Time for the next big jump in mobile tech

Summary:While there is lots of activity in both the smartphone and tablet spaces, nothing really new has come along in a while. It's time for the next big thing.

Whats next

The smartphone and tablet spaces are suffering from the doldrums. It seems that everything being done has been done before, and done repeatedly. It's as if the entire mobile tech world had to slow down and catch its breath given the rapid advancement of the past few years.

It's time for something to happen to shake things up again to the manic levels of the recent past. Maybe the iPhone 5 will help start that, but realistically nothing in the numerous leaked rumors would indicate that's the case. Unless Apple has "one more thing" up its sleeve.

LTE in smartphones is now commonplace in the US and the new iPhone better have that inside. Nothing else jumps out at me that might shake things up to the next level for phones.

The Android train keeps steamrolling along, but with nothing obvious on the horizon to push the platform up to the next level. It seems Android is in a holding pattern like iOS with modest improvements over time but nothing major. Or exciting for that matter.

The tablet space is not much better, although Google did shake things up with the Nexus 7. That was due to the low price of $199 frankly, as hardware-wise the Nexus 7 didn't push the envelope. It even stepped back from existing standards by foregoing a back camera due to price constraints, but that's not a big deal.

Jelly Bean improved the tablet user experience nicely for Android, but rather than a big jump in the status quo it only brings the platform up to existing standards. There's just nothing totally new and innovative in Android on the tablet front.

To be fair the same is true with the iPad. While a smaller iPad may shake up sales, it's not likely to bring something wildly innovative to the table. Apple may surprise us but that doesn't seem likely given the price constraints the market is going to put on a small iPad.

The Surface tablets from Microsoft will start appearing late this year, and while innovative there is nothing earthshakingly new there. Windows on tablets is nothing new and while WIndows 8 has that touch optimization working for it there's nothing radically new over the competition. Different platform, similar function.

We'll see Windows Phone 8 hit the smartphone later this year, and while it looks to be the best Microsoft phone OS yet there's nothing that sends the platform into new territory. The same applies to BlackBerry 10, it's new but only brings the platform up to the level of the competition.

The Next Big Thing in smartphones and tablets is surely being polished in some secret workshop somewhere. What it might be is not clear, and certainly not when it might arrive. No doubt it's coming as a lot of good folks are working in this area. We'll recognize the next big thing when it comes, and I am ready and (not so patiently) waiting.

Topics: Mobility, iPad, Smartphones, Tablets


James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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