Sunday, November 03, 2013
War of the Smartphones
Perhaps, one day, somebody looked at the cell phone and the PDA and thought, "They look pretty much alike - why don't we put them together?" And the smartphone was born.
But it took a while for smartphones to gain market demand. At first, these handheld communication and computing devices catered only to a specific niche.
And then Apple released the iPhone - and suddenly, smartphones started becoming immensely popular.
Fighting for number one
With this new popularity came the war of the smartphones. Now, the big players that once sold to a limited demography are competing for worldwide sales supremacy. The aim is to gain control of the fast-growing smartphone market.
And the battle in sales extends to research and development. While phone manufacturers Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, and Nokia are fighting their war in hardware, smartphone operating system (OS) providers are also battling it out in the software department.
Google owns the Android OS, while Microsoft owns the mobile Windows OS. Apple, Blackberry, and Nokia all use their own OS.
But not everyone is jumping onto the "own your own OS" bandwagon. Samsung seems to be benefitting from using the open source Android OS; the company has recently reported a rapid increase in sales. And in late 2011, Nokia has launched some new smartphones, the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710, which run on the Windows OS instead of Nokia's own Symbian.
On another frontier, Apple, Microsoft, and Blackberry are also at the forefront of a patent war against Samsung, as Apple defends its iPhone designs while Microsoft and Blackberry are more concerned with their OS functionalities.
The true winner
Amidst all this competition, the avid followers and patrons of the smartphone technology are coming out as the true winners, as newer and more advanced smartphone models are being churned out for their consumption.
There are different predictions on who is ultimately going to win this technology and business war. Some say Microsoft will outlast the others because it has the greatest ability to offer a seamless computing experience for more users worldwide, given that PC users still make up the majority of computer users. Apple is still a serious contender, though, and one can never shrug it off, considering its history of changing the game to its own advantage. The thing that keeps Blackberry and Nokia in the fight is their undeniably solid and loyal consumer base.
A hidden cost
Inevitably, where there are winners, there are losers as well. One casualty of this smartphone war - this race for churning out the best, most technologically advanced phone - is the environment.
With the rapid turnover of smartphone units, as consumers scramble to take hold of newer models and dispose of their old handsets, there comes a corresponding rapid growth of waste, which is becoming a major cause for concern.
Heavy metals from used smartphone components in landfills are said to be leaching into the soil, leading to water and soil contamination. The non-biodegradability of most phone cases also complicates matters.
It is a good thing that mobile phone recycle's are now in business to address this environmental concern.
As we join the mad rush for the smartest smartphones, let us look beyond our touch screens and remember that there is a world out there that we need to take care of, if it is to continue taking care of us. Let's buy all the smartphones we want and can afford, if we wish to, but let us be responsible enough to dispose of our old phones responsibly, by sending them to mobile phone recycle's instead of just chucking them into the trash.
Get money for your old phone with phone recycling http://www.mobile-phonerecycling.com/.
By Louise Goldstein