The golden age of smartphones is over.
Google selling Motorola to Lenovo is another indication that the smartphone market has reached a certain maturity. The two largest player of the industry, Apple and Samsung, are repeatedly expressing the need to shift their focus to the East to maintain the sales growth of their smartphone. The western world is no longer the future for growth and all the other manufacturers have already their eyes riveted on Asia and South America. These markets will as well get to saturation in the near future.
Much like television, smartphones have reached such levels of penetration that sustaining high growth is increasingly complicated (note that as the world continues to accelerate, this penetration has been reached much faster than TVs in their time). Sales cycle are today also well known and established with usually one flagship handset per manufacturer per year.
Obviously, smartphones and more importantly the myriad of applications they sustain are far from over. We are all going to continue using them day in day out and we can expect much more in terms of software innovation in the future.
On the other hand, the market on the hardware side is clearly slowing down. Innovations and technological breakthrough could fuel its growth once again but this seems unlikely in the short-term. Big manufacturers are already moving their attention (and wallets) towards new industries such as home automation (Google acquiring Nest) and the big trends in wearables and portable health (iWatch / iOS 8; Google Glass).
This is a profound and important shift. As investments in new categories are rapidly increasing, the “post smartphone” era is about to begin.