Computer Insider Show #2019-99

Written by on May 17, 2019

With all the new phones making their way into the market this year with models that fold, come with buttons, some with enormous batteries, expensive phones, budget phones, 5G-ready phones, they aren’t exactly flying off the shelves.

Samsung’s overall operating profits were down by 60% year-on-year for the first quarter of 2019.

Apple slashed its iPhone sales forecasts at the start of the year, blaming a slowdown, particularly in China.

It has since repositioned itself to focus on services rather than gadgets, unveiling a new TV streaming platform, gaming portal at a star-studded event in March attended by Oprah Winfrey and the actor Reese Witherspoon – with not a new device in sight.

Sales in China, the world’s biggest phone market, were down 20% year-on-year and that’s their lowest in six years.

So how come?

Well, for one reason, phones are expensive with Apple blasting through the $1,000 US mark in 2017 and Samsung following along, then this year the Huawei Mate X, hit $3500 Canadian. Ouch.

But the reality is the source of consumer reluctance to upgrade may be much more basic. For example, women are now equal consumers for things like smartphones but their hands and pockets are traditionally smaller and the larger phones of today may be presenting an issue. Then there’s the uncertainty about future compatibility with the 5G network which, as long as the price point is acceptable, will be a complete game changer for mobile devices.

And finally – a growing number of people are choosing to step away from their phones altogether.

Last year, France introduced strict rules around the use of smartphones in schools, banning them for all pupils under the age of 15.

Apple, Google and Facebook also released tools that show you the extent of your screen time – a move which was greeted with amused horror, and some criticism.

Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard

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