2017 Smartphones Have a Big Problem

Here’s a fan render of the forthcoming Galaxy Note 8 from Samsung. Evan Blass reports in VentureBeat that it will be the Korean conglomerate’s first dual-camera smartphone, with a Snapdragon 835 processor (or Exynos equivalent), a generous 6 GB of RAM and a 6.3 inch AMOLED edge-to-edge screen, at an 18.5:9 aspect ratio.

It will also retail for a thousand Euros. So in that regard, it will share the same problem as other 2017 flagships: they’re all just too expensive.

This troubling trend first came to my attention with the Google Pixel late last year, and has continued with the Galaxy S8/S8 Plus and Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. Even OnePlus is hopping on-board—the deluxe $539 USD OnePlus 5 is only a bargain when you compare it to everything else at the high end of the market.

It also doesn’t help that most people in North America are still getting their hardware financed or subsidized by their carrier. I have a friend with a teenage daughter who’s been begging for more data, but when I told him about a decent prepaid offer he couldn’t take it, because she’s locked into a contract until the end of the year. In other words, she (more likely her dad) is trading years of affordable service for a one-time discount on an overpriced phone.

This “kill the bezel” trend is at least part of the problem, enough so that it’s interfering with what I still believe is the inevitable commoditization of smartphone hardware. Maybe it’s time to stop chasing specs and start putting value above all else.

Sources: BGR, VentureBeat

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