I’m OVER Smartphones…

– Hey guys, this is Austin The other day I was having a conversation with a couple tech YouTubers and we all had the same realization

Smartphones are kind of boring now The last decade has been absolutely incredible in terms of smartphones I mean in 10 years we've gone from this, to this However the issue is that here in 2019 everything's kind of great already, there's not these huge leaps that we've been accustom over the last few years Now phones being good these days is certainly not a bad thing, but for me the wow factors kind of going away

Now sure, there are absolutely huge designs that really revolutionized things back in the day, but in the last couple years? I mean the last phone that legitimately made say, wow, was the Oppo Find X And with the motorized slider, even though that was cool, the end of the day it still wasn't that different than other smart phones The formulas already kind of figured out at this point So I sat down with Jon Rettinger, an absolute OG Tech YouTube, who has seen a phone, or two, or a hundred – It's like phones were different

Blackberry's had physical keyboards Windows Mobile had a stylus, and there were flip phones There were very clear, different styles of phones and there was different phone for different people Seems like now we've got, just like, different versions of a rectangle So we're talking before hand and I had a question that I wanted to ask you

– Uh-oh – That I wanted to wait 'til we were on camera to ask you – That's not good – So, do you think the iPhone killed phone designs? – Yes – 100%, right? – Totally

It's not even a question because if you look at phones before the iPhone, there's like you said, all these different weird shapes After the iPhone everything's a rectangle, everything has screen In the last decade the screens have gotten bigger, the phones have bigger But you look at the shape of a phone now it's just a screen, right? There's no bezels anymore, there's generally not a lot of notches anymore I mean a lot of companies, there idea of differentiating the designs is like, "Oh, it's semi-holographic on the back

" "Oh, we've got some super shiny color" Which is cool, but it's exciting, it's not fun – Nothing It killed design because it was so successful and it's a me too world – Let's take the brand new Galaxy Note 10 for example

I recently got to take a look at it and there is a lot to like It takes the current design language from the Galaxy S10, brings back the S Pen, stretches the screen out to the edges and, well, that's pretty much it This has become more and more of a problem for the Note line lately Sure, if you're really into the S Pen more power to you, but for most people, you're probably going to be better off sticking with the Galaxy S10 Samsung has made the line-up confusing, to say the least this year

If you compare the Galaxy S10+ to the Note 10, it is a really odd comparison So the Note 10 drops the headphone jack, the standard version of the Note 10 doesn't have a micro SD card slot and to top it all off, even though they have very similar screen sizes, the Note 10 has a lower full HD resolution compared to QHD on the S10+ Now all of this means that the Note 10 does come in at $50 cheaper in theory, however when you actually take a look at the Galaxy S10+, while the MRSP is a $1000, you can very easily find it for significantly less than that Which makes that Note 10 a very, very tough sell Now there is a brand new, higher end, Note 10+, which does bring a lot of the major features back

So you've got that huge 67 inch display with a proper high resolution You have the improved DeX experience You get the micro SD card slot back, even though not the headphone jack And you do get some other niceties, such as faster charging, as well as faster wireless charging

But all this is to say, that the Note 10+ comes in at over $1,000 before you even get into the 5G model This is a problem for the entire smartphone industry, but especially when you look at Samsung line-up, it gets very confusing very quickly Right now they have seven flagship models, ranging from the slightly entry priced, Galaxy S10e, up through the Galaxy S10, the Note 10 And if you wanna go for the bigger guys, you have the Note 10+ and the Galaxy S10+ And then to round it all over, there's a 5G version of the Galaxy S10+, as well as a 5G version of the Galaxy S10+ 5G, no sorry, Note 10+ with 5G

Yeah, right It's the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G I don't want to unfairly single out Samsung here, lots of other companies do this For example Xiaomi sells a number of very similar phones, in some cases they're nearly identical, under different brands, in different parts of the world And even looking at Apple, you can see that the line-up has grown steadily over the years, from one iPhone to two and now three, and likely four before too much longer

It is very a case where smartphones have gotten so similar there only real way of differentiating is small little tweaks of, oh, this ones a little bit smaller This ones a little bit bigger This one has one extra feature Just to keep interested and mostly importantly, keeping people upgrading – What's the difference between phones year over year? Okay, so, you get in-screen fingerprint reader, that's different

– Yep – You've got a face unlock, that's different But once you have those things, where do you go from there? – We're seeing like, I mean, I think the last couple years kinda felt like it was a accelerated endpoint for the huge development, right? So we went from bezels to slightly smaller bezels, to smaller, to notch, to gone – Yeah – That kind of disappeared very quickly

The finger print sensor went from, oh, it's kinda on the home button to the back to the side to the screen, right? Face ID went from this huge thing to smaller to smaller We've got pop-up selfie cameras A lot of things that kinda felt the end times of like, okay cool, let's make this thing the purest version of the rectangle we can But now that we've hit it, it's like, okay, and now you're going to do what? Bigger battery, you're gonna make it thicker You're going to give it brighter screen

I mean there's obviously innovation and there's iteration, but the actual smartphone as it exists now, I can't see it as going that much farther before you go to folding phones or you to go something which is completely different and you tear up the playbook And I'm sure that companies will try – Yeah – I'm sure we'll see some wacky designs every year or two It's like, oh, this thing is a half folding, half flat phone or whatever the case

But the design as it is right now, is not really changing and people don't need to upgrade as much Which I think is a huge problem for these companies, as the smartphone space really reaches maturity and reaches saturation, that almost everyone who want's a smartphone has already bought one To show just how similar smartphones are, we're going to play a little game called guess the smartphone I will be blindfolded and Ken will give me a variety of smartphones, new and old, to see if I can tell if there's any difference between them Spoiler alert, probably not

All right, smartphone number one Well I immediately feel a vertical camera I mean, I would say that this is an iPhone It's got the same rounded edges I'm gonna guess iPhone XS Max

– Yes (bell dings) – Hey! All right, next? This one's got a little more heft to it Oh, so we've got a headphone jack Okay, that's something right there No, I'm gonna say it's a Honor phone of some variety

– [Ken] No (Buzzer blares) – What is it? – [Ken] RedMi Note 7 – Ah, the Note 7 Okay, all right, Fair enough, fair enough Oh, okay, this is chunkier

Glass Finger print sensor on the back The closest thing I can think is maybe the Nokia 9, but I'm not really sure (buzzer blares) – [Ken] It is the Nokia, LG G8 ThinQ – Wait, what? This is the G8? – Yeah

– Why did you say Nokia? Oh, there's a headphone jack, I didn't feel the headphone jack Ah! How is Nokia close to LG? – [Ken] It's not – You're just trolling me – Don't think about it – Okay

Big phone, fairly light Ooh, we've got a physical button here Wow, I mean, that's a giveaway, I wonder what phone this might be Oh, we've got it, is that finger print sensor right here? Hmm, this is a Note 8 I'm gonna say Note 8

– [Ken] It's a Galaxy Note 7 – This a 7? (buzzer blares) (Austin moans) (Austin groans) Take this back, I don't want this Tryna kill me over here Oh, this is a big boy This has gotta be Razer Phone

– Yeah – Definitely Razer Phone Yeah, yeah I mean, the thing, Razer Phone 2 right? – Yes – Yeah

That's a big boy right here – Okay, Oh, that's a big boy Heavy Ooh, I'm feeling like a ridge here Ah, this has gotta ROG Phone, right? – Yeah

(bell dings) – Yeah, 'cause you can feel like, with the fake vents here Man, that's hefty Gaming phones, like the Razer Phone, are a good example of how this should work, but it kind of doesn't in the mobile space right now Now there are some legitimately gaming focused features which I like on the Razer Phone High refresh rate, great audio

But the underlying processor, the underlying actual capability, really isn't all that different than a much thinner, much lighter, and in some cases, much cheaper smartphone based on those same specs I mean sure, the marketing and the RGB is there and for some people that's enough When it comes to a legitimate, different smartphone, you're getting almost the exact same experience as pretty much any other flagship out there And that's kind of a problem as far as I'm concerned When you look at the PC space, there are hundreds, if not thousands of different models to choose to from, and the differences here are actually really substantial

So if you're picking up a thin and light 2-in-1, it is a very, very different system than a beefy over the top gaming laptop Not only in price of course, as well as stuff like portability, but importantly in the actual capability All smartphones, especially on the high end, kind of do the same thing and very similar performance, very similar specs Where in the PC space we have lots of different options, lots of different choice and meaningful differences in what these systems can actually do A gaming laptop has a very different feature set than a thin light one

And it's sort of the way that the PC space has developed, that the smartphone space kind of hasn't It's all very homogenous, it's all very similar Where we're starting to see an actual difference is with folding phones Now yes, they may have not had the smoothest launch in the world, however I do think there is an absolute ton of potential and if five years from now we're looking back at this moment, I do think phones such as the Galaxy Fold will be the first of the next generation of smartphones that become standard Or it's a complete failure and we all give up and go to a super thin phone from Black Mirror

But you know, time will tell – I'm a Galaxy fold owner, like I loved that phone so much I don't care they had problems I think if they had just called the Galaxy Fold Developer Edition – Good idea

– Just call it Developer Edition, there would of been zero problems But using that, that was the first time since the older phones, where you saw something different Opening up Twitter on the front screen, or Instagram, and then opening that up and having a bigger experience Go to the gym and you're watching Netflix, you can open it and have a bigger screen without having to carry an iPad That was something different that I think was different with a purpose, instead of different just for like, – Not gimmicky

– look at us – Yeah – The Blackberry Passport, why'd you make it square? That's weird, what pockets are gonna fit a square? But it was different – Yeah – But it was weirdly different

– It was different for no reason – Yeah – No, I totally agree and think it's a really interesting thing to think about I'm curious to see what the final evolution of this is because if you look at the iPhone, right? You compare the iPhone to even the iPhone of today, you can see it's similar But it's obviously a lot thinner, you've got a much larger screen, there's a huge evolution there and I'm curious to see how far something like a folding phone can be pushed

Because obviously there are fundamental issues of like, when you make it so thin is it gonna rip? Or is it gonna – Yeah – break or whatever? You can only imagine it can go so far, but how far is it? Is it 20% thinner? Is it half as thin? Is the screen twice as big? I don't know what that final iteration looks like, but I'd like to think that if it's something that people are really into that it will continue to get better and better – I think consumers, and I'm lumping myself in there, are so fickle, and we're all such hypocrites, – Yeah – about things we want and don't want And in a couple years we're gonna give you something crazy cool

(moans) "I don't know, its a little thick" This folding phone that I have in my pocket Or like, it's so amazing that these things are even existing and I guess I worry that, and again, being part of the part that, we're too critical that it starts to stymie innovation – I mean let's face it, we're talking about rectangular slabs of glass and metal Now because phones are so good these days because 95% of phones can do absolutely everything that a person needs

Really the only differences that we're truly seeing is like, oh look, the cameras a little bit better or there's slightly more performance or maybe we have one added little feature which is all great, which is all stuff that I wanna see, but does it get me excited? Does it get people amped and ready to upgrade their phone? No it doesn't What it does, is it means the people who own smartphones today, are not gonna just hold to them for a year or two years, but they'll use them for three, four, maybe even five years and that is absolutely coming back to hurt these companies They rely on people buying phones on a regular basis and if they can't make these upgrades sexy and interesting, then their sales are going to continue to fall I mean everyone has a smartphone or almost everyone has a smartphone at this point, so really, the only growth opportunity for most companies is to keep people on that upgrade cycle Keep 'em on the hamster wheel, keep 'em moving and buying that new iPhone every year, 'cause if not, say goodbye to those sweet sweet profits

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