What Does Lower Smartphone Demand Mean for Web/App Performance?

Smartphone Demand

Mobile phones have traditionally held such a hold over our personal lives that once-a-year upgrades were the norm. As a result of a constant influx of new features and significant performance gains, the year-to-year benefits were once immense, but this pattern of smartphone demand hasn’t held up.

Today, jumps from one generation of mobile to the next are more incremental, or at least much harder to appreciate in the public eye.

In a realm where software pushing the envelope has long been the status quo, fewer people consistently upgrading to new phones might seem a cause for concern. After all, if we don’t keep leveraging faster and faster devices, how will our systems keep up?

The answer is a multifaced one depending on what each user demands from their systems, but for the common person, a threat of missing out isn’t much of a threat at all.

A Capable Market

For an illustration of what we mean, consider a common use of mobile phones that incorporates typical uses like browsing and interactive apps. These uses once pushed even the fastest mobiles to struggle, but today the opposite is true.

Take online casino gaming as an example, where browsing and playing illustrate the standard way to engage. Starting with collecting the top casino bonuses and offers like free spins and deposit matches, even older phones no longer struggle. The same applies to playing casino games such as slots and blackjack, thanks to how far average processing power has come.

Both PC and mobile work just as well on these casinos and most websites, and users have noticed that a newer phone won’t fundamentally change the experience.

Though there are some forms of demanding mobile use, such as playing modern video games at the highest resolutions and frame rates, these illustrate just a small part of the market. In these instances, mobiles are far outperformed by dedicated devices like the Asus ROG Ally, so most users looking for the best aren’t going to mind if a smartphone can’t keep up.

Reaching Full Potential

A pattern of grasp matching our reach is not a concept that we’re all too familiar with in the world of tech. We’ve long internalized an ideal of eternal evolution and improvements, but this couldn’t repeat forever.

Eventually, it’s only natural that we’d approach a point where further upgrades don’t add anything to the experience, as we reach a natural balance between needs and wants. Mobile phone upgrades and smartphone demand are just one example of this, and they’re far from the only ones in the tech world.

Another famous example that most users will be familiar with is the chase for higher resolutions that we’ve seen with consumer televisions. From broadcast TV at 480p to the modern standard of 4k pixels, the journey has been long, impressive, and full of diminishing returns. Taking the leap from 4k to 8k results in differences that experts describe as negligible at best, rendering expensive upgrades costly and unnecessary.

In other words, each new generation of mobile phones has decreased the need for a new generation. The amount of performance overhead for websites, apps, and general uses has grown so vast that even the more consumer-happy users out there are starting to take notice. Though general wear and tear and battery degradation will always drive a baseline of new purchases, there’s no longer a need to keep trying for something new.

Future Possibilities

Common casual uses today don’t require powerful mobiles, but there are possibilities that this might not hold for generations to come. A new need for powerful systems could arise should mobile VR and AR become popular, for example.

Though platforms like the Gear VR have fallen out of favor for want of dedicated headsets, big industry names like John Carmack have long bet on their use as entry-level systems. Since VR and AR are computationally demanding, more powerful mobiles would be useful here.

There is also the possibility that better dock programs for mobiles might extend their use further as mobile work machines. Given the right hardware dock which includes a mouse, keyboard, and screen, it’s already possible to hook up mobiles to play double as regular phones and desktop computers.

Though the software isn’t quite up to snuff yet, and the hardware still isn’t especially popular, the potential of this approach could be profound. Mobiles have already taken over so many other systems, so replacing dedicated computer systems in this way wouldn’t be too much of a step forward.

Smartphone Demand article and permission to publish here provided by Pasquale at ICS-Digital. Originally written for Supply Chain Game Changer and published on June 9, 2023.

Cover image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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