Today, the best smartphone is just about any smartphone. Sure, there are slight advantages this one may have over the others and that one over these, and so on. The market has been saturated to a point where there's not much innovation left anymore, though, so in essence every option is more or less the same.
This was an inevitable reality — each advancement in computing has seen a similar trend, from mainframe computers to "mini" computers to desktop computers to PCs. Eventually, each tech cycle reaches a point where the latecomers have caught up to the innovation that first disrupted the industry. Obviously, with smartphones that innovation was Apple's original iPhone, released in 2007. Since then, the iPhone and every smartphone that came after it has slimmed down; gotten bigger screens, stronger processors, better cameras and increasingly powerful software. A full eight years later, there are very likely no more meaningful innovations left.
The "Internet of Things" is really what's next.
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is the promise of, well, everything being connected to the Internet. We're already on the way there, with smart TVs, smart thermostats, smart ovens, smart washing machines and the like, but for the potential the Internet of Things holds to fully be unleashed, it'll take a level of connectivity we probably can't completely comprehend at this point.
Google's (sorry, Alphabet's) Nest division is a nice sneak peak into what this future holds, which gives customers the ability to install a smart thermostat and smart camera in their home so that they can control the temperature inside throughout the day, save energy and enjoy a high level of security whenever they want to check on things.
Of course, making household appliances, everyday tools and generally every "thing" in the world a device that can be augmented and accessed via the Internet requires chips that bring them to life (in a sense and not a "robots taking over the world" one). The race to build a foundation upon which all of these things will rest is already underway, with Google acquiring Nest, Apple launching HomeKit, Samsung pushing its Artik chips and the rest of the tech world's giants jostling for early positioning.
But what will a world of fully connected people and things look like?
That's unclear, but the good news is we might not be too far from finding out firsthand. All you need to know is that the future of tech is much bigger than what the cool new device in your pocket looks like. It'll be the things it has access to everywhere else that really matters.
Cover image: Pexels