In 2022, smartphones have traded the wow effect for peace of mind

there” the next big thing when it comes to personal technology, it may not be an augmented reality headset or a phone that folds in half. It could be finding new ways to get more out of the phones we already use.

This message resonated in 2022 as brands like Apple, Samsung and Google introduced new ways to make our phones more convenient, more secure and more private. This year’s models did not create the element of surprise that characterized the first decade of the smartphone. Instead, manufacturers have developed improvements to make our cell phones last longer and more useful. This includes extended Android OS maintenance for Samsung devices, new free privacy features for Pixel phone owners, and better security features for iPhone.

These subtle yet noticeable changes speak volumes about the state of the smartphone industry. Mobile phones have matured to such an extent that yearly hardware updates don’t seem as important as they used to. As it becomes increasingly difficult to impress consumers with new technologies, manufacturers are trying to maintain their appeal by making phones more essential to everyday life.

The phone as a safety net

The evolution of smartphones in 2022 is difficult to pinpoint because there is no common dominant theme like in years past. ”
For the last five, six or so years, smartphones — it’s all been about the number of cameras, the capacity, the screen size, the improved battery life.
says Aaron West, an analyst covering the smartphone industry at Omdia. This year, things are not as they seem. But looking a little deeper, a few common themes emerge.

First peace of mind, this translates slightly differently for each major new smartphone we see in 2022. For iPhone 14, this is the ability to automatically detect car accidents and connect to emergency services via satellite when cellular networks are not available. Google’s Pixels have supported crash detection for years, but this is a first for Apple.

For Samsung, it’s all about knowing that the Galaxy S22 or Galaxy A53 5G won’t be out of date anytime soon, as it will receive four generations of Android updates. That’s even better than Google, which only provides three years of Android support for its Pixel smartphones. Both companies provide five years of security updates, but Samsung’s extended support means you’ll get an extra year of system-wide new features.

For Google’s Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, that means more private browsing with Google One’s built-in, free VPN. The problem is that features like these don’t always entice consumers to buy a new phone. ” Security is emotional development “Consumes Josh Lowitz of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, citing the iPhone 14’s new security features.” But it doesn’t change your daily life “.

How to make your phone more indispensable

This year, manufacturers also tried to make phones is a more important part of our daily life. Apple, Samsung and Google have significantly improved their digital wallets. Mobile payments have been on phones for years, but these brands are ramping up their efforts to keep government ID cards and other essentials on phones in 2022. The goal is to make sure that you can leave the house with almost nothing but your smartphone, which will gradually replace your phones. physical wallet. According to Kantar, in September 2022, 32% of smartphone owners in countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United States reported using a mobile wallet in the previous month. This is a 3% increase compared to the previous year.

This isn’t a new trend, but the products we’ve seen in 2022 have highlighted the idea that a phone isn’t just a phone.
but it is a gateway to other apps and gadgets in our lives.For example, Google introduced its first connected watch, the Pixel Watch. This is just one of the most prominent examples of how tech giants are expanding their ecosystems.

As new hardware becomes increasingly difficult to sell, building a robust and captive ecosystem has become a key issue. iPhone owners can be Apple Watch or AirPods users. They can even subscribe to Apple Fitness+. Galaxy S22 owners can opt for the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 instead of a Fitbit strap or Pixel Watch.

Convincing customers to buy a new phone is harder than ever

This year, smartphone sales have not been brilliant. According to IDC, the global market experienced its fifth consecutive decline in the third quarter of 2022. The second quarter wasn’t much better, with a 9% year-over-year decline, according to Canalys.

Current economic challenges and environmental awareness are encouraging consumers to keep their equipment longer. In the 12 months to the September quarter 2022, 29% of buyers kept their phones for three years or more, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. This is a 23% increase from the same quarter last year.

With that in mind, it’s easier to understand why annual phone releases aren’t as exciting as they used to be. Manufacturers aren’t just catering to buyers who upgraded their phones last year or the year before; they target former phone owners.

It’s safe to compare the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14 and say there’s been very little evolution
», emphasizes Jack Hamlin for Kantar. ”
But since consumers keep their devices for an average of four years, this is similar to a consumer switching from an iPhone 10 to an iPhone 14.

Perhaps the biggest lesson to be learned from 2022 is this The phone as we know it probably won’t change in the near future.Yes, they will continue to get faster processors and more advanced cameras. But consumers will make their cell phones last longer.

Therefore, manufacturers will have to redouble their efforts and ingenuity to maintain the interest of buyers. article adapted from CNETFrance

Photo: Sarah Tew/CNET

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