Most Internet users love trends. Who doesn’t? Knowing what’s up gives people a conversation topic for almost any situation, especially when everybody is talking about the iPhone 8 or James Comey’s firing. But, it’s important to know the whole context of the situation to develop an informed opinion.
When that condition is absent, bad things happen. The wrong person gets elected, and a kingdom potentially commits economic suicide, among many other things. Ignorance also has a harmful impact on technology.
I believe technology illiteracy is one of the biggest problems of humanity. It creates dangerous legal precedents like the FBI Vs. Apple case, creates a consumption compulsive society by lowering the standards manufacturers must achieve, and more importantly, deforms progress in inefficient and expensive ways.
What is the best smartphone in the market?
Some will say the iPhone 7, and others the Galaxy S8 which I love. The thing is they would be wrong because the question itself is meaningless. The best? In what regard? Not price-utility for sure. What is evident is that they are the most popular along with a couple more models.
Since they are always trending, companies end up selling a lot of those units, and more importantly, they can play with the price regardless of the specs or the impact that has on the market.
When the best selling handset costs around $800, it creates a standard for manufacturers and customers alike. It normalizes high costs which are everything but normal. Those are premium devices that fall into the flagship category which means they excel in overall performance which is good but often unnecessary. These handsets are successful in the market because they are popular which has more to do with advertising rather than improvement.
As a result, the most popular manufacturers end up adding almost useless features like dual cameras and 4K resolutions while most people expects sturdy, reliable phones with a huge battery that lasts for days.
Better technology does not have to be more expensive
It is easy to believe the fastest and most powerful device in the market also has to be the most expensive, but that’s not true. Don’t believe me. Instead, google AMD Ryzen Vs. Intel Kabylake and see it for yourself. The idea that technology has to be more expensive is counter-intuitive. That wouldn’t be progress.
Look at AMD which is one of my favorite companies at the moment. First, they launched the RX graphic cards giving people the chance of playing the most demanding games without having to break their piggy-banks, and yes, they probably can’t run fancy designing programs. But, I dare to say there are man more gamers than there are developers.
Then, they launch the Ryzen chips which are amazing. They outperform the most expensive processors in the market at the moment, and they sell for half the price. This kind of products deflates the budget required to build a high-performance desktop PC.
In fact, there is a growing group of companies that are making amazing things while beating market price tags. Tesla, SpaceX, Blue Origins, Cisco, OnePlus, and the many startups that use Kickstarter to get funding.
Not everything is supposed to be cheap
I’m looking at you, Virtual Reality fans. There has been a lot of talk about how not enough customers are getting VR gear. Gabe Newell and the Steam team mentioned the available content was not good enough to make people spend hours using the “new” technology.
Newell also mentioned the most expensive setup available in the market does not give developers a lot to work with, and it is not that weird. People want to get the best possible experience, but it is highly unlikely that they are willing to pay the cost of it. So, developers have to lower their standards and do their best with what they have. So far, only the PSVR is reporting good sales.
The platform is still in its infancy. It will probably be cheaper in the future, but I’m inclined to believe the best possible VR experience will not be available to everybody, and that is OK because not everything has to be viral.
In the era of the information, not knowing the details of the things you want to buy is a choice, especially when it comes to tech. Social media platforms are forcing advertisers to change their ways, and in the future, unidirectional marketing will disappear.
In the mean time, we can all agree on purchasing things that actually have value and avoid falling into the advertising trap of buying a flagship every year. They are supposed to be good for a couple of years, anyway.