Is smartphone development sustainable? Oh yes, more than you can imagine

The first news about the “death of specifications” goes back almost a decade ago, when a certain Samsung project manager said that the maximum had been reached. It was after the launch of the Galaxy S3, with a quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 4.8-inch screen, and a 2100 mAh battery.

We’ve seen that a lot has changed in the meantime, especially in terms of the very specifications, although many expected a kind of slowdown in the competition, i.e. more cores, more memory, RAM, megapixels, fewer nanometers of processors and more micrometers of camera sensor cells. This Samsung guy was not alone in his predictions, since many people at the time wholeheartedly supported such an attitude.

On the contrary, history then took a completely opposite course. It is precisely in these areas that the biggest changes have taken place in the last 10 years or so. Processors have become so powerful that they can be compared to those on PCs, and are often even faster. The same applies to RAM, and in storage too, since many basic smartphone models today come with 256 GB of flash memory, while many laptops can be delivered with a 128 GB SSD at the same time.

Furthermore, the progress in the field of photography is immeasurable. Smartphones from 10 years ago started to kill compact cameras, and now we have a situation where they are competing with professional ones. Of course, the latter comparison is still quite far-fetched, especially if you ask professional photographers, but the fact is that you can achieve much more with today’s smartphone than 10 years ago, and that includes many situations when it comes to DSLRs. No matter how much we deny that smartphones will one day replace DSLR cameras, the fact is that the difference between them is decreasing. Maybe not as fast as we would like, but it is visible and consistent.

Also, right now we are witnessing a frantic race to create the most sophisticated processors for smartphones, which in terms of design and construction have long surpassed those on personal computers. 3-nanometer chipsets are already a reality, and they are quite well followed by the development of graphics coprocessors, which at some point resulted in exceptional usability in mobile gaming. Of course, we cannot include a large percentage of users in the group inclined to this discipline, but it should certainly be noted that this segment is also covered.

Screens? Here, too, we have a situation where mobile device screens have overtaken those on personal computers in terms of display quality, and most importantly, sustainable progress is visible. Namely, the iPhone 14 Pro Max lights up to 2,000 nits, and soon we can expect similar, if not better, solutions from Samsung, given that it is the one that dictates the conditions on the OLED panel market.

What has not really progressed are the batteries. Lithium-ion technology is now more than two decades old, and still not much has been done to replace it. For now, no coherent replacement is in sight, but there is visible progress in increasing capacity. As the devices grew in size, so did the batteries, and the reduction of other components also contributed to this. So now, on many devices, the battery occupies more than 70% of the volume of the case, which can certainly be counted as progress.

However, the biggest progress was recorded in the field of charging speed. Today, 60-100W chargers have practically become the standard, regardless of the fact that the two largest manufacturers, Apple and Samsung, do not follow this trend. We believe that their yielding is only a matter of time because they will not be able to resist the new trends set by Chinese manufacturers for much longer. The first device with support for 200W technology, which will allow charging the battery from 0 to 100% in just ten minutes, should arrive on the market these days. But, regardless of that, there have been technologies on the market for years that do these tasks in about twenty minutes, which is more than enough for the vast majority of users.

And finally, if all this has become boring for you, or if you do not find all the listed novelties attractive enough, you may be interested in new design concepts, which include flexible screens and folding mechanisms. Most of the leading manufacturers already offer such devices, and the most popular among them is certainly the Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 due to its global availability. These devices are changing the experience of using a smartphone in many segments, and if the latest rumors are to be believed, they won’t stop there. Namely, various combinations of foldable and stretchable screens are in the testing phase, which means that in the next few years we will probably see a device the size of today’s standard smartphone, which will be able to turn into a larger tablet at a moment’s notice.