Smartphone - Remote Control of Life - Digital

With its new smartphone with foldable screen Samsung tests technical and price limits. The development continues stormy. And where is Europe?


Comment by Helmut Martin-Jung

The rise of smartphones is incomparable. Not only because billions of pocket-sized phones with telephone function have been sold within a decade. But also because the skills combined in the devices have deeply intervened in our lives. They show you the way, pour a never-ending stream of news and notifications about their users, monitor their health, game consoles, camera and music players. In short, they have become the piece of technology most people would not give away.

The recent stagnation of global sales is not a sign of boredom, no sign that people are trying to free themselves from dependence on data-hungry companions. The market is only gradually saturated. Smartphones will retain their function as a remote control of life for at least the next few years.

2000 euros for the mobile general-purpose computer

As the devices perform more and more purposes, there is a tendency for larger screens. In this respect, it is only logical if Samsung presents itself as the smartphone market leader with a device with a foldable screen. The ever larger ads are finally getting worse and worse in trouser pockets. It still has to be proven how useful and practical the screen, which can be opened to the size of a tablet, really is.

It is already clear, however, that Samsung is using this innovation – one of the few real innovations of the past few years – to push the price threshold for pain up again. Customers will have to pay around 2000 euros for this, more than for the currently most expensive iPhone. Again, one will have to wait and see if the strategy works. Apple had recently over-stimulated them a bit, especially since the group from Cupertino had nothing comparable to the folding screen to offer innovations, but only evolutionary developments.

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The next important step is likely to come less from the devices themselves than from progress in the network connection. It is already the case today that smartphones almost completely lose their usefulness without being connected to the Internet. The upcoming mobile standard 5G enables the transmission of large amounts of data in a short time and responds almost instantaneously. He also integrates a lot better than his predecessors vast amounts of sensors. What all this means is – as is usually the case with technical upheavals – only limited predictable.

Will Europe be deposed at the next evolutionary step?

Unfortunately, it is foreseeable that Europe will once again risk being sidelined in this technology. In many countries, network providers do not even have the frequencies they need. How much these should cost, is controversial. The states should therefore not overstep the bow at the upcoming auctions. Of course, the corporations can regain some costs. However, the higher these are, the more the expansion will affect less lucrative regions.

Despite all progress – one thing has hardly gotten any better over the years with smartphones: the battery too often runs out too soon. That's the price for the supposed all-rounders to have big screens, a variety of sensors and computing capabilities more and more like laptops. Everything that is also true for smartphones, you just can not have.

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