and a flood.

7. Battery

While things like how a smartphone performs and at what level have a direct bearing on a smartphone’s battery life, the capacity matters. Most cheap smartphones have a battery capacity as low as 1500 mAh but advertised as 3500mAh or 4500mAh. There are exceptions to this “rule” like the Infinix Note series and some Tecno devices.

8. Operating system and updates

If you buy a smartphone at just GHC 500 full price then don’t expect anything else regarding the operating system after that. Updates? What updates? You’re stuck with the Android 6.0,7.0 if you are lucky 8.0 that your cheap phone shipped with. Even hitting the forums like XDA won’t be of great help. Your Mediatek processor hardly has any developer love thanks to proprietary sources and there are no ROMs for you to flash and remove all the cartoon stuff somebody thought would be of great help to you.

The best thing about this part is that most buyers of cheap smartphones are oblivious of such facts and appreciate their devices for what they are which is a good thing because if you want more, you have no choice but to spend more. Else every time you need to update your cheap smartphone there is only one alternative: buy the newest no-name smartphone that already comes with the new version of Android. Then do the same next time. And the time after that. It’s a never-ending cycle!

Updates are one of the reasons Google is pushing Android One. How I wish it really gets aggressive and guides all the no-name brands in the market. It would be a win-win for all of us.

9. After-sales service

You’re unlikely to get any software updates on your X-TIGI,VIWA,HOTWAV,M-NET  smartphone but what about the warranty terms? Most of the time you’re on your own if you buy these  cheap  smartphones. More mature brands like Samsung,Infinix, Huawei and Tecno have established structures to assist you incase you have issues after you buy your smartphone and you can as well walk into any of their shops or care centres for assistance. Also depending on where you bought the phone, the retailer may be of great assistance.

While it is expected that a budget smartphone will definitely cut corners, after-sales service is very important. Make sure that GHC300 smartphone you’re buying has a valid locally-enforceable warranty. A warranty whose terms can only be honoured in Dubai is of little help to you.

10. RAM and ROM

In the cheap smartphone category, established brands tend to overprice their entry level smartphones and going overboard with their corner cutting. Seriously, we shouldn’t be having those 512 MB RAM  and 1GB RAM devices from respected brands. With Android being Android, what do you want your customers to do with that 512 MB and 1GB RAM? Sketch doodles all day long or play Zuma? I am actually glad that Google has introduced AndroidGO and  is making it possible to get a decent working cheap smartphone which will work well Previously, that has been unheard of.

Sometimes, if not all the times, as you have been told before, cheap is very expensive.

We all know that smartphones are computers but if you still go ahead and ask most people, even smartphone users, there’s typically a hard line which distinguishes our mobile devices from the traditional computer. Like most everything else on the planet, our definition of the traditional computer has evolved significantly over time. We went from small mechanical computers which were designed for simple calculations in the 1930s to room-scale computers in the 1940s which used thousands of physical relays to crunch incredibly complex calculations. From there, the pace of innovation skyrocketed as the technology became smaller and more powerful with every year that passed, leading up to the immensely-powerful and pocketable devices we carry around in our pockets.

But while smartphones these days are technically more powerful than the desktop and laptop computers we were using years ago, our mobile devices are still relegated to peripheral status when it comes to getting work done. Sure, smartphones are an essential tool in our day-to-day lives, but it’s still hard to find someone who would rather do work on their mobile device rather than one with a full keyboard and larger display.

Smartphone makers have been trying to bridge the gap between computers and smartphones recently with features like Samsung DEX which allow your smartphone to act like a traditional computer when connected to a monitor and keyboard. You get a desktop view, app windowing and keyboard shortcuts just like you would on a computer operating system. For the most part, these hybrid systems give us a traditional desktop computer experience, but that’s also their main flaw. The reason we love our smartphones so much is that they are small and portable – something a computer monitor and keyboard aren’t.

Samsung-Dex-Station

There are some solutions like Mirabook or Razer’s Project Linda which allow you to connect your smartphone to a laptop-like device. While this may seem like the perfect compromise, it’s also a big hassle. These devices are as light and portable as a laptop, but they’re completely useless if they’re not connected to your smartphone.

Razer project linda

In my view, the computer won’t ever be replaced by smartphones. The mobile devices we carry with us are perfectly suited for entertainment, communications and much more, but there’s simply no replacement for a keyboard and mouse if you want to be productive. Qualcomm’s always-connected Windows laptops prove that the computer will be a distinct product for the foreseeable future. Laptops with LTE connections and all-day battery life will never reduce our dependence on smartphones, but they will have a positive impact on laptop sales as we move away from older devices with limited battery life which can only connect to the web over WiFi.In the future, smartphones and computers will continue to mimic each other’s features, but I don’t think the distinction between a computer and a smartphone will ever go away.

 

Android Go – or, by its full name, Android Oreo: Go Edition – is a laudable initiative coming from Google. It is an operating system that has all the security features of the fully-fledged Android Oreo but with a much smaller storage footprint and much less memory consumed, making it capable of running on entry-level hardware. The minimum specs for Android Go are 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. And this translates to much cheaper phones released by established manufacturers that will come with high-speed broadband to make it easier and safer for you to create a Betway mobile online sports account, and benefit of better quality post-sales services in the years to come. Here are some of the most promising Android Go phones announced (or even released) this year.
Nokia 1
HMD Global announced the Nokia 1 handset back in February and released it in April. The phone is built in a way similar to one of the most resistant Nokia smartphones ever, the Lumia 620 – it is put in a plastic shell that makes it tougher than the average. The phone is equipped with a quad-core MediaTek MT6737M SoC running at 1.1GHz, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, a 5MP main camera, a 2100mAh battery, and has a 4.5″ IPS LCD screen.
Without a contract, the phone costs about $115 but it will surely be available at various mobile carriers at a heavily discounted price. It makes a perfect first smartphone for anyone.
Blackview A20
A20, the first Android Go smartphone released by Hong Kong-based manufacturer Blackview, is the textbook definition of an affordable handset. It comes with a MediaTek MTK6580 Quad Core 1.3GHz SoC, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, a dual rear camera, a 5.5″ IPS LCD screen, a 3,000mAh battery pack, and running Android Go. The phone can be ordered from Gearbest for a very friendly price tag – it costs just $59.99.
Samsung, Huawei, others
Many manufacturers are preparing to launch their Android Go phones this year. Among them, giants like Samsung, rumored to prepare for the launch of its first Android Go phone called the J2 Core, Huawei, that announced that it prepares its own take on the affordable phone market, Chinese phone maker ZTE that announced the Tempo Go earlier this year, and Alcatel, the French smartphone maker that plans to take its Android Go phone 1X to the US market and beyond. And there are many less-known manufacturers, like Micromax, General Mobile, and Lava International that also plan to release their own lightweight and low-priced models later in the year.

Chinese technology giant Huawei announced that it will launch 5G-ready Kirin chips in March 2019 and 5G smartphone in June 2019.

Huawei’s rotating and acting CEO Eric Xu at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2018 said that Huawei wants to be the leader in the market with its 5G smartphones. The tech giant said that it is working on fifth Generation chip and smartphones that will be introduced in the market next year.

Huawei attributed the 5G technology to the launch of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project’s (3GPP) Release 16 specification, which, the company said will accelerate the development of 5G networks and services. However, Huawei did not mention which smartphone would be first 5G-ready. As Huawei plans to launch the 5G technology in June 2019 so one thing is clear that P-series smartphone would not qualify. Instead, a Mate-series smartphone might be a more suitable candidate to get the technology and would be available before the end of 2019.

Earlier this year, 18 smartphone companies committed to releasing a 5G phone in 2019. LG, HTC, and Xiaomi were on that list, but Huawei was nowhere. However, Huawei has now announced it officially that it is going to lead the market with 5G technology next year. Even, Apple and Samsung, the world’s biggest phone makers, have yet to announce their plans on 5G technology.

Apple stock rate went down 2.5 percent after the biggest processor supplier of the company predicted that sales would go down $1 billion for the current quarter. The sales forecast by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) confirms the rumors that Apple is scaling back iPhone X production.

Due to concerns about the demand of newest iPhones, TSMC has revised its revenue target for 2018. Previously, expecting a growth of approximately 7 percent, the Apple supplier has now lowered the forecast to be 5 percent, as Apple represents about 20 percent of the TSMC revenue. The demand for iPhone X is going soft, while orders for iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus are falling rapidly.

The current expected production for new iPhones is 80 to 90 million units for the second half of 2018, which is under suppliers’ expectation of 100 to 120 million units of iPhone 8 and iPhone X in early 2018. Analysts are now extremely concerned about iPhone sales. However, the high price tag of iPhone X is keeping Apple healthy. iPhone X has alone made, over thrice the profits of total profits of Samsung, Huawei, OnePlus, LG, Xioami, HTC and Sony combined.

Earlier last month i hinted about three new Y series phones from  previous article, the three include the Y3 2017, Y5 2017 and Y 7PRIME. The new Y series are upgrades from their predecessors and they are unique from each other and also have amazing features.

The new Y series was designed with the youth in mind and therefore has all features to make it a must have phone when it is launched later in the month .

FEATURES THAT MAKE THE  NEW Y SERIES A MUST HAVE

  • GREAT CAMERA
  • GOOD PROCESSOR
  • LONG LASTING BATTERY LIFE
  • 4G LTE READY
  • PREMIUM DESIGN AND BUILD
  • AFFORDABILITY

With these features the new Y series devices are going to be delight to use and also you don’t need to break your bank to own one when it is launched.