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Buying a new gadget? Consumers need some 2020 vision – Daily Business

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Bill Magee

Tech Talk: Bill Magee

As to be expected Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales pitches have extended way beyond their envisaged respective 24-hour life spans. Ce la vie.

Now, what I’m about to suggest, on the run up to Christmas Day, I realise I’m risking cries of “Bah Humbug”.

Especially when I have the audacity to urge you not to shell out at this Festive time in what can amount to a small fortune.

How? By leaving a digital gadget off your gift list. None more so than a smartphone.

Also, perhaps give a tablet / laptop / wearable / headphones / smartTV or AN other piece of tech widgetry a miss. ‘Til next year, anyway.

The smartphone has been the number one tech revolutionising our modern communications. But its halcyon days of market dominance are well behind it.

One commentator notes that long-time market leader Apple’s products, from being easy to use and “bombproof,” now tend to be “fragmented”, “buggy” and frustrating to use.

Analysts claim 2020 is expected to be the year when Artificial Intelligence (AI) and especially foldable – read ‘bendy’ – displays  come to the fore, redefining our relationship with mobile technology and none more so than the ubiquitous cell phone.

Gartner’s latest smartphone sales figures point to its demise and especially that of the iPhone.

Samsung is currently outstripping long-time global market leader Apple 2-to-1. Huawei continues to make significant gains.

Samsung foldable
Samsung foldable phone

As would be expected it remains cut-and-thrust out there on the tech marketing front. None more so than at this key time of the year.

Of course there are perceived deals to be had. So whilst the sensible shopper is being urged to delay their tech purchasing decisions, it’s easier said than done. Try telling this to your average hard-pressed consumer on the hunt for that elusive gift.

Also, such are the slick and carefully constructed global marketing efforts by the tech big boys it’s nie impossible to ignore such intense commercial pressure.

Smartphone manufacturers have one key commercial driver in common. That their product carries on well into the foreseeable future, even if such a declining digital force is increasingly responsible for markedly poorer revenue streams.

It comes as the vast majority of tech leviathans were shaken to their silicon foundations at IFA19, the global consumer electronics shindig in Berlin. Samsung stole the show by launching its Galaxy Fold 5G smartphone. It had actually launched the Android-based bendy six months earlier, but rapidly pulled it after suffering from issues over the screen. It has now been redesigned and is hitting the market, in time for Christmas. No surprise there.

One thing’s for sure. Behind-the-scenes, every manufacturer is feverishly engaged in the advanced stages of experimental foldable prototypes. The outcome, before we realise it, will be a next generation of ultra-slim and durable mobile phone. Make no mistake, this is the future.

Don’t be surprised if they’re collectively marketed as the “Smartphone Mark 2”. Surely not. Got to keep the iconic brand going!

As for that Crimbo prezzy?

Why not follow the lead from Deutsch Telecom which has developed electronic underwear. With Barry White “lurve” crooner very much in mind.

I’m not making this up. It was in The Times, so it must be true.

My take on this is – the digital pants are designed to prompt smartphone-obsessed users into thinking of other things. Apparently an alert pops up on the phone zapped from the user’s underwear. Incoming calls are electronically blocked and “Love mode” music plays via the handheld.

Not the pants. I mean, that’d be plain daft. Think of it: You’re standing at the bar with a drink, looking cool. Suddenly, without warning, your trousers start playing “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”

It’ll be the mobile that sets the mood for real romance. Not the virtual kind..

Galaxy Fold cost £1,900. Connected underwear £22 – Pack of three please…

Bill Magee is a technology writer and a former Scottish IT Journalist of the Year

This column is sponsored by Capito.

www.capito.co.uk


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