At 6pm today ( 04/09/2013 ) I watched LIVE the Samsung Unpacked 2013 ( episode 2 ) – A launch for 3 new Samsung products:

  • The Galaxy Note 3
  • The Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition tablet
  • The Galaxy Gear Watch

Here is a link to the video ( now recorded )

Why did I do this? Well as most of you know I am into tech plus I also own a Samsung Galaxy Note 1.

I love my Galaxy Note 1 – the size of the screen, the wacom S pen. I am a big fan of open source and consequently prefer ANDROID over Apple IOS ( no disrespect to Apple Fans, its just my preference ).

I am due an upgrade through my Vodafone bill pay plan so I have held out for the Galaxy Note 3. I will upgrade to this handset so hence I had self interest as well as tech interest in watching this launch.

[ I WILL write an actual review of the Galaxy Note 3 once I get it .. When will it be available through Vodafone? No idea. But apparently available across Europe end of September ]

After watching this launch I went on IRC channels with other tech nerds discussing it. A few things came up at this nerd chat. These few things are mentioned in the title of this post.

Tech new releases, diminishing returns, innovation fatigue

I mention Smartphones here in this article as it was the subject of this launch, but most of what I say may also apply to tablets and other tech.

Every other month now we have new releases of some sort, at least a few times a year ( or it seems so anyway ). The smartphone / tablet business is most prolific in this regard. But I wonder ..

Are we ALREADY reaching a point of diminishing returns where smart phones are concerned?

Are the companies now innovating for innovation sake and just trying to out innovate each other? Innovation overriding useful functionality?

Are we at the point where, from here, all the new shiney extra functionality will only be used by the few?

Are we at a point where the attention span for innovation & new releases will be so short the public will just not bother anymore to upgrade? The innovations are over their heads?

Are we reaching the point of innovation fatigue? The consumer not caring for or understanding how each new innovation will be useful in their lives. 

It reminds me of years of Microsoft Office releases right up to now with Office 2013. I find 99% of its users use the basics in Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook … fewer use Access. All these basic features 99% of users use have been there since Office 2000BC. I contend that in recent times, each new versions innovations are only of use to the small group of users called power users, the rest of us would still happily trundle along with Office 2000 or earlier.

I think we are at this stage with Smartphones and Tablets already. Innovation fatigue has set in, & the law of diminishing returns also for the average user who probably only uses less than 10% of  any new phones new innovations. These smartphones are getting so complex that most dont have the time or couldnt be bothered learning the complexities. Nor do they see the usefulness of these new innovations / complexities in their daily lives. In a nutshell – its a phone. “I want to make a calll, take a photo, bit of surfing & social networking, watch video, use a few apps … Im happy”.

Dont get me wrong – I love all this innovation. I will be the first one in the Q to lap it up, but then I am that nerd into tech. The smartphone / tablet companies will not make profit from just us nerds. They need the Joe / Mary on the street to be brought along too but I fear short attention span and innovation fatigue will make this journey difficult from here.

So – roll on another release. Apple up next no doubt with new phone operating system. Also maybe an Apple Smart watch to counter Samsungs newly released Galaxy Gear watch ( expensive at reported $300 ).

A final related point – The mobile phone operators are not helping things. The average phone contract length now is TWO YEARS. This is an eternity where tech is concerned. You are now stuck for two years with a handset that is probably out of date a few months into your contract. This is a whole load of users at any one time outside the upgrade / new handset tent looking in. Surely this is not good for companies like Apple and Samsung? Will we see new 2 year contracts where you can upgrade a handset once / twice within this contract?