Chips Don’t Lie

All that IPO optimism—in addition to ongoing Facebook shenanigans—keep us a wee bit distracted from the dark clouds that are gathering on the horizon. Earlier this week, the Semiconductor Industry Association reported that the “worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $32.9 billion for the month of February 2019, a decrease of 7.3 percent from the January … Continue reading Chips Don’t Lie

What Folding Phones Say About State of SmartPhones

Huawei Mate.

Over the past few weeks, the world has been talking about folding smartphones. Bigger screens, thicker devices, and $2,000 price tags have not deterred the excitement around these new devices. There are some skeptics, but they are largely drowned out by enthusiasm like that found in The Verge, which already wonders if we will someday “talk of single-sided smartphones in the same nostalgic way we now speak of devices with external antennas, monochrome screens, and fixed-focus lenses.”

As it happens, nostalgia is exactly what I felt when I saw this new generation of smartphones. I was reminded of the first folding device that got me excited about mobile computing: the Blackberry Pager with a full chiclet keyboard and flip-out screen. Then there was Windows CE-powered HP Jornada, which I also loved.

And who could forget the scene in the 1997 thriller, The Saint, when Val Kilmer used his Nokia Communicator to transfer money while hanging out in Moscow? That cinematic moment showed me the way of the future.

Little did I realize how dramatically diminished Nokia’s presence would be in that future. At the dawn of the 3G era, they were the dominant handset maker. But business was becoming increasingly competitive, with upstarts like Samsung and LG eating away at their profits. The world was awash in candy bar-style phones and basic Razr flip phones, and people were getting bored. Needing to sell higher-priced devices with greater margins, Nokia became one of the more daring companies when it came to phone design. They began developing phones that focused on cameras, and others that were all about watching and recording videos. Continue reading “What Folding Phones Say About State of SmartPhones”