It seems with each passing month, new mobile technology replaces the new technology from the previous month and sends any recently released mobile devices into oblivion. This rapid advancement was all fun and games until it finally became impossible to keep tabs on and keep up with. Now, it's simply too much to handle.
A year ago, it was common for us to say that most phones were irrelevant by the time they released. By all means, they still are. Look at the Galaxy Nexus for instance. It, like all other Nexi before it, was supposed to be an iconic device slated to raise the bar and standard for the devices that follow. It was groundbreaking when we first learned what its spec sheet would entail, but in under three months, the Galaxy Nexus went from easily the best spec'd upcoming phone to second-rate in comparison to other near-future devices. Even the HTC Rezound, which managed to make it to market first, has arguably better specs. Although these devices don't necessarily make the Nexus irrelevant (it's special), the point still stands.
The thing is, however, instead of innovation plateauing or shifting from one key area to another (read: from CPU technology to something else like battery life or memory), the innovation of everything picked up simultaneously. Camera, CPU, display, audio and wireless technologies have all advanced rapidly over the past year. Subsequently, phones have become bigger, faster, slimmer, lighter and more powerful all at the same time, making phones from only two months ago look and feel archaic.
I'm not complaining that all of this is happening, I praise innovation and the advancement of mobile tech. But the rate at which everything is happening is mind-blowing and it is inevitably resulting in through-the-roof expectations from us all. In a year's time, we've gone from WVGA resolution displays, single-core processors (dual-core if you count the LG Optimus 2X) and standard cameras to full 720p resolution displays, quad-core processors and advanced optics cameras. None of this stuff even sounds like it should be on a phone. How could anything we see in the coming months surprise us?
Unless OEMs keep up this pace, which I would find hard to believe, phone upgrades are going to begin to seem less and less significant.
Much like the Consumer Electronics Show last year, something tells me CES this coming year will be mostly unmoving. There will be no shortage of new devices, I'm sure. But we've seen such mind-blowing changes over the last 12 months and already know most of what to expect out of the next generation of phones. Widespread quad-core chipsets are coming, along with better cameras, 720p displays, flexible displays, etc. Thanks to rumors, we now expect all of this, and if the phones announced at CES are missing on any one key area, which I'm almost certain they will, they'll be perceived as disappointing. The iPhone 4S is a perfect example of such an instance. Despite being a great device, the hype built off of rumors set very high expectations of Apple's latest product and, in the end, the product didn't live up to the hype.
Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to CES and all it will bring. But with the way things have been going lately, pulling the trigger on any one device (especially a DROID) is always too soon. I have a feeling 2012 is going to be much of the same, likely only worse.
I've always been the person who likes to stay on the front lines and be the first with new technology. For once, though, I plan on sitting it out in 2012. I bought a Galaxy Nexus with the plan of not buying another Android phone for quite some time. I may buy the next generation iPhone on my other line once it comes out, but it will take more than a quad-core processor and a slightly better camera to pull me into yet another new Android phone.
The only two things at this point that can really make me want to buy a new phone would be groundbreaking battery in an Android phone or a flexible phone from Samsung or Nokia. Other than those slight possibilities, I will remain perfectly happy with my Nexus. This is solely a product of being on the receiving end of companies fire-hosing new devices for 12 months straight. Now, I'm simply desensitized to anything new they throw at us, no matter how impressive.
What say you, ladies and gents? Do you think the phones of 2012 be sort of disappointing? Have you been desensitized to new products? Or will quad-cores and better cameras win your heart? What do you look forward to most from CES 2012?