Back in 2007 Apple launched the iPhone. A truly magical (cue eye roll) product that catapulted smartphones into billions of people’s hands around the world.

Since then smartphones have grown in leaps and bounds. CPU’s that used to have one core running at 1 GHz now have 8 running at 2.8 GHz. 2G quickly was surpassed by 3G, then LTE and we’re now coming into the age of 5G with the Snapdragon 845 promising to hit speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps down link next year. By 2020 they should be able to hit 2 Gbps.

Smart Homes

Some of the amazing new developments coming to flagship phones in 2018. Source: qualcomm.com

But just like the more common desktop or laptop PC, smartphones are now tending to become boring. The war is over. We’re at the point where even a modest one is essentially powerful enough to do whatever you want on it. For most that’s Facebook, Candycrush and texting but even recording at 4K or running great looking games is common amongst most phones. New phones are still improving, but there’s less and less interest as what’s the point of having 30% more speed… when a 2 year old phone already does everything you want?

Laptops and desktops have suffered this problem over the past 5-10 years too. They still improve, but at a slower rate and fewer people are upgrading as often as they would have in the 2000-2010 decade. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means the technology has matured which we can also see by comparing laptops from now to ones in 2010.

Smart Homes

A circa 2010 Asus N82JQ-A1 notebook vs the latest Asus Zenbook 3

These days they’re gorgeous, aluminium clad and powerful with all day battery life. A far cry from the bulky, heavy, plastic beasts that barely lasted 2 hours. Similarly smartphones have slimmed down, gotten far more powerful, last longer on a charge, charge quicker and have many more advantages. But what will come next? What’s the new smartphone?

Smart Homes

Microsoft easily won the PC wars, Windows was and still is king. That momentum and the interfaces similarities translated to them essentially winning the Laptop wars too.

However things changed with smartphones. Microsoft sort of did OK, then stuffed up, stumbled again by trying to charge money and has now officially given up trying to even compete. Google and Apple are the clear winners of the Smartphone wars. The Google Play store and Apple App Store now reign supreme. A far cry from how Windows originally dealt with installing applications.

Since smartphones a new battle has emerged over the past year or two. Originally a battle between a myriad of tiny, disconnected companies vying for attention, Google, Amazon and Apple have come crashing down on the Smart Home industry. The key linchpin to it all seems to be the smart assistant speaker.

The Amazon Echo. Source: irishtimes.com

Amazon has it’s Echo with Alexa and their Alexa Skills “app store”. Google has their Home with the Google Assistant and it’s Linked Service section. Both Amazon and Google seem to be at a similar point. Amazon was first and has excellent 3rd party integration but Google has far more integration with personal services like Gmail and Calendar as well as their more advanced AI abilities.

Apple has Siri and it’s Home Kit coming in at 3rd place. I don’t see them posing much of a risk to Amazon or Google any time soon unless they really invest heavily over many years. Meanwhile Microsoft looks to once again be waaaay behind the ball. They have Cortana… and that’s about it.

The Next War

So here we are with 2017 coming to an end. The PC, laptop and smartphone wars are all well and truly over with the winners clearly visible. The Smart Home war, whilst still ongoing already looks to have it’s winners. I can imagine that in another 5 years we’ll look back and see Amazon and Google as victorious.

Perhaps by then we’ll be discussing the next war, who knows what it will be on though. Already there’s the war for Drone domination and the war for autonomous cars domination. By the end of 2022 we’ll likely have smartphones pulling down 3 Gbps on 5G LTE networks, desktops running with 32 TB’s of RAM seen as “common” and computers being moulded deeper into the unseen arena due to their reduced size and power.

Given the memory, processing and power reduction gains it’s very likely that by 2022 computers will be small enough to begin breaching inside humans. Maybe in 2023 Google and Microsoft will be fighting out a smart health war. Each rapidly developing better and better devices you can inject to monitor your health like never before.

All I know for sure is that Smart Homes are the new Smartphones and Google and Amazon have already won.

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