The “next big thing” in personal technology may not be immersionor wire folded in half. Maybe finding new ways to make more of the phones we use.
That message was clear throughout 2022, as were the companiesa introduced a new way to make our phones more convenient, reliable and private. This year’s offerings lack the wow factor that defined the first decade of smartphones, but upgrades that make our phones last longer and more useful. Among the changes: longer software support for Samsung devices, new privacy features for new Pixel phone owners, and better security features for iPhone.
These changes are subtle but speak volumes about the state of the smartphone industry. Mobile devices have matured to the point where yearly hardware upgrades are no longer as big as they used to be. As it becomes harder to impress consumers with new technology, tech giants are increasingly trying to keep current users connected by making phones more everyday. That’s as important in 2022 as inflationthe more challenging it is to drive the upgrades.
Your phone is your safety net
It is difficult to define the growth trend of smartphones in 2022, because there are no such popular trends as in the past years. It’s not, for example, the year smartphones got ultrawide camera lenses, or the ability to charge fast.
“Smartphones in the next five, six, or more years — in terms of more cameras, more cameras, bigger screens, battery improvements, ” said Aaron West, a senior analyst covering the smartphone industry at Omdia. “And now it’s kind of flat.”
But there are two shared themes that become apparent when you dig beneath the surface.
The first is peace of mind, and that word means something different for every new smartphone we see in 2022. Forthe ability to connected to cellular networks are not available. Google’s Pixel phones have supported incident detection for years, but it’s a first for Apple. This is also one of the few features that separates the .
For Samsung, it knows you haveor it will never know that it is out of date, because it will receive up to four generations of Android version updates. What’s more, Google only has three years of Android OS support for its Pixel phones. Both companies provide security updates for five years, but Samsung’s long-term support means you get the latest system features for another year.
Moa This means you have the option to browse the website and side . You need to pay $10 per month as part of the income level of the subscription service to get that feature. It’s another example of how Google uses special software advantages to set its new Pixel devices apart from other Android competitors.
The problem is, features like these don’t encourage people to buy new phones.
“Protection is an emotional enhancement,” said Josh Lowitz of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners about the new security features of the iPhone 14. “But it doesn’t change your daily life. “
How much more is your phone
Tech giants also tried to make phones a bigger part of our daily lives in 2022. In particular, Apple, Samsung and Google improved their digital wallets. Phone bills have been around for years, but these companies have been more aggressive in saving the governmenton the phone in 2022.
The goal is to be able to leave your house without your phone as your physical wallet changes. The announcements come as mobile wallet adoption is on the rise. In September 2022, 32% of smartphone owners across regions including France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US reported using a mobile wallet in the past month, according to Jack Hamlin, a global customer experience manager for data and information company Kantar. That’s a 3 percent increase over last year.
Phone makers also raised their ambitions to make the phone the centerpiece of the other digital services and devices we use — another way to make it even more important. It’s not new, but the results we saw in 2022 pointed to the idea that your phone is not just a phone, but the gateway to other apps and devices in our lives. For example, Google released its first consumer smartwatch, called the, in October. This is perhaps the search giant’s biggest move over the years to lure consumers into its Pixel country, following Apple’s strategy.
“One of the things that keeps people in the Apple ecosystem is that once you buy an Apple Watch, it’s very difficult to leave,” said Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart.to CNET’s Imad Khan about the launch of the Pixel Watch.
This is one of the most popular examples of how technology companies extend their ecosystem. Apple extends similar servicesand Apple TV Plus in 2022 by bringing its subscription subscription app to iPhones and announcing plans to on his television platform.
Creating an ecosystem is even more important for tech companies now that it’s more challenging to sell new phones. Not only will existing users stick with their current phones, but it will also give companies another way to monetize those devotees. iPhone owners can become Apple Watch or AirPods buyers. They may subscribe to Apple Fitness Plus. Galaxy S22 owners can chooserather than the Fitbit tracker and the Pixel Watch.
It’s harder to convince people to buy a new phone
There’s no way to top it: Smartphone sales have been somewhat disappointing this year. In the third quarter of 2022, the global smartphone industry experienced a fifth decline, according to the International Data Corporation. The second quarter of 2022 did not fare much better; Canalys reports that shipments were down 9% year over year. Both companies’ reports cited the opportunity for economic challenges and weak demand.
At the same time, people are always on their phones. In the 12 months ending with the September quarter of 2022, 29% of consumers kept their old phone for three years or more, according to Consumer Research Consultants. That’s an increase from the same quarter a year ago, when it was 23%. The average age of devices brought in through sales exceeded three and a half years for the first time, according to Assurant, an insurance provider that also helps companies develop marketing campaigns.
With that in mind, you can also understand why annual phone calls aren’t as exciting as they used to be. Phone manufacturers don’t just cater to customers who upgraded their phones last year or the year before; they are targeting traditional phone owners.
“It’s fine and dandy to compare the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14 and say there’s less development,” Hamlin said. “But with consumers holding on to their devices for four years now, there are consumers moving from the iPhone 10 to the iPhone 14.”
Perhaps the biggest lesson from 2022 is that the phone as we know it will not change for the foreseeable future. Yes, phones continue to have faster processors and more advanced cameras. But the evolution of the phone that exists today is one that many people will use for a long time, despite the industry’s efforts to accelerate the adoption of lame phones.
That’s why tech companies have to work harder to inspire consumers, especially when new features are less visible than the flashy gadget bags seen in previous phone generations.
“The phones are now the right size,” West said. “The cameras are good enough. The batteries are good for the size. So, what else are we going to do with them?”