There was a time when a mobile phone itself was novelty. The thought that one could be connected anytime, anywhere was in itself no novel that nobody thought of wanting anything itself.
Then came feature phones and opened up the possibilities of entertainment while on the move. Messaging and staying connected took on a different meaning altogether - From chatting on desktops to chatting on the move and having fun while doing it.
And then smartphones came and pushed the envelope further, telling us that we could practically live our lives online with our mobile devices being our able assistants, even providing us with conversation if we wanted.
But is that novelty also wearing off?
Three major launches took place last week and yesterday - Nokia Corporation (ADR)(NYSE:NOK)’s two new Lumias, Amazon.com, Inc.(NASDAQ:AMZN)’s Kindle Fire Tablets and Apple Inc.(NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone5 - and all that critics could say was: it lacks the `wow' factor.
Are we, as consumers, expecting too much, or are the tech companies hard up for innovative ideas?
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Bigger screens, better resolutions, faster speeds, cameras which will do all the work for you, voice assistants who can guide you through the city - everything has become passé.
Apple, that most innovative of companies, was unable to come up with a single innovative idea for its iPhone. All its features are just improved updates to what is already available. There was nothing there which made the world sit up and say - now why didn’t I think of that?
The thing is innovation always goes through a cycle. From buttons to touch screens was a big leap; from dialling on the screen to voice-dialling was a big leap; screens that rotate and adjust according to the user's point of view was a big leap.
There will come a time when new features will be just better, faster, bigger - which is not to say that innovation will stop completely. But the existing possibilities with the existing elements have to be exhausted first before we move on to the next `wow' event.
After all humanity is still dependent on the wheel - the innovation there still hasn't taken place.