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The next big thing: the smartphone

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It’s the old tech question, at least since the smartphone changed the world: what’s the next big thing? VR glasses? Smart assistants like Alexa? The Metaverse? David Pierce of The Verge gives a surprising answer: Contrary to all forecasts, despite all billions of investments and hype for other technologies, the smartphone remains the decisive one. The Pixel, iPhone and Galaxy market remains stable, and no technology has yet replaced the screens in our pockets (where are the HOLOGRAMS??). Even the tech boom during the pandemic has not made many hyped technologies more relevant for the home than the smartphone. Pierce writes:

Even the things that voice assistants and AR glasses already do well, phones do better. Voice dictation works impressively well on both Android and iOS, and Google’s Live View in Maps is already a pretty good augmented-reality navigation tool. You’ll get better and more fun photos out of Snapchat on your phone than you will with Spectacles. Most of the promise of the metaverse is already taking place in Fortnite and Roblox

The text is clear and brilliantly written, but its strength also lies in the underlying observation: the focus on new trends and the rarely questioned expectation that the tech industry will have to destroy its own great work – the smartphone – in the foreseeable future – those were the trees that blocked our view of the forest. In this respect, the text is also an exercise in questioning one’s own perception and an opportunity to listen even more skeptically to the announcements made by companies and digital evangelists.

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Perhaps the smartphone was simply the life’s work of the tech industry. And after that there is nothing more.

(Thanks to Simon Hurtz for the tip)

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