There could soon be good news for smartphone buyers / The New Daily

Cell Phones & Smartphones

story by Jackson Stiles – The New Daily

A flood of cheap Androids is pushing down smartphone prices, giving users hope of long-overdue price relief.

A leading tech futurist predicted the cost of these devices was headed below $100 in response to consumer demand.

“The vast majority just want something that does the job, looks good, doesn’t embarrass them and is easy enough to use,” futurist Morris Miselowski told The New Daily.

“They really want the functions, they want the form, and they want something that is relatively inexpensive.”

This forecast was in line with that of a global research firm, which in August reported “steadily falling” prices. The International Data Corporation (IDC) report confirmed its earlier prediction of a price war “to the bottom”, with global averages projected to fall from US$297 to US$241 by the year 2018.

“While premium phones aren’t going anywhere, we are seeing increasingly better specs in more affordable smartphones. Consumers no longer have to go with a top-of-the-line handset to guarantee decent hardware quality or experience,” IDC mobile phone research manager Melissa Chau said in a statement last year.

“The biggest question now is how much lower can prices go?”

Three devices prove the trend

Last month a company co-founded by former Apple boss John Sculley unveiled a new device with a decidedly un-Apple price tag.

The Obi Worldphone SF1 will sell for $329 without skimping on features. It is “probably one of the best designed Android phones at any price”, a tech analyst wrote for TIME Magazine.

The New Daily recently reviewed another of these cheaper Android devices, the Motorola Moto G, and found it to be reasonably priced at $369, especially because it was water resistant.

Another cheap August release was the OnePlus 2, which will retail in two versions for $329 and $389. It does not run Android, but has likewise been heralded as one of the best low cost, high performance phones on the market.

Good news for consumers

This trend towards more affordable smartphones was welcomed by consumer advocacy group, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

“Not everyone can pay up to a thousand dollars for a high-end iPhone or Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Some may not be able to afford these. Increased competition in the marketplace will help to push prices down,” ACCAN spokesman Luke Sutton told The New Daily.

“We welcome this development because it means that more Australian consumers will be able to access affordable smartphones.”

Bad news for iPhone users

All this is good news for Android and other non-Apple users. Just don’t expect the iPhone to get cheaper.

There are rumours the cheapest model will retail for just over $1000, with the premium version costing more than $1500, Dutch blog TechTastic reported.

This is because the premium market of Apple devotees is “much more valuable” to the company than chasing market share in the bargain market, research firm IDC speculated in August.

Where does “real” finish and “virtual” begin? / Hong Kong Radio 3, 4BC and ABC Wide bay

extraordinary_voyage_poster_285This really interesting future conundrum of how will we know where the real world finishes and the virtual world begins was the starting and ending point of my on air chat this week with Radio Hong Kong 3’s Phil Whelan and also the conversation starter for my segments with 4BC’s Clare Blake and ABC Wide Bay’s David Dowsett.

The prompt came from the anniversary of the release of Meliers 1902 film “Trip to the Moon” the first motion picture to show a trip to the moon and arguably the film that ignited the industry’s love affair with space travel.

Arguably this is the first time we saw another world and as we do so often when we watch something we lose ourselves in fantasy and for just a moment make it real and plant the seeds of how do I make it real.

As we moved forward from 1902 and ever faster sped through the innovations of radio, televisions, video, CD’s, DVD, Blue Ray and now hurtle towards virtual and augmented reality on the way to holograms, is it possible that we will lose ourselves in a make-believe digital world and be lost forever somewhere between virtual and real?

The thought of this is not entirely bad. Alzheimer patients are able to don a virtual reality headset and be taken to a time and place that’s more familiar to them and to see the moments of serenity and peace on their face as they relive these times is a virtual reality worth having.

Pilots are routinely taught and tested in virtual reality cockpits. Tom Cruise put on an augmented reality headset to fly in Top Gun allowing him to see the real world overlaid with digital information and in a similar way surgeons now have the ability to perform operations wearing technology that guides and informs their every move.

When you put on a virtual head set for the first time your body may react with a sea sickness like attack as it fights between the reality that your physically standing still, but your virtual self is flying, moving, or being transported elsewhere. Once this sensation abates the mind, within a few quick minutes, begins to consider the virtual real and begins to react to virtual situations with physical responses.

It’s a fascinating new world ahead, in which we will increasingly see and experience the world through these virtual technologies and expect so see much more than our old organic eyes were ever capable of showing us and the question, although not sinister yet, is what difference this new world view will make to being human and having human experiences and reactions?

Have a listen now to HK3 – Phil Whelan – 1 September 2015 (17 minutes 06 seconds)…

4BC – Clare Blake – 8 September 2015 (15 minutes 39 seconds)…

ABC Wide Bay – David Dowsett – 7 September 2015 (15 minutes 39 seconds)…