New smartphones look like older ones, get over it

Newly announced and rumored smartphone hardware all look like basic incremental updates to existing hardware. I don't think this is really a bad thing and believe innovation comes in the software and what you can do with that hardware.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Is there room for innovation in smartphone hardware or is it the OS that makes a device compelling?

Samsung announced the Note II and ATIV S last week, we see rumors of new Nokia Lumia devices and rumors of the new iPhone and all of these devices look essentially the same as previous models with slight tweaks. I see a lot of folks crying about this on Twitter, I have been known to squawk about it too, but honestly what are people looking for in innovative smartphone design? Consumers seem to prefer large touchscreen devices and there is only so much you can do with a display, a bezel, and a back with a camera. IMHO, the real innovation and excitement comes from what the OS provides and how it makes your life better.

Of all the manufacturers, I think Nokia is taking the most innovative approach by pushing camera technology and also making polycarbonate devices in various colors. Samsung has started adding more colors to the Galaxy S III line as well and is innovating in their Android software. HTC's One X is a very well designed device and I hope to see it used with their next Windows Phone device. Yes, I do believe we will see an HTC Windows Phone 8 device that looks just about like the One X so get over it. Phone hardware is unlikely to change much until things such as battery and display technology make major leaps.

The rumored next iPhone looks to simply be a longer iPhone 4S and I sure hope Apple has more up its sleave than that. Brian Hall seemed to have the same thoughts as me and posted a very detailed article on the rumored new iPhone and the design. I am actually relying on it as I am interested in trying out a new iPhone again, but I think it is going to take more than a longer display to get me to buy one. Android and Windows Phone are more exciting mobile platforms for me personally.

I am not a smartphone designer, but I am curious to hear if you readers have ideas for innovations in hardware. Are you satisfied with slight hardware improvements with new operating systems or do you want to see more?

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