back to article Q. What's the difference between smartphones and that fad diet you all got bored of? A. Nothing

For those wondering if we've reached Peak Smartphone: global smartphone shipments saw their first ever quarterly drop, say analysts. Research house Strategy Analytics says that shipments in the first quarter of 2016 declined by three per cent over the same period in 2015. This marks the first time analysts have recorded …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge

    2 words

    mature market

    1. Graham Marsden

      Re: 2 words

      Two more words:

      The cost!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 2 words

        My thought too.

      2. BurnT'offering

        Re: 2 words

        2 more words:



    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: 2 words

      exactly, basic economic history and behavior of maturing markets.

  2. Cronus
    Thumb Down

    On the contrary

    We were consuming phones like like fat people go through fad diets. Now we're settled with phones that are good enough like a healthy person on a sensible diet.

  3. Christian Berger Silver badge

    If you continuously bring out the same product...

    ...the market is going to "mature" as everyone who wants one, got one.

    The obvious solution is to diversify, but that's risky, that's why business people won't do it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No Choice

    In a bygone era there was a wide choice of different style phones with differing specs.

    Now phones are more or less homogenised: a large screened slab with a touch interface.

    Why should people bother to uprade to something that is more-or-less exactly the same as their current phone?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: No Choice

      >In a bygone era there was a wide choice of different style phones with differing specs.

      Indeed. The picture used to illustrate the article is of the Xperia Go, which was ruggedised and waterproof (sadly it was crippled by too little RAM, and couldn't cope with the version of Android Sony updated it to). Since then, Sony haven't asked you to choose between a fast flagship phone and a waterproof phone.

  5. Roj Blake Silver badge


    "It is the first time ever since the modern smartphone market began in 1996 that global shipments have shrunk on an annualized basis," said Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui.


    I not sure we even had camera phones in 1996, let alone smartphones.

  6. andykb3

    Several reasons

    1) Mature market, there can't be that many more people who want (and can afford) a smartphone but don't have one.

    2) Lack of new "must-have" features. Can't think of the last time I wanted a new phone because of a new feature. Iterative improvements, yes but not new feature. In fact my current phone has no NFC, wireless charging or microSD slot whereas my previous phone did, so in my case the opposite is true.

    Thinking back to the latest (and even not so latest) new features, I can't think of any that suggest a justification for shelling out hundreds of ££.

    3) Price - either low-quality landfill or really expensive if you buy outright (there are some exceptions like OnePlus, Oppo etc) or eye-wateringly expensive contract. Either could be justified for a genuinely better device, but then point 2 comes into play - why pay hundreds for something that doen't do much better than your existing phone? At some point the big players are going to have to start getting more realistic about pricing of their flagship phones (apple, Samsung, Sony) or come up with something to justify their pricing.

    4) Perception. Whereas it used to be that having the latest and greatest phone was a status symbol it seems to me that nowadays that just isn't the case. Or maybe I'm just getting older and it's just me that doesn't care about this any more.

    1. tony2heads

      Re: Several reasons

      1) Even in Africa, everyone with a job can buy a smartphone -see 3

      2) I have seen no compelling new features since a decent camera was there

      3) From about $50 you can buy a new low end smart phone 'landfill android'; second hand is cheaper still.

      4) When everyone has a smartphone, where's the status - they all look pretty similar

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Several reasons

      "Whereas it used to be that having the latest and greatest phone was a status symbol it seems to me that nowadays that just isn't the case."

      As was mentioned a little up-thread, they al look the same these days. They've reached an "optimum form factor", varying a little in size and a maybe slightly different radius curves for the corners, but at a quick glance most people would be hard pressed to tell if someone was holding an iPhone, a Samsung, a Sony, a Moto or some Chinese brand we in the West haven't heard of. Especially if the user has put it in a case.

  7. Oldfogey

    Chain of re-use

    Once upon a time you could justify the cost of a new phone by giving your old one to your aging parents. Now they've got one, got used to it, and wouldn't thank you for replacing it with a less familiar one.

    And nowadays nobody wants to see your latest ooh shiny. Too booooring.

  8. John Tserkezis

    I don't think smartphone have reached peak yet. More that they've been underutilised, so other factors like cost become an issue.

    It's kinda like buying a modern-day PC and the vast majority use is playing Solitare, or worse, Chess, the game that's rather mature to the point where very low end processors have done a respectable task at beating us at the easiest level...

    Way back in another era, I used to have a regular dumb phone (what was available in the day), and palm pilot. With each of their IR communications ability, and the right sofware, I had what one would call a smart phone, just not in one case. I was thrilled to bits even at the time, and was pleasantly surprised the market eventually saw the reasoning and created the then first smartphones.

    As above, cost is only an issue if you underutilise your gear. I'm not say you should use your phone for things that don't help you, but there's a multitude of software out there that can make your life easier on the road, don't be afraid to use it.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "but there's a multitude of software out there that can make your life easier on the road, don't be afraid to use it"

      I do my expenses on my phone. I send emails to work when jobs are done. I use it at home as a remote for Kodi. Sometimes I even make actual phone calls with it. I no longer own my own phone, the company one does just fine for the minor amount of personal use I have for one these days.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019